The Top Ten compete in week three of MasterChef Junior
Last week saw the end of the road for two young chefs in the MasterChef Junior competition: Tommy and Molly. That leaves ten young chefs still vying for the title, the trophy, and
the monetary reward. Who will be eliminated this week – and why is Gordon Ramsay wearing a bowl of not-so-whipped cream?
You’ll have to read on to find out more – and my full recap of episode three along with this week’s poll question for other fans and viewers.
October 11, 2013 episode recap and review
A challenge for last episode’s top three junior chefs
The top three last time, in the hamburger elimination test that knocked out Tommy and Molly, were Alexander, Gavin and Kaylen. These three young chefs get a competition of their own as a result to determine who will get an advantage in the next elimination challenge. They each are given a metal bowl, a whisk and some cream. They need to whip their cream to the consistency the judges describe as “stiff peaks” – a stiffness such that if the bowl is turned upside down, it will not pour out of the bowl. When they think they’ve reached the right consistency, they need to hold up their whisk and and shout out “whipped”! So it’s a race to see who can get there first.
They get to it with the rest of the kids calling out encouragement. Sarah especially is getting into it, screaming out “Whip like a man!” Alexander is the first to hold up his whisk, looking confident he’s got stiff peaks. But how to know for sure? The judges will decide – by having Alexander, Gavin and Kaylen hold their bowls over each of their heads.
Kaylen is behind Gordon – and she knows her cream isn’t fully whipped. Gavin is behind Joe and Alexander behind Graham. Alexander is first to invert his bowl, and Graham is safe – not a drop falls on his head! Gavin is next … and Joe gets a bald head and suit full of cream, much to the kids’ delight. Kaylen is last and sure enough her cream just pours all over Gordon who finally gets “bleeped” for his reaction. Graham says he looks like the biggest seagull ever flew over his head – and he doesn’t stay clean very long himself as he ends up with Alexander’s bowl on his head!
The tag-team challenge
It’s now time for MasterChef Junior’s first team competition. The ten young chefs will be divided into five pairs, and the team that performs the worst will be going home. Since he won the whipped cream contest, Alexander gets to make first pick for the team challenge, and he chooses Troy. Alexander also gets to pick all the other teams as well, giving him a real advantage in perhaps teaming up people he don’t think will work together well. Roen wants Dara, but Alexander gives him Jewels instead. He pairs Dara with Sarah because he thinks Sarah’s youth will be a problem in working with Dara. Jack is next, paired with Kaylen. That leaves Sofia and Gavin as the final team of two.
They next find out it’s not just a team challenge, but a tag-team challenge, meaning only one person from each team can cook at a time. And it’s nothing that tough, Joe tells them…it’s only Gordon Ramsay’s signature dish: Beef Wellington! The Wellington has to be served with mashed potatoes and broccolini as well. The kids get a chance to taste and ask questions of Gordon about the dish before they have to cook it. They have everything on their stations that they need to make the dish, and they have 65 minutes to do so. Time starts now!
Alexander, Gavin, Dara, Jewels and Jack are giving instructions and encouragement to their teammates for the first round. Most are starting by searing the beef filet and seem to be doing well, but Troy and Alexander are arguing about when to put the mustard on the filet: before or after putting it in the blast chiller.
Roen and Jewels seem quiet, Graham says, and that might be a problem if they’re not communicating well. It’s time for a switch off and Sarah is being too quiet for Dara, not giving any information or instructions. Troy has to rush back to get the mustard on his steak as he did make a mistake, as Alexander thought.
Round three, and Kaylen has to watch the broccolini, but she and Jack seem to be moving along at a good pace. Sofia tastes her team’s mashed potatoes and it’s lacking salt. She might need to start them over from scratch instead of re-seasoning them now.
It’s almost time for their final switch. The judges are worried that the mash is going to be lumpy from many of the teams. There’s a moment of drama as Sarah takes her Wellington out of the oven and drops the tray on the floor – but the meat is safe! Only the tray hit the ground.
Time for the final switch-off and Jack is finishing up, worried about the mashed potatoes. Are the Wellington’s done? Can they finesse their plates? All the teams are in a frenzy to get plating done in time, and Dara and Sarah are arguing over the pan drippings Dara is putting on the meat.
Time’s up and the judges will now taste each team plate. They think they all look incredible; Troy and Alexander are first up for the test. Gordon says visually, it looks stunning. When he cuts into the center it looks perfectly cooked. The mash? It’s phenomenal, he says. They nailed it. It’s the kind he’d be serving at the Savoy Grill, Gordon says. Graham really can’t find fault either.
Next is Sarah and Dara. They struggled, Dara says, and Joe is up to taste first. He says it looks beautiful on the outside. And on the inside? Flawless, might be tied with team one. He says the sauce is “justifiably acidulated” – Dara says she doesn’t know what that means but it’s a complement to the chefs. Gordon says it’s delicious, warm, succulent…they have just jumped the bar. How did a 12 and a 9 year old cook a Wellington that good? (Perhaps the question should be, why do so many professional chefs always mess it up on Gordon’s other series, Hell’s Kitchen?)
Jack and Kaylen are next. Graham wants to know what they’re worried about. He cuts through and some of the puff pastry on the bottom is looking a little gummy, the broccolini may have been cooked a little too early but the meat is cooked well. Gordon thinks there’s not enough mushrooms in the Wellington. The beef is slightly overcooked but it’s season well; it’s the technical issues that may be their problem.
Sofia and Gavin are next. Graham says it looks beautiful. Inside it’s an A or B+ on the meat. It’s incredibly good, but the puff pastry could have been rolled a little thinner because it’s a little under-done. Gordon says the fundamentals are done correctly yet the pastry is too heavy.
Last for tasting is Roen and Jewels. It looks like a larger puff pastry than the others, with the mash rather hidden underneath the meat. Cutting into it, Gordon asks about their seasoning. He says it’s very interesting…it is so salty you need a glass of water and not another bite. The pastry’s gone soggy even though they cooked it well because of the seasoning. Joe tastes raw mustard and it’s just a shame because their sides are cooked well.
Everyone is called to the front after the judges debate. The judges were so impressed overall, but three teams did just a little bit better they are safe. It’s no surprise that Alexander and Troy, Gavin and Sofia, and Sarah and Dara are all safe. So it’s down to Roen and Jewels, or Kaylen and Jack. The team that is safe? Congratulations go to Kaylen and Jack. To be honest I breathed a sigh of relief as they are two of my favorites right now – though I had a feeling they are favorites of others as well, so not likely to be sent home that quickly.
All told this was a fun and intense episode! I enjoyed seeing more of how a Beef Wellington is put together and have to give it to all the kids for their efforts; I don’t think I’d turn out a plate that looked that good without a lot of practice and instruction first (of course, I have a feeling those kids are getting a fair share of coaching off camera.) While we’re seeing more competitiveness coming out in the show now, it’s still nice to see a season of MasterChef free of “adult drama” and backstabbing. Even when the kids are getting frustrated with each other on the teams, or scheming to try to take down the competition, it doesn’t have that edge of nastiness and meanness to it which soured a lot of MasterChef Season Four for me this summer.
I’m definitely looking forward to what’s coming next – it looks like the kids are getting a Mystery Box full of Halloween-inspired “horrors” that many adults wouldn’t know how to cook, let alone a group of pre-teens.
Want to cook Gordon Ramsay recipes yourself?
Then check out on of his cookbooks to learn the secrets of Beef Wellington and more classic dishes.
For more on MasterChef Junior….
Junior MasterChef US
MasterChef has been one of the hottest summer series on the FOX TV network for the past four seasons. Now, fans can get ready for a brand new version of the show, spotlighting some of the youngest talented home cooks in the USA: MasterChef Junior! This com…
Did the judges make the right call in the tag-team challenge?
Do you think Jewels and Roen made the worst Beef Wellington – or do you think Jack & Kaylen did, but they were kept on because they make for more “interesting television”? Tell me what you think in the comments below!
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sockii is just your typical Jane-of-All-Trades who never has enough time in her day for all of her projects. She has written for many websites online including Squidoo, Zujava, Yahoo! Contributors Network, HubPages and Wizzley. She has been attending and vending at science fiction and media conventions for over 15 years, and for several years ran an art gallery and jewelry store in Philadelphia. Today she is happy to be living in South Jersey with her partner David and their 6 cats. Sockii is a member of several affiliate sales programs including Amazon Associates and Viglink. Products from these services may be advertised on her posts and pages to generate sales commissions.