seafood

MasterChef Junior: The Moon & The Sea

This title is not only relevant to the episode, but also my main interests in life… on to MasterChef Junior!

The Mystery Box comes with one big mystery box containing the judges in space suits.  Astronaut Tracy Dyson guests and impresses the heck out of both the children and me.  Since, as Tracy says, real astronauts know that the moon is made of cheese, the kids pull open their Mystery Boxes to see a bunch of different cheeses.  Their task is to make an out of this world cheese dish.  (Thank you, MCJ; so much better than marshmallows!)

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Addison, Kaitlyn, and JJ have the top dishes.

Kaitlyn wins!  Before her advantages are announced, the judges take it back to earth for the elimination test– they wheel out a bunch of fish.  To tie to moon to the sea, Graham shows the kids how to filet a fish using the GIANT moon fish.

Kaitlyn doesn’t have to cook and also gets to pick a peer to go through to the next round with her.  She chooses Addison.  Kaitlyn also gets to act as fish monger, tossing the chosen fishes to the kids about to cook.

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L to R, T to B: Avery, Jaeclyn, Derek, Vivian, Kya, Kyndall, Nate, Ian

Avery is so spunky.  Her decision making process for this dish seemed to be “my daddy likes it,” and that was just too cute.  Jaecelyn didn’t taste her fish because she doesn’t like it.  Derek is praised for having the best palate in the MCJ kitchen.  Vivian’s sauce doesn’t go with fish.  Kya is the cutest thing and my current favorite.  Kyndall’s veggies are uncooked.  Nate impresses with Asian flavors despite the fact that he’s “not really Asian.”  Too cute.  Ian’s dish goes well despite not needing the potatoes, but MAN this kid makes me nervous in the kitchen.  I’m not sure about his skills.

Nate is the winner!

Jaeclyn, Vivian, and Kyndall are called out for bottom dishes.  Jaeclyn is sent back to cook another day.  Vivian and Kyndall go home.

We’ve still got 18 kids in the kitchen and some still have a way to go to distinguish themselves.  Anyone sticking out in the pack to you?  I’m loving Kya and Sam!

MasterChef Junior: Aww Shucks!

Last week’s MasterChef Junior started with a challenge between Addison, Sam, and Jesse– the best dishes from the previous week.  Before them, 60 cupcakes.  Their task: to frost as many as possible.  In true, fun MasterChef Junior fashion, giant icing bags sit perched over the heads of the judges.

Addison frosts vanilla cupcakes to save Gordon from the vanilla frosting; Sam frosts chocolate cupcakes to save Graham from chocolate frosting; Jesse frosts pink cupcakes to save Christina from strawberry frosting.  The best part is there’s an adorable guest judge!  It’s my favorite MasterChef Junior title holder, Logan!

  • Logan counts up their perfectly frosted cupcakes.  Addison only has 10, thus Gordon is frosted first.
  • With 11, Jesse didn’t do much better.  I feel like frosting Christina is her true welcome to MasterChef Junior: this is a different show, Christina!
  • Sam gets 29 and saves Graham.  It’s worth mentioning, if Gordon were saved, the frosting still would’ve poured… either Gordon Ramsay is a really good sport or someone has decided it’s more enjoyable to watch him take all the punishment.  Still, the kids yell out frosting fight! so Graham can get a little messy.  Logan carts out buckets of sprinkles to complete the picture.

After a quick-change, it’s on to the main challenge.  Gordon demonstrates how to shuck live scallops.  Do these kids even know how lucky they are?  I’d like to try my hand at shucking one of these now.  The kids must shuck their own scallops and make a dish with them as the star ingredient.

Someone commented last week that the skill level of this crop of kids seems lower than previous seasons.  I agree on the two eliminated last week, and I agree on one account still in the MCJ kitchen.  “Ian is really feeling the pressure,” says Christina and Ian literally balls his eyes out in the kitchen.  I know this isn’t fair for me to say because he’s 8-years-old, and I’d probably be crying too with near 20 years on him.  Kind soul Gordon comes and shucks the scallops for him.  He also shucks Annabelle’s who, in contrast, calmly mentions that she’s having a tough time opening them.  She’s tested later after burning her initial haul and apparently shucks and cooks new ones in <5 minutes.

Here’s what we see the kids produce:

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L to R, T to B: Tae-Ho, Nate, Chad, Ian, Vivian, Derek, Kamilly, Amaya, Annabelle

Tae-Ho is announced the clear winner!

The four bottom dishes are called up to the front: Chad, Vivian, Kamilly, and Annabelle.  Kamilly and Annabelle are asked to step forward, then are announced safe.  Poor Chad and already crying Annabelle get sent home.  Chad really breaks my heart– he said something like, “I’m only 9-years-old, but I’m really creative,” while he cooked.  He inspired me to go eat a meatball (thanks to Nonna’s visit) while I watched.  I just feel like both of these kids had more finesse than a certain someone… but it’s in the taste!

I always cry watching this show!

And I always can’t wait for more!

HK14: 17 Chefs Get Crabby

The Red Team is down a member after losing the first dinner service.  It’s a new day in Hell’s Kitchen and the chefs are woken up to the sounds of 17 alarm clocks all going off at once.

James and Andi tell them to pack a bag, because the challenge is taking place outside of HK and they may not be coming back. They arrive on a beach where Meghan laments that she’s not a fan of water or boats.  I’m personally not a fan of anyone who doesn’t like these things.

Gordon explains part one of their challenge.  Teams are to mount their dinghies and paddle out to several buoys in the water.  Each buoy holds a crab track below; some are filled with crab and some not.  The first team to collect 20 crabs wins an advantage in the second part of the challenge.  The Blue Team is better at paddling and luckier at finding crabs, so they win.

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In the second part of the challenge, the teams must work in pairs create 10 perfect dishes of 3 Dungeness  crab cakes.  The Blue team gets a 30 second head start as their advantage.  Unfortunately for them, that’s not enough to beat the ladies who win the challenge!  Their prize is a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona for some horseback riding and a sunset dinner.  The men’s punishment is to prep all kinds of seafood for the next service.

The seafood dinner service has a couple chefs serving a shrimp scampi appetizer table-side– Sarah for the Red team, and Adam for the Blue.

The kitchen is where all the action is, though.  In the Red kitchen, Mieka on garnish is causing lots of problems and holding back service.  Things are even worse on the Blue side, though.  Cameron puts up completely raw scallops for his first plate of the night, and never recovers.  The fish station is a mess all night and Cameron and Brendan are made to eat their mistakes.  The big blow out comes when Michael tries to (surprise!) bring up scallops which results in he, Cameron, and Brendan getting kicked out of the kitchen.  The rest of the team is soon to follow, though.

Despite Mieka’s difficulties, Red is able to finish dinner service! They obviously win the night.

Blue puts up Michael and Cameron for elimination.  It did seem like Michael came out of no where in the mix of weak links.  Milly said he was on point all night.  Rightly, Cameron is eliminated.  That dude put up some of the worst scallops I’ve ever seen!  And that’s coming from a Hell’s Kitchen fan.

What did you think of the latest HK episode?

Who do you think is looking strong in the kitchen?  I think T is off to a great start and hope she continues to lead Red to victory!