The Semi-Final

For the Semi-Finals the top 6 return to cook their last Mystery Box. When they lift the boxes they find letters from home! 😊 They are asked to make a dish inspired by their families. After they get all the ingredients they need in the pantry they are shocked to find their families waiting for them back at their stations!


Inspirational guests are: Reid’s dad, Tim and brother, Cade; Ivy’s mom, Timna and sister, Anavi; Aaron’s mom, Erica and sister, Akira; Che’s mom, Elizabethanne and brother, Cosmo; Malia’s dad, Chris and brother Austin; & Sadie’s mom, Rebecca and brother, Elias. They will be cheering on the young home cooks from the balcony. 😊 The judges will be tasting all six dishes and the winner of this Mystery Box gets a place in the MasterChef JR Finale!


Malia’s Salmon & Lemon Pesto with Beurre Blanc Sauce, Carrots & Turnips is on point. The salmon is nicely cooked and all the veggies make sense and the pesto is good but a touch too strong. Chef Christina says, “Gorgeous job.”


Sadie’s Poached Halibut with Squash Blossom, Goat Cheese, Spring Pea Purée and Frisée Salad looks stunning. She nail the cook on the fish and although the cheese is gooey and rich it doesn’t really make sense with the dish because goat cheese is too sharp to be served with halibut. Chef Gordon says, “However, you are a very strong twelve-year-old. Good job.”


Reid’s Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Peas and Fried Parsley looks great. It is golden brown and crunchy on the outside and nice and juicy on the inside. The dish is spiced well but the potatoes are not as fluffy as they should be. Chef Aarón says, “You did such a great job in executing this.”


Ivy’s Veal Schnitzel with German Potato Salad and Vegetable Salad stands out. The veal is truly the star of the dish. Chef Christina loves the warm potato salad but thinks the tomatoes are a tad to large, “but, very nice job.”


Che’s Pan-Seared Red Snapper with Black Bean Purée, Polenta Croutons and Baby Squash is stunning. He nailed the cook on the fish and his polenta croutons are crisp on the outside and nice and creamy on the inside. Chef Gordon loves that the dish has harmony, the flavors go well together. “Refined beyond belief. Good job.”


And Aaron’s Ethiopian Lamb Loin with Injera, Sautéed Spinach and Yogurt Sauce is impressive, especially since he never made it before. The spices are wonderful and he nailed the cook on the lamb, but Chef Aarón feels the plate needs more starch, “but there is a real exotic feel to this dish that is really special and is a testament to your family. Really well done, Aaron.”



And the winning dish belongs to … CHE!!!


He wins his spot in the finale and he gets to hand out 1 of 5 fruits to the other kids. They are: Cherries; Mango; Pineapple; Pear; & Peach. Che says, “Everyone here is a great cook, and we’re such great friends. But I also understand that’s it’s a competition, so I’m not giving anyone a free pass in this finale.”Aaron wants pineapple but he gets Cherries.Reid wants peaches but he gets Mango.
Sadie wants cherries but she gets Pineapple.
Ivy wants cherries but she gets Pear.
Malia wants cherries but she gets Peaches




The most important sixty minutes in the competition for the remaining five fly by. Only two of the five will win spots in the finale. As Sadie says, “These odds are not in my favor.” As the end approaches, from the balcony Che says, “Not a lot of time left guys. Come on you got this.” And Gordon starts the countdown! “Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one! Hands in the air!”


Sadie made a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with Pineapple 3 Ways. Chef Aarón thinks the dessert shows genius. The grilled pineapple offers relief from the sweetness of the cake and rich caramel. “Good job young lady.” Chef Christina says the dish is complex and bright. It proves she can bake like a MasterChef! One note though is to add a little fatty cream to round out the sweet.


Ivy made Blue Cheese Crusted Pork Chop with Sautéed Cabbage and Caramelized Pears. Chef Gordon thinks the dish looks stunning. She nailed the cook on the pork chop, the inside is moist and glistening. The blue cheese and pear work well together. Everything on the dish fits. Chef Gordon says, “I think it’s one of the best dishes you’ve cooked ever. Great job.”


Reid made Spiced Mango Rum Cake with Passion Fruit-Mango Purée. Chef Aarón likes the sauce and the purée and loves that used the mango in three ways. Unfortunately, he think the cake is undercooked. Chef Gordon loves the cake and doesn’t think it is undercooked. He likes the combo of mango and passion fruit, the richness and tartness elevates the cake. “Really, really delicious. Well done.”



Malia made Peaches & Cream with Buttermilk Biscuits and Candied Macadamia Nuts. Chef Christina thinks this is her best looking dish, it is very elegant. Malia nailed the caramelization of the peaches and the bake of the biscuits. Chef Gordon agrees that visually “it’s got that Wow Factor. It’s an accomplished dish. It’s creative. I would have preferred a little more of the peaches. But I’m seriously impressed.”


And Aaron made Sautéed Duck with Fregula and Pickled Cherries. Chef Gordon likes that he used cherries three ways, but points out the cherries are competing with the duck as the star of the dish. And sadly, the duck is slightly undercooked. But he nailed the seasoning and the cherries. Chef Gordon says, “It’s going to be a tough call. It’s a good dish. I don’t think it’s your best, but it’s a very strong effort. Thank you.”


The next young cook in the Finale is … IVY! And the last chef in the Finale is … MALIA!


Chef Gordon says, “Aaron, Reid, Sadie, you three have been incredible. Sadie! You’re like the princess of pastry. You are a phenomenon. Reid! Eight years of age, you are super talented. Next time I see you, can we go fishing together? You can show me how to catch a proper catfish? I’m going to miss you. Aaron! You’re funny, witty, charming. You’ve got a career in anything you decide to do because you put your heart and soul into it. Right, you three mustn’t ever stop cooking.” YES, Chef! Hugs and hugs and hugs from the judges and final three. Sadie, Reid and Aaron hold their heads high and get cheers from their friends as they walk out. Reid says, “I’m disappointed I’m not in the finale. But I’m proud of what I accomplished. I stepped out of my comfort zone. I cooked my heart out and I did my best.” 😊 Sadie says, “Going home after working so hard is a little frustrating. But when I get home, I can’t wait to open up my French Bistro/Cat Café.” 😊 Aaron says “I accomplished so much! I may not have a MasterChef Trophy, but I’ve got the passion and to make my dreams come true.” 😊



The Restaurant Takeover

The top 6 learn for the last Team Challenge they will do the Restaurant Takeover of a two Michelin Star restaurant. Sadie learns she will captain the Red Team of Aaron and Malia and Reid learns he will captain the Blue Team of Che and Ivy. Reid is a little nervous because, “I’ve never been a team captain before.” And at the end of this challenge there is no Pressure Test, no second chance. At the end of this Team Challenge 2 young cooks from the losing team will be going home.

A MasterChef limo brings the top six to Mélisse where they get amazing Chef Coats and meet the Head Chef, Josiah Citrin! Chef Citrin shows the kids how to make 4 spectacular dishes: Pan-Seared Prawns with Mixed Vegetables; Pan-Seared Halibut with Mushrooms & Brown Butter Chardonnay Sauce; Filet of Beef with Porcini Mushrooms, Glazed Carrots and Charred Leak Purée; and Truffle Crusted Lamb with French Green Lentils & Artichokes. Chef Aarón says, “Guys, this dining room is fully booked with real diners. And they have no idea how old the chefs are preparing this dinner this evening. Age can no longer be an excuse.”

During the hectic appetizer cooking time the Blue Team struggles understanding the orders being read out loud by Chef Gordon. On the Red Team Aaron gets a little overwhelmed and seems to be shutting down, but Chef Aarón and Chef Gordon help to wake him up and get him back on track. Back on the Blue Team Reid accidently throws a hot spoon across the kitchen and gets burned. He tells Chef Gordon he is okay and keeps on cooking with more focus. On the Red Team Sadie lets Malia plate raw prawns for Chef Josiah!! Everyone has to work a little bit harder, but the guests seem to love the appetizers from both teams.

Now it’s time to cook the entrées. Both teams are challenged. On the Blue Team Reid forgets to oil a hot pan and the beefs sticks. Then he struggles with proper basting technique!! Reid starts to get upset when his butter burns and Che comments, “Reid seems to be getting less and less confident as the cook goes. He need to realize that he’s a skilled home cook, that’s why he’s in to 6. We need Reid right now. We can’t get into the Semi Finals without Reid.” Chef Gordon tells Reid he thought he would be a great captain since he really believes in him and he shows him how to baste the steak. Eventually Reid decides to pass the filets off to Che and concentrates on plating instead.  On the Red Team Aaron mistakenly prepares the artichokes before getting the lamb in the oven. Later he puts poorly sliced chops with more bone than meat. And Malia’s beef is not cooked. Chef Gordon says, “Put a pair of horns on that, we’ll stick it back in the field. Dear, Oh dear.”


Chef Citrin enjoyed both teams cooking and all the diners love the entrées. They are shocked to see the chefs are kids. Back in the MasterChef Kitchen the judges read comment cards. Red Team: “Filet of beef cooked perfectly.” “Sauce delicious.” “Santa Barbara Spot Prawns spectacular.” Blue Team: “Halibut prepared wonderfully.” “One of the best halibut dishes I’ve ever tasted.” “Flaky buttery well-seasoned.” “The rack of lamb perfectly cooked.” “Lentils were to die for!” Also for the first time in MasterChef history NO dishes were sent back.
And the wining team is ………… BOTH TEAMS!!!



Too Corny
Chef Aarón begins the evening with a riddle.

“What did the baby corn say to the mama corn?”
“Where’s Pop Corn?!”

Then the young home cooks are buried in cooked corn kernels! For the next Mystery Box the top 8 will make corn the star of a dish! But first, they must get cleaned up. Under the box they find all kinds of corn, and even more in the pantry. They have Black Corn, White Corn, Corn Meal, Baby Corn, Corn Flakes, Freeze Dried Corn, Fermented Corn, Heirloom Corn and much, much more!


The first best dish belongs to Che. He made Shrimp & Corn Sope with Smoked Paprika Popcorn and Pico De Gallo and he nailed it. His dish has elegance, color and freshness. Chef Christina loves he used corn in three ways and made it his own dish. Chef Aarón says, “So, Che, as a proud Mexican I can you that that right there, is spot on. This dish is so delicious I want to adopt a version of this on my own menus at my restaurants!”



The next best dish belongs to Matthew. He made Blue Corn Crusted Tuna with Corn-Roasted Pepper Salsa, Avocado & Furikake Spiced Baby Corn. Chef Gordon says, “Let’s get one thing clear, tuna, cooked beautifully. You’ve coated it in cornmeal. You’ve gone for something with corn I didn’t expect to see this evening.” The avocado works well, but the salad is too simple, needs to be elevated to match the other amazing elements on the plate.



And the last best dish belongs to Ivy. She made Corn Tamale with Corn Elote & Huitlacoche. Chef Aarón is impressed she took on such a difficult dish and succeeded. All of the elements celebrate corn. “Great job.” Chef Gordon wanted more heat but “Every time you turn that stove on, you’re getting more and more confidence. I love that. Well done. Good job.”


And the winner is … CHE! He gets to pick the four teams for the forth coming Tag Team Challenge! Che picks Aaron as partner and then pairs Reid & Ivy, Malia & Sadie, and Matthew & Jaala. They will being working together to make a platter of Tapas including Beef Empanadas, Pan Con Tomate, Shrimp with Chorizo, Cheese Croquets, Pulpo a la Parrilla (grilled octopus) and Churros.


During the frantic cook time Aaron & Che have trouble with time management but with a little coaching from Chef Christina they refocus and help keep each other on track for a strong finish. Reid & Ivy are talking to each other and prove to be strong partners from the start. But on the other side of the coin, Matthew & Jaala and Malia & Sadie struggle with communication and cooperation. These two flustered teams struggle to get it together in time to create a winning platter.



Time is up.
Che & Aaron’s Tapas Platter looks good. The shrimp is cooked perfectly and has nice heat. The croquetas are golden brown and taste delicious but a bit lopsided. The empanadas are great but could have had a bit more color on the pastry. The octopus has good grill marks and the sauce compliments well. The pan con tomate is beautifully seasoned. And the churros fried and coated in sugar well, but too short. Chef Christina says, “It’s not the most perfect tag team platter but I’m impressed by the way the two of you worked together. The effort is on this platter.”


Jaala & Matthew’s Platter reflects two cooks who struggled being on the same page. The empanadas is missing the nice sweet tomato. The shrimp are burned. The churros are a great size, but just a little too dark. The octopus is grilled well but the sauce is missing the acidity of the vinegar. The pan con tomate is delicious. And the croquetas are nice and crispy. Gordon says, “Now, nobody’s been perfect tonight. You may not have been on the same page for the first 30 minutes, but I guarantee that last 25, 30 minutes it came together as a team. Good job.”



Reid & Ivy’s platter invites with its golden brown colors. The shrimp is good, it’s textbook. The croquets are amazing, seasoned nicely with a touch of herbs. The churros are creamy, airy, great color, the y are spot on. The empanadas are a touch under seasoned but cooked very well. The Romanesco sauce is beautiful and the octopus is cooked perfectly. And the pan con tomate has great grill marks and flavor. Chef Aarón is impressed, “Overall, very strong effort. Good job.”


Malia’s & Sadie’s platter is a little sloppy. The croquets are misshaped and lack seasoning, but they taste good. The churros are over sugared. The empanadas are overstuffed and the filling is too lumpy. The octopus is dry. The shrimp is fine, much better the second time around. And finally, the tomato toast needs more seasoning. Chef Gordon says, “I’m just disappointed. What I saw wasn’t brilliant. I think you were a little bit too cocky tonight, and let’s just hope that cockiness doesn’t send you home.”


REID & IVY made the best tapas platter! Che & Aaron also did very good.


And the last team to make it into the top 6 is … Malia & Sadie.
That means Jaala & Matthew are going home. ☹
Matthew is crying ☹ and tearful Jaala kindly supports him. All the kids look very sad to see their friends go home. Matthew and Jaala group hug with the Chefs and get lots of cheers and applause from the balcony as they walk out hand and hand. “We miss you already!” 😊


Jaala says, “I’ve grown so much since I’ve been in the MasterChef Kitchen. When I first came here I was mostly a baker, but now I can cook anything. It’s not really about winning, it’s about the experience and having fun and meeting new people. So, I feel like I’ve won MasterChef Jr just by being in the top 8!”

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Matthew says, “For the 8 years I have been on this planet this has been the best time in my life! I have so memories to take with me. So kids if you ever want to be part of something follow your dream because it’s gonna happen!”

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MASTERCHEF JR S07 x E09 & 10

Pasta Race
The top 10 have to race to make the longest possible sheet of pasta. Ivy gets a free pass and heads to the balcony. The Green Team – Malia, Jaala & Reid – win and get to dump a giant bowl of pesto on Chef Aarón. The Red Team – Aaron, Sadie & Ben come in second and get to dump a giant bowl of marinara sauce on Chef Gordon. And the Yellow Team – Rhashad, Che & Matthew – came in third and get to dump cheese sauce on Chef Christina. Big mess! Green Team is safe from the next challenge. Instant clean up!
Now Aaron, Sadie, Ben, Rhashad, Che & Matthew have to bake three perfect glazed éclairs.
There is a really cute moment when the judges realize Aaron is snacking on the gold leaf at his station. :0
All six get to work on their pâte à choux, pastry cream and glazes. In the end they all do so well that the judges decide no one is going home. The Top Ten remain, the Top Ten! 😊

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Girl Power
The young home cooks return to the MasterChef Kitchen to learn the next Team Challenge will be cooking for strong female figures. Blue Team Captain wins the coin toss and chooses her entire team. She picks Malia, Reid, Che & Sadie. Red Team Captain Rhashad will lead Ben, Aaron, Jaala & Matthew. He gets to choose the protein, and he chooses the salmon. That means Ivy’s Blue Team will be cooking the lamb.



Then the special guests arrive. Some standouts are Christina Wilson the winner of Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef Winners – Claudia Sandoval & Christine Ha, and MasterChef Jr Winners – Beni & Jasmine.


During the cook time Reid gets badly burned my the oil when he drops the lamb in the pan! It really hurts and he gets super upset. ☹ Reid says it felt like a bunch of bees and ants stung him at the same time! Gordon brings him into the pantry to cool down the burn in cold water. Gordon shows him his old scars from oil burns and Reid feels a little better. He chooses to stay in the challenge to coach the others cooking the lamb and the asparagus! At the last minute he runs in with his injured hand to help plate the dishes nicely! WOW! 😊


On the Red Team Rhashad is having problems leading his team in the proper way to cook the fish. The salmon skin is soggy and the underside is too brown! With a little support from Chef Gordon Rhashad helps his team get back on track and the food on the plates.
Red Team made Seared Salmon with Mashed Potatoes and Broccolini and the Blue Team made Rack of Lamb with Mushrooms, Risotto and Asparagus. The salmon is flavorful, but a little bit overcooked and the mash is perfect. The cook on the lamb is nailed and the risotto is amazing … and the wining team by vote is … BLUE TEAM!!!!


The Red Team heads into the dreaded Pressure Test. Chef Gordon demonstrates his famous Pan-Seared Scallop & Apple dish. During the cook time Rhashad cuts his scallops unevenly and Aaron struggles with the set on his apple jelly.
Sixty minutes is up!


Matthew’s dish looks beautiful! He nailed the sear and the cook on the scallops. Gordon loves the lemon on the dish. Everything is seasoned well and Christina agrees the dish tastes great.


Rhashad’s scallops are not uniform. He has some overcooked scallops and some perfectly cooked scallops. He nailed all the other elements on the plate, but he is concerned because the protein is the star and he didn’t get them all cooked the best


Ben seasoned the scallops too soon and they became rubbery and dry. On the positive side – the color of the scallops is great and puree and the jelly is delicious. Christina loves his creative mind, but noticed he missed some technical points in replicating Gordon’s dish.


Jaala nailed her dish even though she couldn’t taste her dish due to allergy. The scallops have lots of color and they are cooked perfectly. Her puree is nice and smooth and the whole dish is seasoned well. Aarón loves her apples the most.


Aaron’s dish is visually sloppy and it is missing the apple jelly, but he nailed the sear on the scallops. Inside they are glistening and taste delicious. Gordon wants more finesse.


JAALA made the best dish! MATTHEW also did well and is safe. And the last home cook staying in the competition is … AARON!
So sadly, tonight Rhashad and Ben are going home. ☹ Nothing stops Rhashad from smiling though. Chef Gordon says, “What an amazing journey, but tonight you fell short. Ben, you’ve been a powerhouse. Rhashad, you’ve lit this room up. Oh dear, you two dudes, come say goodbye. Give us a hug. Man.”
They get cheers and applause from their friends as they walk out. “You keep on smiling.”  “Good job!”  “You guys were amazing friends!”


Rhashad says, “I am sad to leave the MasterChef Kitchen, but I’m happy because I made it to the top 10 and I got to learn from Gordon Ramsay, Aarón Sánchez and Christina Tosi. This has been a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

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Ben says, “When I first came into this kitchen I was not as strong as I ever thought I’d become. I learned so much new skills and the judges taught me so much. The hardest thing about leaving is saying goodbye to all my great friends I’ve made, but they’ll be my friends for life. I’m going back to Morristown, NJ and I’m going to keep on cooking!”Screenshot_20190514-123926_Video Player


Kidz Bop Kitchen
The top 12 young home cooks are shocked to see the Kidz Bop Kids are in the MasterChef Kitchen! Aaron says, “Oh, my God! The Kidz Bop Kids are here. I never thought that I was gonna meet them in person. I love how they take normal songs and they sing them without the bad words in it so I can listen to songs that I like in front of my grandma.” The Kidz Bop Kids decided the contents for the next Mystery Box Challenge: kale, apple, Oreo, potato chips, broccoli, elbow macaroni, red cabbage, yams, fruit, cheese, meat and many more things. The top 12 will make a MasterChef Quality dish from their choice of the ingredients.


When time is up the judges choose three dishes that they feel elevate the ingredients and celebrate the box.  The first belongs to Jaala. She made a No Bake Cheesecake with Cookie Sandwich Crust and Strawberry-Raspberry Jam representing her dream to open a bakery called Sugar Sugar back home in Rhode Island. Chef Aarón says the piping is masterful and the cake is so delicious. “It’s wonderful. You hit on three elements that I think all great dishes should have — texture, a certain savoriness to it and then a fresh element… Overall, it’s fun, it’s inventive, and most importantly, it’s tasty.”


The next belongs to Reid. He made Cookies & Cream Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis to prove to the judges he is not just a grill boy. The judges love he went out of his cooking comfort zone with the dish and Chef Christina loves the texture, the creaminess and the sweetness. She says, “Wow! I could just eat that for days. …Reid, you have exceeded my wildest expectations. You just need to keep destroying any box that we put you in. Incredible job.”


And the final dish belongs to Che. He made Chicken Parmesan with Tomato Sauce, Kale and Fried Mozzarella in honor of his dad who introduced him to cooking and has since passed away. Gordon loves how the cheese inside the breast helps keep the chicken moist and potato chips used as the coating. “You have chef’s mind. You are super creative. I hope dad is watching because that is exceptional. I think that is one of the best dishes you’ve cooked so far. Well done.”


And the winner is … REID. He is safe from the Elimination Challenge and gets to pick a cook to bring in the top 10 with him. He picks his buddy Aaron and they also get to pick the ingredient for the next challenge. Something the judges ate as kids cheese (Chef Aarón), Cereal (Chef Christina) or Canned Tuna (Chef Gordon).


They pick tuna, which some of the kids, like Kyle who absolutely hates tuna, are not super happy about.


Times up and time to taste!
Malia made Tuna Roll with Vegetables, Fried Tuna and Fried Avocado. The presentation looks incredible. She nailed the cook and cut the roll well. Chef Gordon says, “It’s like it’s just come out of a Japanese Restaurant. You are really seriously multifaceted. What I can guarantee with this dish: A. You’re not going home. & B. Congratulations, because you are the first in the Top Ten.”


Kyle made Tagliatelle with Puttanesca Sauce, Tuna and Ricotta Cheese. Chef Christina says the sauce is very spicy, so it overtakes the tuna. In addition the capers, lemon zest and dry herbs, also hide the star of the dish. “But I really appreciate the effort. Thank you.”


Che made Niçoise Salad with a Tuna Cake. It’s wonderful. It has great acidity, the mustard is in check and not over spicy. Chef Aarón also loves the texture of the cake. He says, “All the elements of the salad make sense. It’s hitting really high notes on so many different levels. Great job young man.”


Sadie made Tuna Croquettes with Aioli, Frisée Salad and Fried Vegetables. The tuna is flaky and the flavors are on point and well balanced. Chef Christina says, “I think this is most elegant dish I ever seen made from a can of tuna. Very nice job.”


Matthew made Pan-Seared Tuna Cake with Southwest Salsa. Chef Gordon likes the taste of the cakes but wants more color on the outside and feels like the salsa is a touch heavy on the seasoning. Overall, a good job.


Jaala made Tuna Cakes with Bean-Corn Salad, Salsa and Chipotle Aioli. It has a nice Tex-Mex spice level and the tuna is nice and moist, but Chef Christina wants more aioli. “Otherwise, nice job.”


Ben made Thali Tuna Curry with Coconut Jasmine Rice. Chef Aarón does not find the presentation appealing and the curry a bit muddled. Fresher ingredients would have helped. But the rice is very good. “I love the fact that you went for a curry … but I don’t know if this is enough yet. Thank you, though, Ben.”


And Brielle made a Tuna Pot Pie. Sadly, the pie crust looks ripped since she had to pull it apart to put the tuna in at the end. Chef Gordon tastes it and says, “Oh dear, oh dear … Unfortunately, the rue is not there … And unfortunately, the pastry is raw there … but, what I do like is the freshness of the peas … peas and fish go well together … I don’t think this has been your strongest performance.”


MALIA made the best dish and Ben, Kyle and Brielle’s dishes are in the bottom. And the one who is safe is … Ben. That means Kyle & Brielle are going home. ☹


Gordon says, “Now, Kyle, Brielle, you two have got nothing to be upset about. You made the top twelve. Think how much stronger you’ve become. You’ve got some great friends for life, and you’ve been in the most famous kitchen in America. Just think of the bragging rights when you step into that classroom. Everyone wants to be your best mate now, well done.”  They get lots of loving from the judges and the other young cooks before they walk out. 😊


Brielle says, “I’m really sad I’m going home, but I learned a real lot in this competition. Even though I’m not in the MasterChef Jr Kitchen, I’m still going to keep cooking at home in Atlanta.”

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Kyle says, “It’s really heartbreaking to be eliminated, but out of hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of kids that have tried out, I’ve made it to the top 12. I feel like I made lifelong friends that I’m never gonna forget, including three of the best chef in the world. My MasterChef JR journey might be over, but I still plan to become a travel food blogger or open my own restaurant.”

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After this post I will be taking a short break since my birthday is coming up and I will be going on a special vacation to San Francisco. I will be doing the 2 top 10 shows at the same time. See you then!


Quacking Under Pressure

The top 14 young home cooks enter the MasterChef Kitchen and take their places behind the Mystery Box at their station. The judges give them three clues: feathers, a quacking sound and a big yellow theme park duck head on Chef Aarón! They will have one hour to break down and create a restaurant quality duck dish. Chef Aarón demonstrates the proper way to break down the duck into two breasts, two legs and two wings. He makes it look easy, but of course, it takes a lot of knife skills.

The first dish the judges want to taste belongs to Jaala. Her Duck Breast with Orange-Soy Broth, Mushrooms, Bok Choy and Jasmine Rice is visually appealing. She got a nice cook on the duck and Chef Aarón says, “I think you completely knocked it out of the park.” The breast is scored beautifully, the skin is nice is crispy, the broth is flavorful and the rice is elegant. Chef Gordon can’t believe she has never cooked duck before! 

The next the judges want to taste belongs to Rhashad. His Five-Spice Duck with Carrot, Parsnip, Rice Paper and Lime Rice is his first attempt at Asian cuisine in the show and it is a success. Chef Christina likes the coating of spice on the outside of the duck and the gorgeous medium pink cook inside. You can still see the juices. Chef Aarón loves how the skin is rendered and all the elements work harmoniously. A little more sauce would have made it a perfect dish.

And the last dish the judges want to taste belongs to Evie. Her Pan-Seared Duck with White Asparagus, Baby Potatoes and Cherry-Port Sauce looks like it is straight out of a restaurant. It is plated beautifully. Chef Gordon says, “Oh wow. It’s delicious, it’s rich. Those cherries are amazing. Great job!” Chef Christina says the dish brings her the same kind of joy a great slice of cake or a great cookie brings – it is out of control impressive. The only note was to be sure to serve duck skin side up, show it off.

Three absolutely stunning dishes – and the winner is … EVIE!

Screenshot_20190415-143918_Video PlayerThe kids are treated to cupcakes on the patio which leads right into the next team challenge – to bake a dozen perfect cupcakes. They go back inside to find Chef Christina wearing a dress made of cupcakes :0 They will work in teams of 2 and Evie gets to pick who will work with who. She wants to set everyone else up for success too, so she tries for the most positive matches. She picks Sadie as her partner and pairs Ben & Brielle, Che & Kyle, Rhashad & Reid, Malia & Jaala, Aaron & Kate and Matthew & Ivy. And the winning team will get their Cupcake Recipe published in the all new MASTERCHEF JR BAKING COOKBOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Evie and Sadie made Fruit Cereal Cupcakes with White Chocolate and Rice Krispies Treats. Big nod to Chef Christina’s Milk Bar flavors. They are colorful and the cake is light and airy. Chef Christina says, “I am super h9onored and super inspired by this box of cupcakes. Nice job.”

Ben and Brielle made Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Curd and Torched Meringue. Chef Gordon says, “They look incredible.” They are light and fluffy and taste lemony delicious.

Jaala and Malia made Orange Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean-Cinnamon Frosting. Visually, the cup cakes are an A+! Chef Christina says, “It tastes as gorgeous as it looks! This could quite possibly be the most perfect box of cupcakes I have ever seen. Congratulations!”

Ivy and Matthew made Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry and Lemon Icing. Chef Aarón says, “That’s a dynamite tasting cupcake. The cake is cooked perfectly, it’s airy, it’s fluffy. What you guys got right there, it’s delicious. Good job, okay!”

Reid and Rhashad made Red Velvet Cupcake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. Gordon is happy. “The sponge is delicious, the frosting is exceptional. You know, the flavors are there, the lightness is there. I can definitely taste that southern charm. Good job, well done!”

Che and Kyle made Apple Pie Cupcakes with Spice and Maple-Cinnamon Buttercream. They are well baked and you can see the apple on the inside. Chef Aarón says, “Man, you interweaved spice, sweetness and texture brilliantly. And that’s what I really love about it. Fantastic job guys!”

Aaron and Kate made Banana-Cinnamon Cupcakes with Espresso Frosting. Chef Christina likes the flavor combination and she can smell the coffee in the frosting, but she is not thrilled with the visual. The piping on top looks look the poop emoji :O Whoops! But, she says, “The cake is baked beautifully. It’s nice and light. That balance of banana and cinnamon s delicious. And that coffee frosting is amazing. All in all, excellent job on this box of cupcakes.”

MALIA & JAALA have the best cupcakes of the night. Their cupcake will be published in the new cookbook! Then the judges announce that tonight … NO ONE GOES HOME!!!!! All the cupcakes were so good they all get to stay! The top 14 remains: Aaron, Ben, Brielle, Che, Evie, Ivy, Jaala, Kate, Kyle, Malia, Matthew, Reid, Rhashad & Sadie. Sadly, next time 2 kids will go home from the Pressure Test of the Camp MasterChef Team Challenge.


Something to Trifle With
The top 16 young home cooks enter the MasterChef Kitchen and find out they will be making trifle. Gordon says, “Growing up, trifle was a family tradition for me. It was served at every holiday, every Sunday lunch at mum’s house.” Working in teams the young cooks will make as many stunning trifles as they can in 20 minutes. Each dessert should have 5 layers: Sponge Cake, Creamy Pudding, Crunchy Graham Crackers, Mashed Fruit, Whipped Cream and Fresh Fruit.

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To pick 3 teams-of-five the kids must dig into the humungous trifle on stage and find colored tokens. Matthew finds a golden token which sends him directly to the balcony and straight into the top 14!

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Green Token Team is Reid, Ben, Jaala, Che, & Evie.
Yellow Token Team is Aaron, Malia, Kate, Jayden & Nayeli.
Red Token Team is Kyle, Brielle, Sadie, Ivy & Rhashad.


The kids go to zones on their station and when a great big buzzer sounds, they must switch zones. Ben says, “The strategy for the Green Team is to communicate and make sure we get everything done and work as a team really well so that everybody stays on the same page.” Malia says, “The Yellow Team’s strategy is doing as many as you can as fast as possible, because we ‘re probably going to make mistakes. So, we might as well just move quickly.” On the Red Team, Ivy says, “Our strategy is to be slow and easy. We have to make sure every layer measures the exact same. We gotta make the world’s perfect trifles ever.” In the end, the RED TEAM’s strategy brings home a win, with 31 perfect desserts!

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Losing teams, Green and Yellow, get drenched in pudding. But Gordon says he is not as nice as Christina, and even Red gets it in the end. The kids are swimming in pudding and we get a rare shot of Ivy, Reid & Rhashad without their hats. 😊


For the Next Elimination Challenge the remaining kids have to make 3 sliders of their choice! Chef Gordon demonstrates how he makes Beef, Seafood and Veggie Sliders. The young cooks work hard to make the best sliders possible and luckily, nothing unlucky happens during the cook time. Ben’s Fried Oyster Sliders with Coleslaw and Mayonnaise look incredible. Gordon says, “You sound like me. You cook like me. You look like me. What’s your surname? Ben Ramsey?” He nailed the cook on the oysters and even toasted the buns! Gordon loves the dish.


Che made Crab Cake Sliders with Avocado Spared and Garlic-Chive Aioli. Chef Aarón explains that putting crab meat into a blender ruins the flavor and texture of crab. He can’t figure out what kind of seafood it is. ☹ Plus, the crab is super dry. But Che nailed everything else on the dish.


Nayeli’s Beef Sliders with Brie, Caramelized Onions and Arugula look more like meatballs, and it was not a meatball test. ☹ The beef is overcooked and looks gray, but she seasoned them well. It is a very tough tasting and Nayeli is crying. Matthew encourages her, “Good job Nayeli! Stay positive, okay.” 😊



Malia made Lime Shrimp Sliders with Slaw and Lime Aioli. Christina likes the flavor of the shrimp and lime aioli, “… but, they feel a little puny. I want more shrimp. But darn, is that shrimp delicious.”


Reid’s Southern State Sliders with Secret Sauce and Bacon are big and needed to cook a little more, but the flavor is wonderful. Chef Aaron loves the classic combo of cheese, tomato and creamy dressing. “Great job!”


Aaron made Beef Sliders with Tomato and Cheese. Gordon likes the seasoning mix and sear on the sliders, but the size is a bit off. “Two out of three are beautifully done, one’s a little bit awkward, but the flavor is there, well done.”


Jayden made Turkey Sliders with Grilled Pineapple and Sweet Thai Chili Mayo. The burgers look very messy and the turkey is undercooked! Christina must be careful about food poisoning and can only nibble the edge of the slider. She says, “Jayden, the things that impress me –- that is a gorgeous toasted bun. I think that your sweet chili aioli is actually really smart. Grilled pineapple – like that. But unfortunately, the star of the slider is meant to be that turkey and unfortunately that is the most underwhelming part of your sliders.” ☹


And Evie made Cheese Stuffed Sliders with Caramelized Onions and Candied Bacon. She only got 2 sliders on the board, Gordon says, “Oh, man, they are delicious. Rich, gooey in the middle with that cheddar cheese.” He is so impressed he wants to make one like this in his restaurant!


BEN made the best sliders!

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Jayden, Che and Nayeli’s sliders are in the bottom 3, and the one safe is Che. Sadly, this means Jayden and Nayeli are going home. ☹ They get lots of hugs as they are walking out. Matthew says, “Thank you so much Jayden, you’ve been my best friend.” 😊


Nayeli says, “I will miss this kitchen very much. But even though I am eliminated I am still happy because I learned so much and I still know that my food dream will come true, and I will go to Paris and have my own bakery and have them all around the world.” Awesome!

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Jayden says, “I’m only 12 and I’m finishing in top 16 of Masterchef JR. I’ve changed a lot. My confidence has really grown. As soon as I get back to San Antonio, I’m gonna show my grandma everything I’ve learned.” Nice!

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