“Going Bananas”
Tonight’s culinary challenge is to make a perfect Banana Split Dessert. 12 lucky young home cooks are randomly placed into color teams of four while 12 are sent straight to the balcony to await the Elimination Challenge. The Yellow Team is Ashley, Ben, Matthew and Tal. The Pink Team is Malia, Sadie, Jayden and Brielle. The Green Team is Rhashad, Kyle, Shannen and Thomas. The catch is — all four are tied together at the ankle while making as many banana splits as possible in fifteen minutes. Each team will have to work together and coordinate their movements to get the job done. The winning team will be safe from the Elimination Challenge.

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YELLOW TEAM wins with 8 Banana Splits! The winners cover the judges with whipped cream and frosting and pelt them with sprinkles. Messy! Messy! Messy with a cherry on top!


Time for the Elimination Test! The remaining eight: Sadie, Rhashad, Jayden, Malia, Thomas, Shannen, Brielle and Kyle have to make a dish with LIVE LOBSTER!!! They have one hour to kill, cook and extract the lobster meat all by themselves. Several of the kids are freaked out.


During the cook time Malia cuts her finger but it gets patched up and she is good to go. She says, “I’m not going to let just a little cut stop me from cooking.” 😊 She impresses the judges when she uses her lobster shell as a taco holder. Thomas has never cooked lobster before and struggles with time. He tries to get his Lobster Roll perfect but struggles to get everything on the plate. Just in time he finishes and time is up.



Malia made Lobster Taco with Sweet Potato Wedges, Slaw and Avocado Crema. Aarón says, “You know that tacos is kind of my thing? And I’m looking at this dish that you presented, and you know the first feeling I have? Is jealousy.” When he tastes the taco he does the taco dance. She hit it out of the park.


Shannen also made Lobster Tacos with Carrot Chips. Christina says the tacos are chock full of lobster, but the salsa is over puréed and the lobster itself is overcooked.


Sadie made a Lobster Cake with Avocado, Picked Onions and Tortilla Chips. Gordon thinks it is “absolutely delicious.” It has finesse and charm, and tastes rich and sweet.


Jayden made Lobster Rangoons with Sweet and Sour Sauce. Christina says his dish is clever but the dumplings are slightly underdone and the filling needs more lobster. “Don’t be stingy with the lobster in the lobster challenge!”


Brielle made Lobster Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce. Aarón says the pasta is delicious and the lobster is cooked well, but the cheese doesn’t work. “Seafood doesn’t like cheese, but good job young lady.”


Thomas made a Lobster Roll and Fried Jalapeños. He says jalapeños are a big part of the culture in Texas and he wanted to show the judges where he comes from. Gordon likes the lobster and mango combination, but thinks there is too much hot pepper.


Rhashad made Caribbean Lobster with Curry rice and Coconut Jerk Sauce. The dish looks beautiful. Aarón says, “This plate is as buttoned up and fashionably cool as you are.” 😊 And the dish is unbelievable, he nailed the lobster and the heat in the spice is well balanced with the creaminess of the coconut milk.


And Kyle made Lobster with Orzo, Roasted Asparagus and Lemon Beurre Blanc. His lobster is cooked beautifully, but it is hidden on the plate and his sides miss the mark. Gordon is worried it might not be good enough.


The top 2 lobster dishes belong to MALIA and SADIE!


Thomas, Brielle, Shannen and Kyle’s dishes are in the bottom and the 2 who managed to stay in the competition are Kyle and Brielle. Sadly, Thomas and Shannen are going home.☹


They gets lots of emotional hugs and well wishes as they are walking out. 😊Shannen says, “Even though I’m going home to Scarsdale, New York, I’m looking forward to showing my family what I have learned from here. I’m going to be the chef in the house now.”Thomas says, “I definitely don’t want to go home, but I’m still one of the top 22 junior chefs in all of America. I beat so many kids getting here, I bet no one in my school has ever done anything like this before. I’m still going to keep cooking, and I know I definitely made Texas proud.”



After nationwide tryouts the top 24 young home cooks selected to compete in the MasterChef Kitchen for are: Aaron 10, Ashley 9, Ben 11, Brielle 8, Che 12, Evie 11, Ivy 11, Jaala 10, Jayden 12, Kate 8, Kyle 11, Malia 11, Mateo 8, Matthew 8, Miguel 12, Nayeli 9, Neko 11, Reid 8, Rhashad 12, Sadie 12, Shannen 9, Tal 13, Tallulah 11 and Thomas 12. Chef Christina Tosi is back to judge with  Chefs Gordon Ramsay and Aarón Sánchez.

Eight year old Matthew from Livingston, NJ says, “I started cooking when I was three. The MasterChef Kitchen is so big, that equipment room can fit 100,000 stuffed animals and the pantry, don’t even talk about it, it’s the biggest thing on earth!” 😊

For the first Mystery Box Challenge they must make their signature breakfast dish. The 1st best dish belongs to Sadie, a 12 year old girl from Seattle, WA. She made Parmesan Egg Cups with Bacon, Chives and Sourdough Toast. The dish looks great and the eggs are cooked beautifully. The dish is seasoned well and has finesse.

The next best dish belongs to Ivy, a 11 year old girl from Altana, GA. She made French Toast and Scrambled Eggs with Gruyère Cheese, Bacon, Platanos and Berry Compote. Chef Aarón says it is a very proper breakfast dish with something savory and something sweet, texture and salt! He loves how the cheese is mixed well in the eggs.

And the last best dish belongs to Ben, a 11 year old boy from Morristown, NJ. He made Japanese Style Pancakes with Maple Bacon and Fruit. The pancake tastes so good! They are light and airy and the dish has nice color to it.

And the winner is (or should I say the winners are?) ALL THREE OF THEM!!!!
For the Elimination Test the kids will be making one of 3 school lunches a Quesadilla, Meatloaf or Chicken Tenders.

Sadie, Ivy and Ben decide among others: Neko, Mateo & Tallulah will be making Quesadilla; Kyle, Evie & Rhashad will be making Meatloaf; and Shannen, Miguel & Thomas will be making Chicken Tenders.
During the cook time Rhashad almost forgets to cook the meatloaf!!!! Gordon tells him, “We need to get that cooking cause I don’t know if the meatloaf is going to be cooked on time.”

When the time is up the judges pick the top 3 dishes right away and they belong to EVIE, TALLULH & THOMAS!!

Now for the tasting of the dishes that the judges have questions about. Mateo’s Quesadilla with Lemon-Lime Rice and Black Bean Purée has a nice char on it. The chicken and cheese are melted well together and the tortilla has a great texture.

Rhashad’s Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Green Bean is cooked inside but is a bit gray. Gordon likes the flavors of the beans and potatoes but is not happy about the burnt chives and bland meatloaf.

Neko’s Chicken Quesadilla with Rice and Beans is problematic. Christina complains the tortilla is almost empty inside!!! And there is not nearly enough cheese. ☹

Miguel’s Chicken Tenders with Sautéed Corn and Red Mashed Potatoes looks unfinished. Gordon says the color on the chicken is uneven, but the tender is cooked well. Unfortunately, the mashed potatoes are undercooked and the corn lacks “spirit.”

Kyle’s Meatloaf with Gravy and Saffron Mashed Potatoes is not perfectly square, but it is cooked well on the inside. Aarón loves the mashed potatoes but thinks the dish needs seasoning. “The flavors don’t match up to how much work you put into the presentation, but, you took a lot of risks and that is what gets you far in this competition.”

Shannen’s Chicken Tenders with Corn, Potato Chips and Ketchup are impressive. Christina wants more personality in the dish.

Miguel, Rhashad and Neko’s dishes are in the bottom. The young home cook who is safe is … Rhashad. 😊

And sadly, that means Miguel and Neko are going home. All of the kids give them big hugs as they exit. 😊 Miguel says, “Even though I am going back home to Atlanta, GA I beat thousands and thousands of kids to get a white apron and that’s awesome.” And Neko says, “I’m sad to be ending my MasterChef journey, but Gordon, Christina and Aarón taught he to follow my dreams, so I know my bakery in San Antonio is gonna be in my grasp in no time.” 😊

MasterChef Jr 06×14&15


The Finale Episode starts with the top 3 young home cooks, Beni, Quani & Avery, happily greeted by their previous competitors, friends and families. They will each cook three amazing appetizers, entrées and desserts to impress the judges and become the next MasterChef Junior Champion.

So what happen while the kids were cooking times? During the Appetizer Round Avery’s lobster get engulfed in flames and Gordon comes to help her get the fire under control!!! In the Entrée Round Quani is not watching his duck fat closely and the judges are worried it will over heat and burn his catfish. Joe shows him the temperature needs to be turned down. In the Dessert Round Quani’s pastry dough is too dry and his cooked tart shells are falling apart. Christina helps him keeps his composure, and ultimately he has to serve one tart still in the mold.

Time to talk about the food.

Avery’s appetizer is Grilled Lobster with Avocado Crema, Salsa De Tejas and Blue Corn Crisp. The lobster is beautifully cooked! Gordon says he can’t taste the effect of the grill because it was cooked with shell on. Christina likes brightness although maybe the dish has too many tomatoes. And Joe loves the balance between the rich lobster and acidity of the salad. It’s a great dish.

Quani’s appetizer is Grilled Spot Prawns with Crispy Grit Cake, Fried Green Tomato and Crab Chow-Chow. Visually it looks great. Gordon is glad he kept the prawn heads on. His prawn has great color and is cooked perfectly with crunch and texture. Christina loves each component on the dish, but her spot prawn is a little bit undercooked. Joe likes that the dish tells a story about where Quani comes from and how he thinks about food.

Beni’s appetizer is Smoked Salmon with Corn Blini, Pickled Radishes and Lemon-Herb Crème Fraîche. It is colorful and incredible. She successfully cured, smoked and seasoned the salmon in just 60 minutes. She got the balance just right and the combination of flavors is pleasing. The salmon is very rich and smoky. Gordon doesn’t like the raw radishes on the plate, and Joe agrees, but also says he would serve this appetizer in one of his restaurants. Excellent dish.

Avery’s entrée is Seared Ribeye Cap with Mustard Greens, Glazed Onions, Chimichurri & Bone Morrow Butter. The cook on the steak is spot on. It has a perfect char on the outside and nice and juicy on the inside. The flavor is amazing. Christina thinks there is too much butter and Gordon wants “more love” on the plate to stand up with the amazing protein.

Quani’s entrée is Duck Fat Fried Catfish with Spicy Greens, Pickled Okra & Corn Purée. The fish is absolutely fantastic. It is moist and tender and delicious. It is the best catfish Joe ever had in his life. Christina loves the bacon in the Rainbow Char and Kale. Gordon says, “You’ve elevated a catfish to the sea bass level and I’m going to use this … on my menu. Thank you Quani (x3).

Beni’s entrée is Grilled Veal Chop with Beet-Potato Fondant, Red Cabbage Sauerkraut and Mustard Cream Sauce. She nailed the cook on the veal, it is glistening and white. She rendered the fat well and the sauce is rich and hot. Christina calls it a beautiful dish. Gordon loves everything but the beet roots which are a little undercooked. “Great job young lady.”

Beni’s dessert is Deconstructed Apple Tartlet with Walnut Crumble, Apple-Brandy Cream & Cranberry Coulis. Gordon wants a deconstructed dessert to be better than the original and it is. Christina says it is perfect, “I love it!” Beni cooked the apples nicely. The tart shell is well baked and the dessert has the right amount of sugar and cinnamon. Joe says it reminds him of his grandmother’s desserts and Gordon licks his plate clean!!!

Quani’s dessert is Blueberry Tart with Marshmallow Meringue, Blueberries & Lemon Poppy Seed Tuile. Joe is a totally rude to Quani because his dessert is still in the pan. There are problems with the pastry shells crumbling and being uneven. However, the dessert is absolutely delicious. It is tart, has great body, and the marshmallow is wonderfully toasted. Gordon says, “You attempted something short of a miracle, I’m amazed you got it done. So, well done for not breaking down and disappearing. Thank you.”

And Avery’s dessert is Tres Leches Cake with Salted Carmel Sauce, Kettle Corn and Whipped Cream. It is rich, luscious, salty and sweet, but a little overbaked. The center is still gooey and moist. The caramel popcorn topping is the shining star of the dessert. The spicy cinnamon is a pleasant surprise. Gordon loves it and would have loved it more if it had soaked longer. Joe says it is a dessert that would sell.

After a long talk the judges pick the winner. They call the kids to the stage to switch places with the judges. And the winner is (drum roll) ………… BENI!!!!!!!!! She is shocked and ecstatic to win. Beni and hugs Quani and Avery and they hug her back. All of the other kids are cheering for her from the snowstorm of confetti!!! 😊
Beni says, “I won. I’ve been working so hard for this moment. I think that Avery and Quani did a really, really, really good job. They were such fierce competitors and they did not go down without a fight. I hope I have inspired kids out there to never stop following your dreams! Never give up and just do what you have your mind set to. I am the next MasterChef Junior!”

Quani says, “I’m really proud of Beni because she worked really hard for it. And I’m proud for myself, because I still got close to winning, but I just fell a little short.”
Avery says, “To be the youngest ever in the finale it really feels great and I think that this experience has been probably the best experience of my entire life.”

This was a great MasterChef Junior Season and the kids were amazing. Just last week a bunch of the contestants: Anthony, Ariana, Cade, Camson, Evan, Gracie, Henry, Mikey, Pierce, Quani and Sammy went to Chicago to watch the finale with Beni. The friends got to spend a whole weekend of fun together. Pictures on social media showed how happy and excited they were to celebrate their friend Beni. Evan posted a great pic of himself hugging Beni after she was announced the winner. He said he was so happy and proud. 😊 I like how all the kids respect and care about each other. I hope they all keep cooking, and keep in touch!

P.S. If you are like me, it’s hard to say goodbye to all the young cooks we’ve been following all season. Keep an eye out for my upcoming Fun Fantasy version of this season’s players 🙂


MasterChef Jr 06×13


The “Grandma Gordon” Semifinals Episode starts with the top 5 kid home cooks happily greeting their grandmothers. The judges are also dressed up as their own grandmas 😊 The challenge is to make a stunning dish inspired by family. The dish needs to impress their grandmothers and the judges. The winner gets a big advantage and the first spot in the 3-Way Finale!!!

Quani made Squid Ink Pasta with Spicy Puttanesca Sauce and Parmesan Crisp. Gordon says the sauce is really spicy and rich, but the real hero of the dish is the technically difficult squid noodles. The shrimp are a tiny bit over cooked, “But, I’m just pleased that you showed so many strings to your bow and you’re not a one trick pony. Because, you can bake, you can cook, and that dish is going to be tough to beat. Well done.

Mikey made Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail with Filet Mignon, Asparagus and Potatoes. The beef is cooked a perfect medium, like his grandmother likes it, but the veggies are a bit undercooked. The lobster is the star of the dish. Joe says, “Now that lobster could be a one way ticket to the finale. It is perfect. Perfectly cooked, flavored, tender and the crabmeat is the perfect supplement on top.”

Avery made Pan Seared Duck Brest with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Cherry Port Sauce. The cook on the duck is impressive, the skin is rendered beautifully and the garlic potatoes add balance to the dish. Christina says, “Is this dish good enough to propel you into the MasterChef Junior Finale? It might be. Nice job.”

Remy made Pan Seared Scallops with Farro, Butternut Squash Purée and Apricot Sauce. Gordon likes the presentation but is confused about pairing two sweet ingredients, scallops and apricots. She nailed the cook on the scallops, but the farro is undercooked and the dish needs more acidity. “But here’s the thing, you’re really creative. I can always spot a Remy dish from a mile away, because you’ve got your personality on there. It’s a very strong effort. Thank you.”

And Beni made Crispy Skin Salmon with Polenta and Beets Three Ways. The salmon skin is very crispy, the fish is nice and flaky and seasoned beautifully. Joe likes two out of the three beet presentations, the chips and the purée are great, but the roasted beets needed more cook time. “Overall, an excellent dish!”

The winner of the Grandma Challenge, claiming the first spot in the finale is ….QUANI!!!! He also gets to select which fish (Salmon, Bass, Mackerel or Sardine) each remaining contestant will cook in the last Elimination Challenge. Quani assigns Salmon to Remy, Bass to Mikey, Mackerel to Beni, leaving Avery the dreaded Sardine. They have 45 minutes to make a restaurant quality dish. Two cooks will go to the finale and two cooks will be going home.

Beni made Vadouvan Spiced Mackerel with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce and Cauliflower Couscous. Even though she has never cooked mackerel before, her result is amazing. Christina loves the taste of the fish, but wants more flavor in the yogurt sauce. Joe loves all the spice in the dish.

Remy made Miso Glazed Salmon with Fried Salmon Skin and Carrot Ginger Purée. The dish looks stunning. Gordon says, “Oh dear, Remy, Remy, Remy, … That is pink perfect salmon. Wow!” The glaze and the crispy skin are great, but the carrots a bit undercooked. Christina also loves the dish, but disagrees with Gordon about the soba noodles. She thinks the noodles need more flavor and more acidity.

Mikey made Pan Seared Bass with Potato Lasagna, Arugula Pesto, Tomato Vinaigrette and Pancetta. The plate has a lot going on and he nailed the cook on the fish. The pesto is fragrant and delicious, the tomatoes are blistered, the pancetta is crisped, however Gordon and Joe disagree on the potatoes. Joe likes them, they remind him of Italy. Gordon thinks the cream is too heavy for the dish.

And Avery made Stuffed Sardine with Carb, Spinach, Fennel Salad and Lemon-Caper Butter Sauce. Gordon thinks it is one of the best dishes she cooked in the competition. She elevated the least exciting fish and nailed every element on the plate. Joe says, “You took something of low value and added value by your technique. You were able to create something that was smart, delicious and beautiful.”

The Best Fish Dish and next spot in the Finale goes to … eight-year-old AVERY!!!
The Second Best Fish Dish and last spot in the Finale is … nine-year-old BENI!!!

That means Mikey & Remy are going home. ☹ Christina says, “Remy, Mikey, you’ve both have achieved so much in your own right. Remy, I know we’re going to see great things of you. That much talent packed into a twelve-year-old is mind blowing to me. And Mikey, you have an incredible palette. The visual impact that you put on a plate is skilled decades beyond your years.” Beni, Quani and & Avery cheer for them and hug them goodbye before they go. 😊

12-year-old Remy from New York City says “I am really sad to be going home, but I gave this competition all I got and I had the best experience of my life. It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later. This may be the end of my culinary journey in the MasterChef Jr Kitchen, but I’m going back to New York City and cook, cook and cook!”

10 year old Mikey from Clarendon, IL says “I leaned so much over this whole experience and I’m going back to Chicago feeling like a professional chef. I’ve done so much in these 10 years that I’ve been alive, but making it to the Semi Final of MasterChef Jr is such a cool accomplishment and it’s just awesome.”


MasterChef Jr 06×12


The “Pop Up Restaurant” Episode starts with the top 6 kid home cooks traveling in convertibles to a mystery site for their next team challenge. They will be cooking for 29 former MasterChef Jr contestants and Mikey, who wears the golden apron. The judges have selected the teams. Oliva captains the Blue Team with Remy & Evan. And Quani captains the Red Team with Beni & Avery. They will be preparing Branzino with Chorizo, Clams, Mussels and Polenta.

The captains have to take charge of preparation of food for service. Quani says, “Out of the gate, I do not want to be too bossy, but I don’t want to be too laid back. I want the Red Team to get along and communicate and have fun, and then we can definitely win together.” Right from the start Remy and Oliva struggle with who is in charge. Big sister Remy is having a hard time letting little sister Olivia take control. Evan says, “I’m so confused. Who is the Team Captain? Is it Remy or is it Olivia?”

As a huge MasterChef Junior fan since Season One, it’s exciting to see the guests arrive. Previous winners Alexander, Logan, Nathan, Addison and Jasmine are the first to be seated. We also get a glimpse of Season 1 contestants Dara & Sarah. Season 2 contestants Samuel, Natalie, Levi, Abby, Mitchell, Sean & Josh. Season 3 contestants Andrew, Riley, & Jimmy. Season 4 contestants Avery, Kya & Ian. And Season 5 contestants Justise, Shayne😊, Syd, Cydney, Afnan, Peyton, Mashu, Donovan & Lila.


The Red Team starts off strong and gets the first three dishes out on time. The Blue Team has trouble getting their dishes to the Winner’s Table. Olivia falls behind with the shell fish and has a small meltdown. Christina takes her aside and tells her she can do it. Olivia finds her voice and is able to pull it together for the Blue Team.

Joe asks the kids at the Winner’s Table how the food tastes. Jasmine says, “I think the Blue Team is doing a really good job. The fish is nice and crispy, the polenta is super creamy.” Nathan says, “For the Red Team’s dish, the fish is seasoned and cooked perfectly. The polenta seems a bit under seasoned.” Addison agrees.

Quani is having trouble cooking the polenta for the Red Team and the diners are noticing it. Lila says, “…the polenta cakes are not as good as I would like them to be, I’d like mine to be a little crisper.” But Samuel says, “The Red Team’s branzino is super crispy and it’s also wealthy.” Ian agrees, “I like it.” Levi says, “I think that the fish is cooked nicely, but could use a little more seasoning.”

Meanwhile, Shayne “The Train” says, “I’m eating the Blue Team food. And I love the fish, I mean, it’s cooked perfectly. I really love the polenta. I think it’s nice and crispy.” But Abby’s Blue Team fish is cold and Kya says, “The fish is dry and it’s really salty on top.”


In the end the RED TEAM wins by a tiny margin! That means Evan, Remy & Olivia are in the dreaded Pressure Test and only one will be going to the semi-finals.


Season 5 Champion Jasmine joins them in the MasterChef Kitchen to introduce the next challenge, French Macarons, delicate almond flour cookies with creamy filling. Jasmine talks about the MasterChef Junior Cookbook, which I know includes Season 3 Winner Nathan’s Banana and Salted Caramel Macaron on page 232. 😊

During the cook time Olivia runs out of meringue batter for her cookies and starts to melt down. Eventually, Gordon comes to her station to help her calm herself, reorganize and make more. Olivia is able to regroup with his help, stay determined and get her cookies finished in time.  Time is up.

Evan’s caramelized banana dulce de leche French macarons with flambéed buttercream have a great crunch on the outside and Gordon is impressed with the flambé idea. He says, “Wow! The flavor inside, you’ve got absolutely spot on!” But the tops are not smooth. Gordon holds the cookie to his face and says, “Now your macarons look like me, and the perfect macaron should be like your cheeks here, nice and smooth.” The cookies taste great but could have a better complexion.

Remy’s green tea macaroons with green tea matcha buttercream and strawberry coulis look very smooth but some of them have lost their footing. They should have been in the oven for another minute and a half,  but the filling is done well and Christina says they taste “incredibly delicious … it’s unique flavor, it’s unique in approach. … I’m impressed. Nice job.”

Before Joe judges Oliva’s cookies he tells her he admires how she bounced after struggling during the challenge. Her raspberry macarons with raspberry coulis and lemon zest buttercream have very nice color, but they have a rough surface with points. When Joe bites into one there is a nice crunch and he says, “I tell you what, your coulis is nice and tart, not too sweet. Cream is rich, but complex. They are very subtle, they have a couple issues in their aesthetic. But I like it. A lot of finesse, Olivia. Really good young lady.”

Sadly, Evan is sent home first. 😦  Christina says, “Evan, you’ve been an incredible example to everyone in this kitchen. You continue to push yourself and raise the bar.” Gordon adds, “Evan, there’s something inside you that really connects beautifully with food and you can’t buy that. I hope you continue cooking. You’ve been amazing.” 😊
11 year old Evan from San Diego says “I’m really sad that I’m going home but I will never forget this experience. You know what they say in Costa Rica? “Pura vida” that’s means “good life.” I had a great life in the MasterChef JR Kitchen!”

And the sister going to the semi-finals is Remy, that means Olivia is going home. Christina says, “Olivia, you’ve been incredible.” And Joe says, “The greatest thing I saw tonight, quite frankly wasn’t a macaron. Olivia, your comeback in that moment showed incredible strength of character. And if we could give the prize for courage and tenacity, Olivia you won that hands down.” 😊 Olivia says “I am really proud of myself because I think I grew as a chef and as a person. I learned about working together as a team. I learned about leadership, and I’ve learned about never giving up. I think MasterChef is all about mastering cooking, but I think it’s also about mastering your whole entire life. I’m sad to be leaving this competition, but I’m also sad to be leaving my sister. We’re best friends, we share a bedroom with each other. We share clothes with each other. We share bows with each other. I love her so much, so I really want Remy to win for New York and for me.”

I liked this episode a lot because I got to see some of my fav chefs again, like Nathan, Logan and the one-and-only Shayne “The Train!” But I was also sad to see Evan go, and felt like his leaving was a bit overshadowed by the separating sisters drama. I wish he was given a more proper goodbye. I want to say Evan is my favorite home cook this season. I cried a bit when he left, and no matter what he is a winner in my heart. He is such an amazing chef and friend. Evan inspires me with his cooking, but also with the caring he shows by cooking food for refugees from Africa and helping to build a school in Peru. He does lots of charity events which shows he puts others before himself. Evan says it is very important to help others and he will always be there if you need a friend. MasterChef JR contestant, Lindsay [@zesty.chef.lindsay] Instagram post said that Evan was the most selfless kid on the show. And that is what I am giving him my

MasterChef Amazing Human Being Award!

I hope Evan keeps cooking. I know he will be a great chef one day. Check out all the great things he is up to at   🙂


MasterChef Jr 06×11


The “A Can Do Attitude” Episode starts with the top 9 kid home cooks lifting their Mystery Boxes to find unlabeled canned foods. Another mystery! To find out what they have to work with they will have to open them up and have a taste of what is inside.

They will have 60 minutes to make a MasterChef Kitchen worthy meal using at least one of the canned foods at their station. The judges will select three dishes to judge and the winner of that will receive one massive advantage.


During the cook time Mikey says he is making Mexican Shrimp Tacos to prove he can make more than Italian food. Cade is making a Salmon Cake, one of his favorite seafood dishes. Joe makes him taste a canned sardine, and Cade doesn’t seem to like it! Evan is making raviolis again to honor his Italian heritage and show that he can make the perfect ravioli. 😊

Time is up! Hands in the air!!!

The first best dish belongs to 11 year old Quani. He made Vanilla Bean Cupcake with Peach Cherry Buttercream Frosting. Gordon says they look stunning. The sponge is delicious, fragrant and sweet. Christina loves the ratio of cupcake and frosting and the way he injected the caramelized pineapple. “If we sold cupcakes at Milk Bar, I would absolutely put them in our display case!

The next best dish belongs to 11 year old Evan. He made Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Ravioli with Black Truffle Cream Sauce. Joe says the pasta is rolled perfectly and it looks so authentic that it makes him homesick for Italy. Joe loves the complex taste. Gordon likes how Evan came back stronger with these raviolis. “I’m blown away. Good job.”

And the last best dish belongs to 8 year old Avery. She made Pineapple Upside-down Cake with Lychee and Coconut. It looks beautiful, but Christina asks why it is served right-side up. When she cuts into the cake she is impressed. “I can see some of the tunneling … it’s airy, it’s light, it’s fluffy.” She says the coconut milk sponge “is to die for!” And the sauce pushes it over the edge of yummy.

The winner of the Canned Food Mystery Box is … AVERY! Up to the balcony!

The remaining 8 kids will make a dish highlighting Chocolate. Two kids will go home, but the winner will receive the first ever MasterChef Golden Apron which will ensure their place in the MasterChef Junior Semi-finals! Avery can choose safety on the balcony or compete in the Elimination Challenge and go for the Golden Apron. She says, “ Well, I don’t work with chocolate a lot and my motto is basically, better safe than sorry, so I’m going to stay up here.”

During the one hour cook time Oliva overcooks her beef and she has to start all over again! Her second attempt is much better than her first. Cade runs out of time and not able to fill his pastry. So many of the kids worked done to the wire.

9 year old Beni made Cocoa Rubbed Filet Mignon with Parsnip Purée, Crispy Parsnips and Chocolate Port Sauce. Gordon says that it looks like a piece of art. She nailed the cook on the beef and it has an great taste. Christina says she did great on the parsnip chips and she just may get the Golden Apron.

10 year old Anthony made Cream Puffs with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Melted Dark Chocolate. They look really good, but sadly they filling is the wrong consistency. Joe says the pastry is nice and although it tastes good, it is not a cream puff because of the filling

10 year old Mikey made Chocolate-Hazelnut Cheesecake with Chocolate-Nutella Sauce and Toasted Hazelnuts. He baked it wonderfully with a creamy filling, cocoa nibs for texture and the hazelnut meal running up the side. Christina says, “It’s divine. It’s arguably the best dessert I’ve had in this competition to date.” She wants Mikey to ditch school and come hang out at Milk Bar with her. 🙂

10 year old Oliva made Cocoa Rubbed Steak with Yogurt Coleslaw, Red Quinoa and Chipotle-Chocolate Sauce. She got she cook right on the New York Strip and the quinoa is fragrant, but Gordon says he wouldn’t serve coleslaw with this dish.

11 year old Evan made German Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Filing and Pecan- Coconut Frosting. The filling is very tasty but unfortunately Joe thinks the cake is a bit dry, the pecans are waxy and the coconut tastes raw. ☹



12 year old Remy made Coco Braised Short Ribs with Spinach-Parmesan Pinwheels and Sweet Potato-Nutmeg Purée. Christina is not happy with the meat. It is tough, not tender and she cannot taste the chocolate at all. The other elements are good, but the star of the dish is not shining.

11 year old Quani made Chocolate Flourless Cake with White Chocolate Ganache, Raspberry Coulis and Almond Brittle. Gordon says, “Temperature-wise you’ve absolutely nailed it. It’s really gooey and unctuous and rich in the middle, delicious.” Gordon says he has proved he can bake with his eyes closed, now he has to show them he can cook meat and fish as well.

11 year old Cade made Deconstructed Beignets with Chocolate Cream Filling and Raspberry Coulis. His time crunch shows on the plate. The beignet is not light and fluffy. Joe asks him to taste the dish and Cade admits it does not taste right.

And the Golden Apron and place in the Semi-finals goes to … MIKEY!!! He is so happy and runs up to the balcony. Quani, Oliva and Beni are also safe.

Gordon says the decisions get harder and harder. The last 2 saved are Remy and Evan. That means Anthony and Cade are going home☹ When Gordon sends Remy and Evan up to the balcony, Evan gives Anthony and Cade a hug and says “I’m going to miss you guys. You guys are amazing. I love you guys.” What a great friend and a great sport.
Gordon says, “Anthony, Cade, you are talented. You’ve been a joy to work with. Tonight you tried to pull off something super technical that most pastry chefs spend 90 minutes to two hours to get it right. And unfortunately tonight, it didn’t work. Promise me you are going to continue cooking. Safe trip home. Keep those aprons and wear them with pride!”

When Cade and Anthony are leaving the kitchen most of the kids are cheering for them. “Bye, guys!” “Good job, guys!” “Keep your head up high!” “Never stop cooking!” But Mikey is holding onto the balcony rail fighting back tears. Even though he just won the Golden Apron he had to watch his best friend Cade go home. 😊☹ Like Evan said on my Instagram post @maxpanke, “It’s such a rollercoaster of emotions.”

10 year old Anthony from Old Bridge, NJ says, “ I had a lot of fun in the MasterChef kitchen. And now I’m going back to Jersey, feeling very accomplished and I’m going to keep my head up, and I’m going to keep on cooking.”

11 year old Cade from Hattiesburg, MS says “I loved this journey so much. It has been the greatest experience of my whole entire life. I mean, I cooked for Gordon Ramsey, Christina Tosi and Joe Bastianich. The biggest thing I’m going to take away from this is to always try your best even if you think you can’t do it, because you can do anything.”


MasterChef Jr 06×10


The “Cracking Under Pressure” Episode starts with the top 12 home cooks running into the MasterChef Kitchen to find a giant golden egg! Christina puts out a dozen eggs and asks the home cooks to come up and select an egg. This is when they learn their will be three teams of four. To find out if they are on the Red Team, the Blue Team, or the Green Team they have to smash the color filled egg on their head to find out what team they are on. The Red Team is Mikey, Henry, Anthony & Olivia. The Green Team is Sammy, Avery, Ariana & Evan. And the Red team is Remy, Quani, Beni & Cade.

The teams will be working together to make as many perfect Eggs Benedict as they can in fifteen minutes. Eggs Benedict is one of Gordon’s favorites and something I have always wanted to try. “An amazing toasted muffin, crispy ham, immaculate Hollandaise sauce, hand-chopped chives and of course, a beautifully poached egg.” Joe says that the at the end of this challenge somebody is going to be covered with egg, and it is not going to be him!

In the end the Red Team that had problems throughout the challenge and only got 5 Eggs Benedict right. The Green Team got 8 and the Blue Team wins with 9 perfect Eggs Benedict. They are safe in in the top 10 and get to crack a huge egg over the other kids!!!! Yuck.

For the next challenge the 8 remaining kids have to make Joe’s favorite Egg Yolk Ravioli. “To get this right your pasta must be paper thin. The egg yolk has to be placed so delicately into a little nest of the most perfect soft ricotta then sealed to perfection and then poached lightly so the pasta gets cooked, but the yolk remains runny.” They will not know how the yolk is cooked until the judge cuts into it! :O

During the 30 minute cook time Henry is falling behind with his pasta and is starting to get very upset. ☹ Christina tries to help him reroll his dough and Joes tells him to calm down and remember that he is a good cook. Then Joe tells Gordon, “Henry is angry, he’s cooking angry, he can’t really control his emotions.” Henry is able to calm down and get everything on the plate.

Olivia’s Egg Yolk Ravioli looks good and the yolk runs out nicely. Joes says everything is cooked well, 5 stars. It is as good as any Joe has ever had.

Henry’s Egg Yolk Ravioli is missing butter and the pasta looks a little ragged. Gordon cuts in to find too much cheese but the egg yolk is cooked perfectly. Unfortunately the ricotta is too bland.

Anthony’s Egg Yolk Ravioli looks like it was fried in the butter sauce too long. And when Christina cuts into it she finds the yolk is overcooked. The pasta is thin and sealed nicely but this may not be enough to make it to the top ten.

Avery’s Egg Yolk Ravioli looks good, there is just the right amount of cheese and the yolk is runny. Joe says, “You’re crowned culinary royalty with a perfect ravioli.”

Evan’s Egg Yolk Ravioli has a nice shape and looks very good. When Gordon cuts into it the yolk is runny. Gordon says, “The ravioli is cooked beautifully, the brown butter is delicious, egg cooked beautifully, pasta a slight too thick. It’s a good ravioli, but I know you can do better.”

Mikey’s Egg Yolk Ravioli’s egg yolk center is perfection. Christina says the seasoning is on point and it’s on the top of her list flavor wise. “A tad too much ricotta, but everything else for me is spot on.

Ariana’s Egg Yolk Ravioli’s egg yolk is nice and runny but it has too much cheese. The pasta is too thick and a bit undercooked. It is too hard and chewy.

Sammy’s Egg Yolk Ravioli looks odd. Gordon says it looks like a pirogue or pie or turnover. When he cuts into it, it is tough and undercooked. The egg yolk was cooked well, but the ravioli just didn’t work.

Olivia and Avery made the two best Egg Yolk Ravioli and make it to the top ten. Next, Mikey and Evan are sent to the balcony for their very good raviolis.

Anthony, Henry, Sammy and Ariana are in the bottom 4. And then Gordon blows everyone away when he says that tonight 3 chefs will go home. 😮 The last remaining chef is … Anthony.

That means Ariana, Henry and Sammy are going home. Joe says, “Henry, Ariana and Sammy, you guys should be incredibly proud of what you have achieved. I consider it a great privilege to see young people like you, not only cooking, but the comradery of the kitchen, the way you are respectful of ingredients, the maturity at which you behave and comport yourself at. Aside from being excellent cooks you are incredible human beings and I consider it an honor and privilege to have spent this time with you.”

All the kids are cheering for them from the balcony as they are walking out. “We love you!” “Never stop cooking guys!” “We’ll miss you!”

Twelve year old Sammy from Huntington Woods, MI says, “Even though I didn’t win, I won a Mystery Box, that’s been a dream of mine since Season . This is the best thing that happened to me in my life, if a could I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Twelve year old Ariana from Excelsior, MN says, “I’ve grown so much since I got here. I’ve got to be mentored by the best restauranteur in the world and the 2 best chefs in the world. I mean it’s crazy! I couldn’t have dreamed of this. As soon as I get back to Minnesota I’m going to start planning out my restaurant.”

And nine year old Henry from Katy, TX says, “I am pretty proud of myself that I actually made it to the top 12 kids, in America and that is just, like, a huge accomplishment for me. I’m not the best with pasta, but I want to challenge Gordon Ramsay to go to Texas and try to beat me in cooking brisket, and let’s see who wins.”