I don’t know about you guys, but I’m still feeling like damaged goods after last week’s inexplicable elimination of Nate and Derek. The only thing allowing me to focus on the episode at hand is judge Christina Tosi’s super cute and on-brand orange dress. It’s the little things, I guess.
Speaking of little things, the Top 14 chefs enter the kitchen and still seem just as excited to be here as they did on day one. Watching their friends have their dreams crushed one-by-one has in no way deterred any of them from achieving their own. It would be inspiring if it weren’t so scary: Kaitlyn’s dream is to win and open the first restaurant run by kids. You guys, as nice as Kaitlyn seems, it is imperative that she does not win. Did anyone see Kid Nation? It was terrifying.
Standing between Kaitlyn and her quest to erase child labor laws is a quick team challenge that’s all about lemonade and teamwork (just like life!).
THE TEAM CHALLENGE
The 14 remaining chefs draw straws and are split into two teams, the Red Team consists of the majority of our youngest competitors: Ian, Jesse, Avery, Kya, Kamilly, Sam, and JJ, while the Blue team has a lot of tall people: Mia, Tae-Ho, Zac, Kaitlyn, Corey, Amaya, and Addison. Each team has seven minutes to make a glass of raspberry mint lemonade and serve it to Christina for a blind tasting. She’ll choose the winning team, who will, of course, get immunity. As an added twist, the losing team will have a giant balloon full of lemonade dropped on their heads. Sounds fun and sticky (just like life!).
Though the Blue Team seemingly has an advantage with the older kids, they end up wasting an entire minute just yelling at one another about needing a plan, and who has a plan, and plans, plans, plans. They’re acting like seven individuals rather than a cohesive unit and the judges take notice.
The Red Team does not have this problem. Sam takes the reins and get his teammates organized. The judges are impressed by the team’s communication skills, but Christina insists that this challenge is all about flavor. Guess what? The Red Team has the flavor part down as well. They strike the right balance of lemon, raspberry, and mint and are awarded the win. Since this is MasterChef Junior, both teams end this challenge by getting soaked with lemonade from above.
THE ELIMINATION CHALLENGE
All the kids return nice and dry, and the Red Team heads up to the Balcony of Safety to sip on some fresh lemonade (still no food up there!), while the Blue Team waits for their next challenge. Then it happens. A voice blasts out over the kitchen: “It’s all groovy, man.” It is creepy and glorious (JUST LIKE LIFE), and before the kids freak out too much, Gordon Ramsay appears the way I believe he was meant be: as a beautiful flower-power loving hippie. He’s arrived in this garb to teach the cheftestants about the decade of his birth, the 1960s. It could basically be the 1660s to these kids, though – he is that old to them.
Before long, however, Graham appears in his best Saturday Night Fever get-up to represent the ’70s, and Christina roller skates her way out of the “Let’s Get Physical” music video and up to the front of the room to show these kids what the ’80s were all about (which was wearing your underwear outside of your pants, according to Ian).
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Each judge then introduces a dish from his or her decade. Gordon shows them duck a l’orange, Graham reveals a plate of Chicken Kiev, and Christina whips out some surf and turf. The kids are more than relieved that their challenge will only focus on the 1980s double protein staple. The ’80s are still ancient times to these kids, but they’re close enough they can at least wrap their heads around it. Plus: lobster!
Addison, 9, River Forest, IL
Steak Diane and Stuffed Lobster (with grilled asparagus)
The judges are once again impressed with this 9-year-old’s culinary knowledge and technique. I mean, sister flambés her sauce right in front of Graham and Christina like she’s been doing it for years. When Gordon asks her how she even knows about Steak Diane, she earnestly replies, “YouTube.” It’s the 2015 cookbook, you guys — get with it, or get OUT. Gordon thinks her dish doesn’t require two types of sauce, but overall it is delicious. He’d probably sign Addison’s petition to rename the dish “Steak Addison,” were she to ask.
NEXT: Double the proteins, double the problems