Who will make the final six? It’s not going to be a piece of cake…
Apologies for the lateness of this recap – I was working a craft show all weekend, but did take notes on Friday night to now share the details of the latest MasterChef Junior battle!
Last week saw the departure of Roen and Jewels after the Beef Wellington battle; who will not make the cut this time around? And which young chefs will make it into the top six?
Stick around to find out – and then cast your votes for who you think is the strongest chef left in the competition and likely to win the trophy!
October 18, 2013 episode recap and review
It’s time for another Mystery Box challenge, and the winner will get the change at a “game changing advantage”, according to the judges.
But it’s going to be a basket full of Halloween-style horrors for the young chefs. What do they get? No gummy bears this time around, it’s all food that kids tend to hate: eggplant, artichokes, liver, kidneys, snails, brussels sprouts, sardines, dates, fennel, blue cheese, and beets are all part of the basket. They have 60 minutes to cook – if they can get over being grossed out!
Jack is going for the kidneys. Troy is going to make a snail chowder. Dana is making a blue cheese souffle, which the judges think is a huge risk because not even any of the adult MasterChef contestants can successfully make a souffle in an hour’s time..
Alexander is making sticky toffee pudding. He’s using dates and candied fennel. Sofia is making nettle soup with escargot. Sarah is making deep fried sardines with a brussels sprout and fennel salad. She’s not nervous about cooking the fish.
They have fifteen minutes and Jack is surprised that he actually likes his fried kidneys! But will the judges?
Three minutes left and Gordon is praying with Dara for her souffles to come out right. But unfortunately when she takes them out of the oven at the last second, it’s clear that they didn’t cook through enough.
The judges will be tasting the top three dishes to decide who gets the advantage. The first dish is “smart in a very creative way” and comes from a “top contender”: Troy. He’s made snail chowder with baked eggplant peels. Visually it looks delicious, Gordon says, and it’s rich, creamy, and the snails aren’t overcooked. Graham thought he showed a ton of creativity using the skins of the eggplant and Joe says it’s properly seasoned and very rich. “It’s a good soup.”
The second dish went in a direction that not everyone selected. It clearly looks like it came out of a restaurant: Alexander’s. He’s made sticky toffee pudding with candied fennel and fig-lemon puree. Graham draws a “wow” on his plate with the caramel sauce. The only thing he would change would be to put more caramel sauce on the dish. The fennel doesn’t work for Gordon but technically Alexander nailed it.
Last up for tasting is from a person who took an unexpected ingredient from the Mystery Box and every component completely “wowed” the judges. It’s Sarah. She’s made fired sardines with a cabbage, brussels sprouts and fennel salad. Joe things it’s the most restaurant quality dish and it’s all perfectly cooked. She’s not afraid of anything but clowns, Sarah says, but Joe’s afraid of how good her dish is. Gordon would be “pooing his pants”.
The judges debate and decide that indeed, Sarah had the winning dish. So she’s off with them to the pantry where she’ll learn her advantage in the upcoming elimination challenge.
A dreaded baking challenge
As is so often the case on the adult version of MasterChef, the elimination this time for the young home cooks will involve baking. Sarah has three options to choose between, and Joe has the first option, something that’s recently quite popular: cupcakes. Graham has a classic favorite dessert: the layer cake. The third option from Gordon is a pastry: the fruit tart.
Sarah is also safe and therefore in the top six. She chooses the layer cake, which she think might take Alexander out of the competition. And Alexander is certainly nervous. Sofia is not happy, either. Kaylen knows layer cakes are hard to cool and frost, and their cake must have three layers.
They have 90 minutes to cook. Troy has never cooked a layer cake before. Meanwhile Dara made her mother’s wedding cake at 10 years of age, so she’s hoping she can pull this off – especially to redeem herself after her disaster with the souffle.
Gavin is going for an all-chocolate cake. Kaylen is doing lemon. Alexander is also doing lemon but he doesn’t know what his icing will be. He has to start over because he mixed up his flour and his sugar.
Gordon is impressed with Dara’s spiced chocolate cake and how it’s coming together. Gavin is working efficiently on his “chocoholic” cake. It’s down to the wire and hands are up! Some cakes look great while others…not so much.
They’ve all made a “valiant effort”, the judges tell them, but now it’s time for tasting. Alexander is first. He thinks it looks like a 5-year old made it. His is a lemon layer cake with meringue frosting. The lemon curd is running out of the sides. He’s not happy with the presentation but he hopes the taste will run through. Unfortunately the judges say that it came out dense instead of light and airy. Graham says it’s undercooked and not his best work. Gordon says it’s the first time Alexander has struggled and he may have over-complicated it. “What a shame.”
Dara is next with her spicy chocolate cake. She’s really confident with how it came out. It smells awesome, Graham says and he can’t believe she pulled it off. It’s perfectly nuanced. Joe loves her cake and the spiced chocolate and that it’s got balance. It certainly looks the most professional of all of the cakes.
Next is Kaylen. She’s make vanilla layer cake with mixed berry butter cream. It’s a bit misshapen and Graham says the sponge cake is dense. Gordon says it doesn’t have the wow factor visually and there’s not enough sugar in the icing.
Gavin is next. He’s got a chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting. Joe says it’s really really good, especially the chocolate ganache.
Troy follows with his lemon layer cake and cream cheese icing. It’s a little sweet for Graham and skimpy on the frosting.
Jack is up with his vanilla layer cake with meringue butter-cream frosting. “OMGD,” Gordon says. It’s light and incredible.
Last is Sofia. It’s a chocolate layer cake with berry butter-cream. She had a hard time spreading the butter-cream, she says, and it shows. The layers got mushed together and the icing is a little too buttery. There’s a crispy edge to her sponge cake as well that suggests she cooked it too much.
The judges discuss the results while the young chefs console each other; no one wants to go home! The standout cakes are declared to be Gavin’s and Dara’s. They are also in the final six with Sarah. Jack is called forward next. It wasn’t the best but he still baked a great cake and he’s also in the top six.
Two more are moving on, and the judges declare that it’s Troy and Alexander. That means Kaylen and Sofia are going home. There are some tearful good-byes with the judges and then the girls are asked who they think will win the title. Kaylen thinks it will be Dara, and Sofia thinks it will be Alexander.
Have you placed your bets on a winner yet?
Need some help with baking?
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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.