MasterChef Junior: Chicken Challenge

Hooray new content!  I’ve written before about how MasterChef Junior is an amazing show, and I’m so excited to recap season two for you!  These kids are crazy talented.  Like, I’m 25, and I cooked my first steak last Sunday!  I cry every single episode, so I’m also going to keep a cry-count this season.  MasterChef Junior is on Fox Tuesdays at 8 PM.  My recaps will be up on Fridays, because that’s where there’s space right now.  Let’s get on to the show, shall we?!

 

Sixteen young home cooks, aged 8 – 13, arrive in the MasterChef kitchen ready for Gordon, Graham, and Joe to judge their culinary skills.  Special guest and winner of the first season of MasterChef Junior, Alexander, arrives to kick things off.  (I cry already here.)  Alexander announces the first Mystery Box Challenge:

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The mystery box includes: pork chops, pork tenderloins, granny smith apples, hazelnuts, brussel sprouts, filo dough, fingerling potatoes, artichokes, whole grain mustard, and wild rice.

Alexander selected these ingredients, and prepared some dishes for inspiration– 13, to be precise, because, as he notes, he was 13 when he won the competition.  The kids get to work!

At one point, Coco cries because the mashed potatoes she’s preparing are too salty.  Gordon is not his typical TV persona in MCJ, and comes over to tearful Coco asking what’s the matter.  He tastes her potatoes, which needed a good mix and are not too salty at all, and cheers her up talking about his own three daughters.  I cry again because he’s just so sweet.

Joe, Graham, and Gordon select the three to taste.  They pick 12-year-old Natalie’s dish (left), 12-year-old Mitchell’s dish (center), and 9-year-old Oona’s dish (right).

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Natalie wins the first mystery box challenge!  She wins immunity from the elimination test challenge, and control in the pantry where the judges present her with options for the rest of the kids to cook.  Joe comes out holding a chicken, Graham with a duck, and Gordon, bravely, with a turkey.  Natalie is to select the bird featured in the elimination challenge.

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She heads up to the balcony and lets the others walk into a pantry full of live chickens.  As the kids run around to catch what they’re about to cook, 10-year-old
“city boy” Josh laments, “I’m from New York; I can’t do this!”  Luckily, MCJ literally made kids catch chickens for fun and no one butchered their new chicken buddies.

Here’s some of the stuff that was made:

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  • Top left: Oona’s chicken liver paté is sophisticated & impressive
  • Top center: 9-year-old Isabella’s chicken parm is undercooked*
  • Top right: Joe hands Sean, 9, a crisp 20-dollar-bill when he sees this dish
  • Middle left: Coco, 10, cooks unevenly
  • Center: Adorable Oona wearing Graham’s glasses, just because
  • Middle right: 11-year-old Berry’s boiled chicken is met with skepticism
  • Bottom left: 10-year-old Nasir overcooks and over-spices
  • Bottom center: Abby, 8, is the youngest in the competition and holds her own!
  • Bottom right: 12-year-old Samuel’s technically accomplished dish earned him high praise

* Isabella cries after serving Gordon raw chicken, and every single kid in the kitchen comes to her to comfort her.  I cry again.  This is the different between kid contestants and adult contestants, folks.

Sean, Oona, and Samuel are called out for having the top dishes.

Isabella, Coco, Berry, and Nasir go home.  Every time kids go home, I cry, which brings this episode’s total up to 4 times.

It promises to be an amazing season, with Oona distinguishing herself as my early favorite!  If you don’t watch this show, start now.

Who’s excited to see them bake next week?!

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