MasterChef Junior: Salmon School

This week was the very exciting semi-final of MasterChef Junior!  My prediction last week were that Logan was going all the way, and I hoped to see Adaiah there in the final with him.  How’d I do with my psychic skills?  Well, let’s review the semi-final.

The first challenge this week for the advantage in the elimination test was a big one… literally.  The kids had to fillet whole Alaskan King Salmon.  As someone who has never filleted a fish, this is intimidating to me.  As someone who’s watched more cooking competition shows than most of the world’s population, I know this is intimidating to real chefs as well.  The salmon was near the size of 8-year-old Abby!  Logan has filleted fish before and got a lesson from Graham on keeping it zen last week, so he’s okay going into the challenge.  He, like most contestants, struggles, though.

Abby has trouble even getting her knife through the fish, and her pieces are hacked and uneven.  She’s 8; give her a break.  Logan’s left too much on the bone, but Gordon tells him to focus on making what he has work, which he does.  Samuel’s fillets have too much fish to them– like, the top and bottom parts of the fish are still on his pieces.  That’s not right.  Adaiah aced Salmon School and wins the advantage for the elimination test!

Adaiah’s advantage is to choose the refrigerator out of which each contestant will find ingredients to pair with their finest salmon fillet.  The refrigerators in question all have different ingredients, and different amounts of ingredients.  Adaiah checks them out and assigns:

  • Abby gets the fridge with 100 ingredients in it
  • Adaiah assigns herself the fridge with 50 ingredients inside
  • Samuel gets the fridge containing 25 ingredients
  • Logan gets the fridge with only 5 ingredients inside

Here’s what they make:

Clockwise: Logan, Abby, Samuel, Adaiah

Clockwise: Logan, Abby, Samuel, Adaiah

Logan’s bold move of making confit salmon pays off.  Gordon says it’s Michelin Star level, when he hasn’t even got a Michelin tire yet!  Though his broccoli rabe is basically raw, the amazing salmon impresses all.

Abby’s salmon is dry and a bit overcooked.  Gordon asks if the 100 items confused her, which she admits she was a little.  What are you going to grow up to be?  Joe asks her.  “A good chef,” she responds.

Samuel’s salmon is a bit overcooked on the skin, but the fish itself is cooked well.  Gordon jokes that the portion size is suitable for his daughter’s cat.

Adaiah’s salmon is perfectly cooked, but her garlic is burnt and overpowers the dish a bit.

So, who is headed to the MasterChef Junior Finale?

First announced is 11-year-old Logan from Tennessee!  I’m psyched, because he is my favorite in the competition at this point.  I’ll definitely be cheering him on!  Samuel will join him in the finale, sending the two remaining girls home.  Like Adaiah, I’d have loved to see a girl win this time around, but that’s not going to be the case.

Who are you cheering for in the MasterChef Junior finale next week?

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