MasterChef Junior: Devil’s in the Details

Happy Monday, folks!  Now that post-holiday TV schedules are normalizing, so should the blog… err, kinda.  With two new MasterChef Junior episodes last week, you’ll get one recap now and another later this week!  Before the new episode, of course.

The first new episode, “Hatching a Plan,” featured Graham Elliot in a chicken costume to highlight the challenge ingredient: eggs!  It’s a deviled egg challenge, and deviled eggs are one of my absolute favorite things.  Only four of the top 10 get to play, though, and they determine who that is by cracking the eggs in Graham’s basket over his head– two eggs are red (Zac & Kamilly) and two are blue (Kya & Amaya) and their recipients make up the competing teams.

There’s a third team, though, a yellow team of Gordon and Graham.  All teams must make as many deviled eggs as possible.  Gordon and Graham, in their tiny aprons, get half the amount of time as the junior home cooks, though.  If they win, all the cooks must compete in the elimination.  Christina judges and Yellow only gets three perfect eggs!  The winners are Zac & Kamilly with ten, thus they get to sit the challenge out and await the top 8.

The elimination challenge is introduced by Graham, who talks about his first ever cookbook.  The kids have been asked to prepare their cookbooks as well.


Kya, you little achiever… you are the cutest thing!

The challenge is to cook their signature dish from their future cookbooks.  Here’s what the kids create:


  • Avery’s étouffée blows the judges away.  She herself is surprised how much it tastes like her dad’s.
  • Kya is a mad genius.  She is firmly of the mindset that French cuisine is the finest in the world and prepares an expert canard a l’orange as proof.
  • Kaitlyn’s black forest cupcake just doesn’t hold a candle to the scale of her competitors’ dishes.
  • Amaya’s shrimp asopao delivers amazing depths of flavor and impresses the judges!
  • JJ’s fettuccine goes over well, but the judges wonder if it’s really him on a plate.
  • Sam’s bacon-wrapped chicken delivers as the young Boston home cook on a plate!
  • Addison over-whipped her first whip cream and, seemingly, under-whipped her second.  Her danish was visually underwhelming.
  • Corey’s jerk chicken looked so good, but it was shockingly raw inside.

Avery & Amaya were at the top of the pack for this challenge!

Kaitlyn, Addison, and Corey found themselves ranking in the bottom.  Addison is typically so impressive, so I’m glad that she got another chance.  Sadly, Kaitlyn and Corey went home.

Stay tuned for the next episode recap later this week!

Belated Birthday in Beacon Hill

At this point, my birthday was over a week ago… 10 days to be exact!  On the day itself, I celebrated by going to dinner with my family.  This weekend, my friend’s threw me a little birthday brunch to ring in my next year.  It snowed heavily in Boston on Saturday morning, and by the time we left the streets were slick with slush.  Still, I shuffled through Beacon Hill with a belly full of brunch, bag full of gifts, and heart full of thanks. Here’s my belated birthday recap! IMG_6919 [1] My brother got me a record player for my birthday! [2] He got my Taylor Swift’s 1989 as my first record. This is also the year I was born!  [3] My friend Julia got me this adorable iphone case featuring a dachshund drinking Starbucks and a nautical monogram wine tumbler! [4] My dear friend Stacie sent me these adorable dachshund magnets!  Are you sensing a theme? [5] My first selfie of age 26.  Eep. [6] Beacon Hill Bistro where I dined with my sweet friends Carissa, Kelsey, Chelsea, Sarah, and Elaina. [7] Poached eggs with hollandaise is my absolute favorite! [8] Carissa made me a cross-stitch Piplup! [9] Kelsey bought me these awesome Edward Gorey Tarot cards while we browsed the paper shops on Charles St.  My friends just get me. A sincere thank you to everyone who made me feel so special as I entered the latter half of my twenties.  It was a wonderful birthday and I sure hope that sets the precedent for the year!  And happy birthday to my fellow Capricorns!

MasterChef Junior: Sunny Side Up

And we’re back!  Hope you all had lovely Thanksgivings!  You might be super full from yesterday, or you might be craving those leftovers in the fridge… either way, I hope you’re ready talk about this week’s MasterChef Junior!

The fist challenge of the episode played a bigger role in the elimination challenge than usual.  This challenge was all about something I never tire of, sunny side up eggs!  Now, I do count myself a sunny side expert, but I have a couple of tricks that I don’t think would’ve gone down in the MasterChef kitchen.  These kids had to cook as many perfect sunny side up eggs as they could according to Gordon, Joe, and Graham’s standards of perfection.

  • Abby only got 2 eggs perfect
  • Oona and Adaiah made 4 perfect eggs each
  • Levi and Josh both made 5
  • Logan cooked 7 perfect eggs
  • Samuel cooked 8 perfect eggs
  • Sean cooked 10, the highest amount of perfect eggs out there!

It wasn’t a traditional win, though.  The elimination challenge then became to cook their signature dishes.  The number of eggs then equaled the number of ingredients they could use.  Abby remains pretty calm, despite having only two ingredients to work with.  Gordon gives her a hug for luck.

Graham spoke of himself at age 23 and how he met and was inspired by Gordon Ramsay.  Precious!  The three judges went around to each work station and talked to the kids about their future restaurants.  8-year-old Abby’s veterinary clinic/restaurant Horses and Courses is one of unique concepts put forth, but points for that name though, girl.  I love how Logan seems to giggle at her concept like it’s ridiculous, then says his restaurant will be underwater.  I couldn’t love anything about that more, actually.

Here’s what these brilliant little chefs come up with for signature dishes:


  • Making the most of her 2 ingredients, Abby prepares a perfectly cooked salmon and asparagus 5 ways.  Gordon says he will have a “fluorescent time in the bathroom later” from eating all this asparagus and I still haven’t recovered from laughing at this.
  • For Sean, the steak is overcooked, more of a medium.  The sauce gets high praise, though.
  • Levi’s salmon is definitely overcooked without a hint of translucence.
  • Adaiah is praised for her smart ingredient choices and nice dish.
  • Oona’s dish looks beautiful, but her scallops add to the list over overcooked proteins.  Watching her hang her head in disappointment and tear up made me tear up too!  I cannot stand to see this cutie cry again.
  • Logan’s rice is overcooked and missing salt.  He too starts to cry and I lose it all over again, but Gordon gives him a hug and says his steak is perfectly cooked.  Actually, he calls it amazing.
  • Josh’s duck is a little overcooked.
  • Samuel accidentally grabbed a cucumber instead of a zucchini, but modified his dish to work with it– and work it did!  Gordon gives it four mmm’s!

Abby is called out for the top after making her 2 ingredients work so hard.  Samuel’s dish wins the night, though!

There were lots of protein problems in this week’s challenge and Josh, Levi, Oona, and Sean come up to face the judges.  Fortunately for this Oona fan, she and Sean end up safe.  I was kind of expecting this to happen, for some reason.  Sadly, Josh and Levi head home.


So guys, I’m still Team Oona and Team Logan over here, but I think Sean’s going to take this one.  Any predictions?!

Hell’s Kitchen Recap: 16 Chefs Compete

“As chefs, we’re constantly required to use our minds 24/7,”

Uhh, Chef Ramsay, I’m pretty sure you mean as human beings… Regardless of this sentence bothering me grammatically and logistically, this is how Gordon introduces the memory/creativity challenge.  Our chefs are greeted by 58 silver domes, where 24 pairs of ingidients wait to be discovered in a giant game of memory.  The chefs work in pairs to match ingredients for four proteins: chiekn, ahi tuna, swordfish, and pork chop.  A match means they must use the ingredient, so it could be a double-edged sword.  Both teams run into this– the women end up with both brown rice and bastami rice, and the men end up with three kinds of potatoes!  Once the ingredients are assigned to proteins, the same pairs cook together.  Red and Blue go head to head on…

  • chicken, and both teams win the point
  • pork chop, and the men take the point
  • tuna, and the ladies take the point
  • swordfish where the women use both rices, but the men make a bigger mistake and lose!

The men have put hollandaise on the swordfish which Ramsay treats as a sin.  Although I can totally understand how this does not work, I am over-the-moon about hollandaise and would probably happily eat it on anything.

As punishment, the men have to harvest honey and pull honey taffy.

As a reward, the women enjoy a day at Laguna Beach!

The next day, Chef Ramsay wakes the teams up to a surprise wedding taking place in Hell’s Kitchen.  The elimination challenge has the chefs cooking wedding brunch including Belgian waffles, lobster scrambled eggs, and what the announcer calls a croque monsieur, but is actually a croque madame– the egg makes it a madame!

IMG_0447Remember Julia, the Waffle House contestant from seasons past?  This challenge reminded me of that breakfast service that let her shine.  Ramsay sent her to culinary school which, after winning, is the best of results from a show like this.

This service did not go as well as Julia’s season’s breakfast service.  Though the fruit salad appetizer goes out easily, exploding and undercooked eggs hinder progress.  Eventually, the teams find a rhythm and it’s a race to finish their respective sides of the dining room.  Both get down to the very last ticket, but the ladies clench the victory!  This means the men must my nominations for elimination.  Ralph, red-faced and Boston-accented to a fault, makes an argument for Demarco and Gabriel.

At elimination, Chef Ramsay adds Richard to the mix, calling him out on his performance.  Even though Richard and Gabriel lost the challenge for the Blue Team, as iterated by Chef Ramsay, there’s no doubt that Demarco is the obvious choice to go.  He’s been nominated for elimination every single week, and Ramsay stayed true to his word: this was Demarco’s last chance.