Tonight on FOX Gordon Ramsay’s Masterchef Junior continues with an all-new Tuesday, May 28, 2019, season 7 episode 13 called “The Semi-Final,” and we have your weekly Masterchef Junior recap below. On tonight’s Masterchef Junior episode as per the FOX synopsis, “In the season’s last mystery box challenge, the remaining contestants receive a surprise taste from home when they are tasked with creating a dish inspired by family. Whoever wins this challenge will immediately earn a spot in the MASTERCHEF JUNIOR finale. Then, in a juicy elimination test, the chef-testant who elevates a secret ingredient with the most finesse and personality will secure his or her spot in the finale.”
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The Top Six were still going strong. Both teams had been saved during last week’s eliminations and this made tonight’s Semi-finals more crucial than ever. The six needed to be halved into three for next week. They knew that there wouldn’t be any more last saves and so they devoted their all to their last challenge. The last challenge was supposed to be a Mystery Box, but the contestants lifted the lid on their boxes and they didn’t find anything there. It turns out there wasn’t one last mystery ingredient. This time around the judges gave the kids each a letter from home. They got to read how proud their loves ones and they then got to put all that love in their dishes. Their true challenge is to cook from the heart.
If the letters hadn’t been enough, there was also a second surprise. The contestants were all busy getting the necessary ingredients in the pantry that they didn’t suspect a thing when they came back and saw members of their family there. Their parents and siblings came to see them cook in this challenge and so each child was given their own cheering squad. The families watched as these kids prove how far they’ve come and there hadn’t been a single person there that wasn’t proud. Parents and siblings shouted out encouragements and even threw in an occasional “be careful” though they needn’t worry. These kids all came up with original ideas and they were all rewarded when the judges decided to taste all six dishes.
The first contestant that was called was Malia. She cooked Salmon & Lemon Pesto with Beurre Blanc Sauce, Carrots, and Turnips. Her dish proved to be on point because the fish was well-seasoned and there was the right amount of acidity. She received great feedback and she was told the dish showed how far she’s come since the beginning. The next contestant was Sadie. She cooked Olive Oil Poached Halibut with Squash Blossom, Goat Cheese, Spring Pea Puree and Frisee Salad. It had been delicious and light. The only drawback was the pairing of the goat cheese with the halibut just because the cheese was particularly sharp. Other than that, she too did a great job and she’s shown consistent skill.
Reid went third. He cooked some Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Peas, and Dried Parsley. It had looked great and he got the right amount of crisp on the chicken. The judges loved this dish and if there was a criticism then it would be the amount the mashed potatoes. They could have been a little fluffier. Then there was Ivy. Ivy cooked Veal Schnitzel with German Potato Salad and Vegetable Salad. The star of her dish was naturally the veal and the judges felt she had done a great job with pairing it with the German Potato salad because the salad brought in a nice balance of acidity. With her, the one thing she could have changed was perhaps cutting the potatoes smaller if not thinner.
Then there was Che. He wanted to put each and every aspect of his family into his dish and so he came up with a Pan-Seared Red Snapper with Black Bean Puree, Polenta Croutons, and Baby Squash. It looked great on the plate because all of the amazing colors and polenta croutons ended up making perfect sense. There was on the crispiness on the outside and the gooey center that the judged loved. They believed Che knocked this out of the park and they couldn’t wait to judge their last dish. Aaron went last but his dish was just as colorful. He cooked Ethiopian Lamb Loin with Injera, Sautéed Spinach, and Yogurt Sauce. And while this was the first time he cooked Injera, it tasted great and the judges even wanted more on their plate.
The judges had a tough time determining the winner of this challenge and so they had needed some time before they could come to a decision. They realize the dish that truly encompassed the challenge was Che’s. He became the first person safe from elimination and his place in the finals was now secure, but his advantages didn’t just end there. He also got to decide which contestant got which ingredients for this last challenge. The ingredients for this last challenge were all fruit. They were peaches, mangos, cherries, pineapple, and pears. Some of the contestants had never seen mangos much less cook with them and yet they still received them in the end because Che made his choices based on strategy rather than friendship.
Che gave Reid the mangos and he looked so stumped. He had no idea how to cut it or cook it and all of sudden he had to make the best of it. Reid wasn’t the only one that was struggling with this latest challenge. Aaron had been given cherries and he believes cherries to be more deserts, but he said that he would try to make it work. He wasn’t the only one that was doing his best. Sadie has never worked with pineapples and tonight she cooked pineapples several different ways to go with her upside-down pineapple cake. Then there was Ivy who was cooking with pears and figured she’ll learn as she goes. And even Malia didn’t let the idea of cooking with peaches break her because she said and, well, what they all say is that they weren’t going to let this challenge defeat them.
The first dish to be later called was Sadie’s. She cooked Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with Pineapple Three Ways. The three ways were torched pineapple, grilled pineapple, and caramelized pineapple. Her dish looked beautiful and some of the sweetness was cut down with the grilled pineapple. So the only thing the judges would add was perhaps some whipped cream. The next dish to be called was Ivy’s. She cooked Blue Cheese Crusted Pork Chop with Sautéed Cabbage and Caramelized Pears. It looked like a dish they could order at a restaurant and the judges loved that she went savory when everyone else was thinking sweet. And the judges believe its one of the best dishes she’s ever cooked.
So far, the kids were doing great with the unexpected and so the judges couldn’t wait to see what the others created. Reid went next. He baked a Spiced Mango Rum Cake with Passion Fruit-Mango Puree. The cake was a little undercooked but the judges had been proud of Reid for taking this unknown fruit and cooking it several ways. He showed that he was up to the challenge and that was much appreciated. The judges next called Malia. She made Peaches & Cream with Buttermilk Biscuits and Candied Macadamia Nuts. It looked very elegant and the judges loved the taste of her dish. She had also added heavy cream on top just to get the look right on the biscuits. And so she gave the beast looking dish.
The judges went on to taste Aaron’s dish last. He cooked Sautéed Duck with Fregula and Pickled Cherries. He cooked the cherries several ways into the dish but he hadn’t left as the star. The star was naturally the duck and unfortunately Aaron undercooked it just by the slightest bit. It was a small mistake but it had at this point in the competition where none of them could afford small mistakes. The judges took everything from tonight into account and they marked off the mistakes. Aaron and Reid both undercooked things. Sadie’s dish was a little too sweet because some of the judges thought it needed to be cut more. And before long, the judges were able to decide the two others that would join Che in the finals.
The judges decided that both Ivy and Malia were going into the cook-off. Both young ladies went above and beyond in cooking perfect restaurant quality dishes tonight. Also, this didn’t mean that the others weren’t talented and the judges said as much. They asked that no one stop cooking and they said that each and every one there had made them proud. Its been a long road to the finals and the judges got to look back on where it all started. Che showed from the beginning that he was going to bring his Italian flair into it, Ivy called her style European with some Latin flavors, and Malia brought in her family’s Japanese heritage. They all brought something to the table and no one ever lost their sense of humor.
They were small, but they were mighty! What the judges remember best were the Masterclasses and how well the kids took to cooking lobster as well as chucking oysters. The kids managed to overcome any of the messiness and never give up. Another thing that judged enjoyed had been the first-hand chance to see their signature dishes. These kids have been experimenting with their culinary skills at home and they brought that same passion with them to show. They deconstructed dishes and created something rarely seen in all the judges’ long history. And the only time these kids showed they were kids was when they freaked out on the challenge.
There were some tears and setbacks. Only their ability to finish strong was going to follow them the rest of their lives and so no was worrying about the class of 2019!
And before they went to go prepare for next week, Chef Ramsay used the Big Red Button to rain down deserts on the final three!