It’s time for a restaurant takeover!
We’re now down to the top six contestants on Junior MasterChef and left standing are Alexander, Dara, Gavin, Jack, Troy and Sarah. These six may be talented and good at performing under the pressure of the MasterChef kitchen, but can they take the heat tonight in an entirely new environment? That’s what we’ll find out this week, along with which chefs will make it through to the upcoming semi-finals.
October 25, 2013 episode recap and review
The chefs are going to face a new challenge this week that they have not faced before – and it involves cooking outside of the MasterChef kitchen! That means it’s time for a restaurant takeover; they are going to be doing lunch service at a very upscale and fully booked Italian restaurant in Los Angeles, Drago Centro. This will be a real challenge for the young chefs who have never worked in such an environment before, although seeing the kitchen and the restaurant Jack knows this is what he wants to do so he’s excited.
The winners of the last elimination challenge were Gavin and Dara, so they will be the team leaders. Dara picks red for her team color and then picks Alexander and Jack. Blue team is lead by Gavin and he picks Troy for his team, and then ends up with Sarah as the last picked.
The two teams each will need to make two appetizers and two entrees for the lunch service. Chef di cucina Ian Gresik meets the young cooks and shows them how to prepare each dish and how to plate them. The appetizers are a burrata cheese with crostini, and a seared albacore tuna. The first entree is short-rib ravioli and the second is bronzino (a type of European sea bass). After watching the chef prepare the dishes, the young cook then learns that Gordon is going to be expediting their plates out of the kitchen and to the dining room – so they had better be in top shape!
The young chefs have sixty minutes to prep before service begins. Red team is taking a democratic approach to deciding who will do what, while the Blue team seems to be having a power struggle. Troy is worried about Sarah’s inexperience and age. Both teams seem to be having problems with getting the ravioli prepped properly.
The teams then have 75 minutes to serve after their hour of prep time is up. The diners are in the restaurant and it’s time to start getting tables out! But the young chefs don’t even understand how to respond properly as Gordon calls out the orders. Blue team is having problems of consistency with their tuna appetizer. Red team is having problems getting plates out in a timely fashion and failing on the communication front.
Gordon gets Alexander and Dara to step aside and tells them they need to start working together, not against each other.
The diners are starting to taste the appetizers and there are some complaints coming in as well as some praise. They now have some special plates to see to – the VIP table with Chef Ian. Troy and Sarah are arguing over who will plate his tuna. Chef Ian says he likes the Blue team’s plating of the burrata and says it’s well seasoned. The Red team’s burata is missing the vinaigrette on the arugula leaves, so to his tastes the Blue team won for that dish.
The tuna is next. The Red team’s tuna is cooked well although the risotto cake is a little undercooked. The blue team’s tuna is a little under-seasoned but their risotto cake is good. He says it’s neck-and-neck at this point between the two teams.
Entrees are next. Troy seems to be overtaking Gavin in running the team; Red team seems to have their issues together and is cooking their fish well. Blue team is having problem with their bronzino seasoning now. Sarah messed up the vegetables to go with the fish, and Gavin is not doing a good job of keeping control of his team.
Gordon calls the Blue Team to the side to find out what is going wrong. Sarah is crying; Gordon tells Troy to stop trying to take over and for Gavin to take charge at last. On the Red team, though, delegation of duties may be falling. Jack’s doing the hard job of cooking the branzino – and doing a good job of it, but the other kids have to step it up and do their part as well.
The branzino is getting good feedback from the diners but the sauce on the ravioli is maybe congealed or not seasoned well. The last order is coming in for the VIP table.
Service is over and the judges congratulate the kids for their hard work. No plates came back to be redone from the dining room – a first for a MasterChef restaurant takeover! They each get a glass of sparkling cider to celebrate. But now the judges have to decide which team won – and Chef Ian is tasting the entrees from both teams. The Red team’s ravioli looks better than the Blue team’s, which has too much garnish. Red team’s is better.
The branzino is next. Visually, he says the Red team’s plate looks a little better, the fish is cooked well, but it needs a little more salt. The Blue team’s is seasoned well but the fish isn’t crispy. Even so, he rates it better overall. Splitting hairs, he finds it hard to say which team really did better overall.
There’s one last bit of fun for the chefs – they get to finally meet the restaurant diners who had no idea (supposedly) that their meals were cooked by a group of MasterChef Junior contestants. It’s a sweet moment seeing the kids get applause and cheers from the happy diners, before having to face elimination.
It’s finally time for the judges to announce who will go on to the semi-finals and who will be going home. There can only be one winning team. Blue team needed work on their seasoning but had good timing. Red team’s strength was their entrees and that they had a strong finish. The winning team going straight through to the semi-finals? The judges announce it’s the Red team so Dara, Alexander and Jack are safe.
That means only one person is safe on the Blue team, and the other two will be going home. The judges decide to save Troy, meaning that Gavin and Sarah are finished.
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