Tonight on FOX MASTERCHEF JUNIOR continues with a new episode. On tonight’s show the top 12 junior home cooks compete in their first mystery box challenge.
If you have not watched the show, the new culinary competition series for talented kids, gives budding cooks between the ages of eight and 13 the opportunity to showcase their talent, culinary smarts and passion for food through a series of delicious challenges and cook-offs. Award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay (R), restaurateur and winemaker Joe Bastianich and acclaimed chef Graham Elliot coach and encourage the promising hopefuls to cook like pros and teach them the tricks of the trade along the way.
On tonight’s show the Top 12 junior home cooks on MASTERCHEF JUNIOR compete in the season’s first mystery box challenge and must create an impressive and delicious dish using only the mystery ingredients. Later, the judges – host and award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay, restaurateur Joe Bastianich and acclaimed chef Graham Elliot – task the kids to each create an elevated, restaurant-quality burger in only 60 minutes. At the end of the episode, 10 kids will advance to the next round of competition and move one step closer to being named America’s first-ever MASTERCHEF JUNIOR and win a $100,000 prize.
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Half of the initial 24 were wiped out on episode one and it was heartbreaking… Tonight the dozen contestants will start their journey in a challenge inspired by the chefs’ own childhoods.
Joe, Graham and Gordon welcome the top 12 into the MasterChef kitchen. One of the boys says that he either wants to be a chef or a wrestler… They reveal that in addition to the MC trophy, there will be a $100,000 prize!
Sarah says she would throw a party. Alexander says he would use it to go to the Culinary Institute. Gavin says he would take his brothers to an amusement park. Graham says that no matter who wins they are all the culinary future of America and tells them to go to their stations.
Graham tells the kids they can expect challenges as big as they give the adults. It’s time for the first Mystery Box challenge! Under the boxes are steak, shrimp, berries, potatoes, bleu cheese and a host of other fun stuff. The mystery extra ingredient is a tablet so they can Skype a friend or family member for three minutes for inspiration and ideas. Joe says that the person with the best dish will have a huge advantage in the next competition.
The kids have 60 minutes and they all dash to the pantry for extra ingredients. Joe says their imaginations can really help them. The chefs roam around and talk to the kids. Joe asks Troy what it takes to win the competition. He answers: skill and experience. Alexander reveals he cooks 5-6 times each week.
The judges are impressed saying you would never know that these were dishes prepared by kids rather than adults. They talk about some of their favorites as the kids are plating their masterpieces. Gordon counts them down and the kids are hands off. The judges have tasted everyone’s while they cooked and will now call up three to taste down front.
Gordon says they all blew the judges away. The first to be brought down is Alexander! He prepared pan seared filet mignon, mashed potatoes, carrots and berry puree. Gordon is wowed by the ginger carrots. He also tells him that he kicked butt on the mash. Graham says the sear on the meat is beautiful and he reminds him of himself as a kid. Joe likes the spicy berry sauce.
Graham next calls down Jack in his little Hawaiian shirt! He did surf and turf with a potato puff, glazed carrots and mushroom crème sauce. Graham is oohing over the sear on the meat. He plays with the shrimp and asks Jack how he knows the shrimp is cooked properly and he gives him the perfect answer. He tells Jack that he nailed it “bam” with a hammer. Gordon asks who he called and he tells him Frank – a friend of the family that owns a restaurant. Gordon loves the meat and shrimp and the plating. Jack is thrilled.
Joe tells them that choosing the third dish was difficult. He calls down Troy. He made filet mignon with a poached egg and vegetable hash and demi glaced soy sauce. He asks Troy if he has studied plating and he says yes. Joe loves the rub, the sear, all of it. Gordon tastes and asks why he cooked it medium well and he says he likes the crunch. He says next time to cook it medium rare but otherwise loved it.
The judges comes down and congratulate the three boys and announce the first mystery box challenge winner as…
Back from the break, Gordon announces the mystery box winner is Jack!! Little Jack!! How cool. He’s absolutely floored. They tell him his sear on the steak was perfect and the shrimp was perfectly cooked. They take him to the pantry to show him his advantage for the next challenge.
The elimination test will see two of the kid cooks sent home so this is crucial. The theme of the challenge
Graham tells him that they have brought their favorite childhood dishes. Joe shows a photo of him at 8 and reveals his favorite dish as chicken wings smothered in tangy sauce. Graham shows a photo of him with a fish as a kid and reveals his favorite childhood dish was a burger. Gordon shows his photo at age 8 and tells him his fave dish was crunchy fish fingers.
The kids will be challenged to make a restaurant-worthy version of these dishes. They tell Jack he doesn’t have to cook tonight and will not get voted off. He also gets to decide which of the three dishes the other kids will have to cook. Jack decides everyone will have to cook…
He comes out and heads up into the gallery with a nice fruity drink in a pineapple to watch the other kids. They groan in jealousy. They reveal that Jack chose the hamburger and that everyone is expected to make a fabulous version of this American classic. They tell them they have to create a gourmet burger. Gordon tells the kids that at least two of them will be sent home and the kids look stressed. Joe starts the time and the kids scramble to the pantry which is in utter chaos!
Gavin’s burger is Italian style. Kaylen is making an all around the world burger with pork and bacon.
Gordon says he would go with gourmet beef topped with caramelized bacon and cheddar. Joe says he would do three different sliders.
Molly is making a Korean kimchi BBQ burger with a rice cake. Gordon asks her if that sounds good to her and she’s instantly stressed.
Jack says being up on the balcony feels really good and that he can see what other people are good at for later in the competition.
Tommy is making tater tots and a breakfast turkey burger and Gordon is horrified he’s using American chees e- sys he hangs his photos with that. Graham asks Jewels what she’s doing and she’s made a limburger and he worries it will be dry. She made a Greek sauce with mint, goat cheese and Greek yogurt.
Alexander and Joe talk and he tells him that jack thought he was his biggest competitor and would overthink it and lose. He’s making sliders and mini onion rings. He’s frying kale for chips and sautéed mushrooms.
The judges are impressed with the diversity. Jack thinks Sarah is in trouble and she says she’s not and she’ll remember that he said that! Gordon counts down from 10 and they are done! He tells them all great job.
They start with Alexander. He brings down his sliders. The plating is amazing and restaurant quality. The fried kale is in a funky metal wrap. He cooked medium-medium rare and he tells Joe he knows by experience because he cooks these at home. Pepperjack cheese and black garlic aioli. Joe tells Jack it’s tough competition and he should be worried. Gordon says it’s one of the best looking sliders he’s seen and asks why the kale. Alexander says it’s a lighter option and different. Gordon says some chefs are natural at cooking and he tells him he has a gift and a connection with food. Graham says the food world will be lucky to have him in it!
Tommy is next with his turkey breakfast burger. He’s worried. Sweet potato tots are on the side. He put processed cheese squares in between layers to get a good melt. Gordon says it’s too thick to melt properly. He says the turkey is slightly dry but the flavor is good. Joe says he doesn’t like turkey burgers at all. He asks if he would do turkey again and he says yes. Joe says you can’t make everyone happy but people do want to eat breakfast all the time so he hit on that. He asks if breakfast can save Tommy from elimination…
Gavin explains his Italian burger and Graham compliments the seasoning and his smart salad side. Joe asks if he knows Italian and he tells him he knows Joe. Gordon says his shoes are Italian. Joe’s impressed with the Italian sausage in the burger and Italian seasoning. He says he would put it on the menu.
Sarah makes a traditional burger with grilled pineapple bacon and cabbage. She overcooked it a little but it’s good.
Jewels lamburger is a little dry but good.
Kaylen made a bee and pork burger with bacon. Joe says it’s well grilled and seared and he would love to come eat at her house.
Molly is nervous as she brings up a Korean BBQ burger. She’s stressed. Gordon samples it and says wow. He says her tenacity is great but the seasoning is off, meat is dry and kimchi doesn’t work. Joe asks if she’s disappointed in herself and she says yes. He says even adults are frustrated when they can’t translate their idea to the plate. He says it was a good idea that flopped. She says she wanted to do something she hasn’t done before. Joe says sometimes it can be a risk that just doesn’t pay off.
The judges talk and Tommy, Jewels and Molly look to be in trouble!
Gordon announces three top burgers that were amazing. They name Gavin, Alexander and Kaylen as the winners. Then Graham says they will call down three that didn’t hit the high notes they expected. Gordon says at least two will go home. Graham calls Jewels, Tommy and Molly. Yep.
Gordon tells them it’s difficult for them to have to call them down. None of the kids want to go home. They all want to stay. There’s one 11 and two 12 year olds. They ask Jewels to step forward. Joe tells her that she did just enough to stay safe. They send her back to her station. Aww… Tommy and Molly are out. Gordon tells them that their journey ends but that there are thousands of kids who would like to be where they are. He tells them to wear their aprons with pride because they did well.
He calls them up and they all shake hands with the judges. They hug everyone good bye and Molly is crying. The other kids are sad because they’ve become friends. Several of the kids are teared up.
Molly said she had a great time and that she will still be opening a restaurant when she grows up. Gordon announces that they are the top ten junior amateur chefs in the country and asks them how that sounds. They all clap. He tells them to get some rest, finish their homework and to have a good night.