MasterChef Junior: 19 New Kids

It’s a brand new season and a brand new batch of talented cooking kids!  And wow, there are a lot of them this time around.  Nineteen hopefuls enter the kitchen in hopes of impressing Gordon, Graham, and Joe, and taking home the trophy and the title of MasterChef Junior.

The winner also takes home a check for $100,000.00!  Young Alexis wants this money for college.  “I really want to get into a good college,” says the 8-year-old, “maybe, like in Hawaii.  Maybe Disney Land.”  I’m dying already.

After foraging around in the pantry to dig out their white aprons, the young home cooks are poised for their first Mystery Box Challenge!

This Mystery Box features salmon, mango, broccolini, corn, ginger, soy sauce, coconut milk, puff pastry, and tomatillos.

This Mystery Box features salmon, mango, broccolini, corn, ginger, soy sauce, coconut milk, puff pastry, and tomatillos.

There is one slight set back during the cooking for 11-year-old Kayla.  She calls for the medic having deeply cut her hand only to realize she’s cut not one, but two fingers.  She gets nervous upon seeing the blood, but Gordon calms her down and she continues cooking.  Her perseverance pays off when it comes to the top three dishes.

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12-year-old Jenna’s coconut rice pudding, 12-year-old Jack’s broiled salmon, and Kayla’s mango turnovers earn high marks from Graham, Gordon, and Joe.  The three top dishes are too close to call, and all three win a trip to the pantry and control of the Elimination Challenge.

In the pantry, the judges show three pasta dishes to Jenna, Jack, and Kayla.  The three winners don’t have to cook tonight and will pick what the rest of the kids do.  With the choice between ravioli, lasagna, and pappardelle, (which I didn’t know how to spell because I was born and raised in Massachusetts and we don’t have R’s here,) the kids consensus is pappardelle!

While some kids have never made pasta before, others aren’t worried.  10-year-old AJ notes, “I’m Italian; I make pasta,” like one qualifies the other.  (As an Italian, I agree with her.)

Here’s what the kids comes up with:

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  • Joe notes that Andrew’s tastes like it’s made by someone who knows what pasta is supposed to taste like and has the skills to render.
  • “This looks great,” says Graham of Riley’s dish.  “It is great,” responds the 8-year-old.
  • AJ’s pasta is uneven and her blend of Italian and Mexican oregano leads Joe to say that too much fusion leads to confusion.
  • Jimmy’s dish gets high praise for the sausage and the texture of the pasta.
  • Jianna achieves uneven pasta and although her sauce is good, there isn’t enough of it.
  • Quincy’s pasta is way overcooked.
  • Parker, who got flustered in the kitchen (to the point where Kayla, watching from the balcony says she can’t watch), ends up with a dish lacking sauce.
  • Philly’s dish lacks salt.
  • Ryan Kate’s beautifully cooked pasta impressed, as does her chiffonade for the basil!

Jimmy, Ryan Kate, and Andrew are declared the winners of the challenge!

It’s always hard to see kids go, and the first group going home is a large one: Philly, Jiana, Quincy, AJ, and Parker.  There are tears from the kids and from me as they leave the kitchen to the now group of 12.

I’m so excited this show is back on!  Any early favorites?

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