Our first week at Junior MasterChef is over and we’ve learned some really bizarre things.
We now know that there are 12-year-olds who eat lobster “a few times a week” in the morning, like tiny French aristocrats.
We know our culinary skills are inferior to those of people who didn’t exist when the Killers released Mr. Brightside.
Most importantly, we have found that if we don’t continue to watch these little chefs compete on free TV, we just don’t have enough serotonin to survive.
2020 is a strange year. I’m still in lockdown. Please accompany me on this journey.
If you haven’t seen this season of Junior Masterchef – the first since 2011 – you are missing out on some very healthy television. On Sunday evening we met the 14 adorable chefs, ages 10-14, battling for the title (and a $ 25,000 prize).
They each introduced themselves by cooking an absurdly advanced “signature dish” and two contestants, Laura and Dev, were given the right to strike an “immunity gong” that they can use at any point in the competition.
It’s also important for you to know that we may all have been unhealthily obsessed with a little boy named Ben (see above).
On Monday evening, Ben and the 13 other participants, who have less camera time, took part in their first exciting – if not slightly traumatic – mystery boxing challenge. They were all warned that something was very “dangerous” outside and that they could not get it without protective gear.
Phenix chose a few
Although Georgia is the only candidate who doesn’t like honey, he managed to make an ornate honey bite with honey sponge, crême anglaise, poached pomegranate pear, and honeycomb honey instead of golden syrup.
Carter, a 12-year-old break dancer, impressed the judges
But hey, sometimes kids like the rest of us fail! Tiffany was the first contestant this season to cry in the kitchen when her honey panna cotta didn’t go into the blast chiller. “I’ve given my all, but everything is just not enough,” she said heartbroken. She turned it over and sold the sugar puddle as “a very deconstructed honey panna cotta”.
A true Gen Z hustler.
The real heartbreak came with the elimination on Tuesday night. “This is the best place I’ve ever been in my life,” Filo said at the beginning of the episode. “[The MasterChef kitchen] is this big building where all your dreams will come true, ”said Ryan, who is later eliminated for not using enough salt in his chicken.
We started with a blindfolded taste test where the kids had to identify everything from Nutella to Sherbert to oysters. Ryan, Tiffany, Etka, Salvo, Ben, Porsha, and Laura were the unlucky ones who got it wrong, but Laura quickly hit her immunity gong, which means she’s automatically safe.
She joined the others on the portal – including Filo, who had essentially rocked up for a hassle-free day of filming to eat his favorite foods, olives, and Turkish delight.
The remaining six participants cooked dishes that you can eat with a spoon, chopstick, or your hands. Each option was dramatically revealed under a bell jar, including a disembodied human hand.
Many of the participants drew on their heritage for the challenge. Salvo made tiramisu and quoted his Italian family’s recipe. Etka made Uzbek samsa. Tiffany made a Hungarian feast of chicken stomach stew. Ben made his “famous bao buns” – a dish he ate for the first time while on vacation in the Victorian border town of Albury.
Unfortunately the filling in Etkas Samsa was too dry and he is one of the first mini chefs to leave the MasterChef kitchen. He goes with Ryan and Porsha. Ryan’s Korean chicken just lacks the salt. Porsha’s dessert nachos (not as bad as it sounds) don’t have as much tech as the other dishes.
They all take it like champs and toast their new pals on the way out. They walk with a Harvey Norman device under their tiny arms.
What made me feel most inadequate
All of it. The most acute moments of terror, however, were when Salvo judiciously described the difference between Caponata and Caponatina. and as Laura, 13 years old,
What I’ll think about all week
Sweet Ben waves to a disembodied hand.
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