Sorry for the late post everyone, I understand this was a very important episode as well. Unfortunately, a work thing I had last night went for a little longer than expected; so that’s a mistake on my behalf, sorry. But anyway, the less time I spend apologising, the more time I gain in posting this on Throng; so let’s get into what will be Junior MasterChef’s first elimination of the year.
We begin the episode with a close up of a gnome, but as we zoom out, the cars containing the contestants come into view. They stop and the juniors disembark them with some sort of joy!
Only 8 are there; the ones up for elimination and as they greet the animals in the pen before the kitchen, it’s obvious that these contestants are not scared of the prospect of elimination at all. I don’t know if that is a good thing, or a bad thing.
They enter the kitchen and we see a back story for Tom, I think. As the contestants enter, as per usual in eliminations, the safe contestants are awaiting them from the balcony; cheering them on. Below stands George, Gary and Anna who welcome them back to the MasterChef kitchen.
We then see a back story for Jade who wants to go to Paris with her friend using the MC prize money.
George tells them that there will be two challenges today. For the first challenge; the top two best cooks will progress to the final 16. The remaining six cooks will go into the second round with four of them going home. Caroline is pumped for the challenges and with that; cue her back story.
Gary tells them that their first challenge today is a Junior MasterChef first. It is called the perfect! ‘The Perfect version of a culinary classic’, he describes it as; and Anna tells them that today, they will be cooking the perfect… roast!
George warns the vegetarians to look out and we then cut to a back story for Alysha, not that she’s a vegetarian (at least, I don’t think she is).
Gary says they are looking for the perfect roast, to be produced in 1 hour. George wants succulent meat in the roast, and Tom reveals that he has had a disaster with a roast once when his crackling caught on fire!
With an hour to use; their time starts and they are off. Zac wants to cook lamb as he loves it. Alysha will be cooking balsamic chicken! Caroline is going for pork.
As they return, Gary comes to Jade and asks her how she’s going. She is concentrating on her measurements for her sauce for her chicken roast. Gary loves the sound of it, but he is questioning the fact she is not using gravy. This is because she wants a ‘fresh’ roast.
Tom is making a paprika, rosemary and tarragon encrusted chicken! Yeah, I didn’t know that existed, either. He got the idea from a mystery box he did when MC came out.
Caroline gets her roast in the oven but she isn’t so good with cooking roasts and she is a little nervous.
After the break, George quizzes Alysha on her roast and Alysha says it is because her family used to have it all the time. George wonders how many of her friends from school are just playing on monkey bars in this stage of their lives.
George tells the judges how impressive Tom’s bacon-y sauce looks and Gary compliments Caroline’s complex dish but hopes her roast becomes the hero. She is having a bit of a problem with her crackling not crisping. Maybe it’s because she keeps opening the oven.
With 15 minutes to go; Anna tells them not to let the sides spoil the show; pushing Gary and George away in the process and striking a pose. Haha.
George and Anna approach Tom and he begins to cry; possibly a mix of nostalgia and nerves. George tells him to… BOOM, BOOM shake the room!
Caroline is still opening her oven and the kids on the balcony just cannot watch as she lets all the heat out time after time.
With a minute to go, they begin to plate up. Caroline needs help from the judges. George helps her fry the under cooked roast, defeating the purpose of the challenge in the name of kindness.
Soon enough; the roasts are done and it’s time for judging.
First up is Alysha and Aya. Alysha has Roasted Balsamic Chicken with an awesome looking Champs mash.
George tells her that her roast is on top and Gary tells her she has cooked it perfectly.
Aya’s Roast Eye Fillet of Beef is next but Gary thinks her sauce is a bit thin despite the other cracking elements.
Next up are Tom and Zac. Zac has Roasted Double Lamb Cutlets and Gary thinks he has done the cooking perfectly but George thinks there is a little too much fat.
Tom is next with his herb encrusted chicken and an absolutely scrumptious fennel bake (a favourite of mine; yet I never incorporate it into my own roasts; why is that?).
George tastes it and pulls a face, questioning the herbs he has used. Does it go together? It sure does! And that’s a hit! Anna tells him why roast is her favourite meal of the week before saying he has exceeded her expectations, basically.
Jade and Marcus are next and first up is the Roast Chicken cooked by Jade. It comes without any jus or gravy.
Anna calls it divine and tells her that the roast is perfectly cooked. Marcus has made Roast Pork Neck with apple and pear sauce. Gary loves the fact that he has put so many flavours in one dish, but it isn’t perfect.
Caroline and Hannah are next and first up is the roast rack of lamb by Hannah. It looks good when they cut it, but is it perfect? Gary loves the presentation but he says it is a little undercooked. Caroline is next with a Roast Pork which went a bit array. Hopefully it isn’t raw. George reminds her he gave her some help, but commends her on her sides. Probably means she won’t be having the best dish award for this challenge.
With that, it is time to save two of these kids. The saved contestants are… Alysha and… Tom! And Tom takes it more emotionally than Alysha. Job well done guys!
With that, the judges get into round two with the bottom six contestants; Aya, Caroline, Jade, Zac, Hannah and Marcus. Four of them will be going home to school (the juniors don’t like that one bit).
This challenge will be a MasterChef classic- the almighty pressure test.
They will be given a recipe; the same ingredients and the same time limit as everyone else. But what is the dish? Well, Gary tells them that the mastermind behind this dish is a ‘Grand MasterChef’; none other than Tony Bilson who’s restaurant was closed down not long ago (source: The Amazing Johnson).
He has a cloche with him, and he reveals the dish to be lobster risotto. Oh. Dear. God. Risotto has been a killer dish in the past, as Zac notes, and it will be a nail biting challenge.
They then go in for the taste test and the kids seem to like it!
They have 80 minutes to cook the dish and they are all raring to go. They all seem to begin to chop their vegetables and Tony is going around to help them out.
As they pick up their lobsters, they find it ‘funny’ to carry and Hannah even kisses hers for good luck. Hmm.
Marcus is confident about the risotto part of the meal, being Italian, but lobster- well; he’s never cooked it before!
Tony gives him a crash course in opening his lobster and he, and some of the other contestants are grossed out by all the guts. Hannah has already cleaned her lobster and George wonders if she is in a good place right now. Tony says she is but her lobster legs should also be in the stock by now. George helps her prepare the legs.
He and Anna then go to Caroline to help her on her stock and the pressure is definitely now on for her and the others as we get into the final 30 minutes.
Tony thinks they are doing well, but Gary notices Marcus is a bit behind; about 10 minutes.
Zac is organised when Tony and Anna come over but he has poured all his fish stock into the pan at the same time when he should have been pouring it in a bit at a time.
After the break, we get quite a bit recap of the problem before Tony helps him with some advice to improve the stock quality.
Gary is with Caroline and provides her with some pointers to help her out. They have 15 minutes to go and there’s a lot of things happening all over the place! Marcus is getting scared now!
Marcus is now preparing his lobster and with that and his vegetables still to go, he has to get a move on.
With 5 minutes to go, it is time for the massive job of plating up to begin. There’s not much time left and soon enough, time is up but not before George helps a few of the contestants out a bit more.
Time for tasting and Zac is first to the table. And we are back in the elimination room!
They are happy when Zac says he wants to cook for the rest of his life.
Tony loves how he used thyme instead of chervil as a bit of individuality. Will it work for him? Well, it is tasting time.
George cannot fault the dish; loving the rice and the sauce. Tony loves each of the elements perfectly. Gary says the thyme goes so well with the lobster.
Jade is next with her dish and Jade is happy to be standing in the competition.
She has dressed the dish differently and Tony thinks she has done a great job. They taste and they are Mmming.
George loves how he can see each and every piece of rice and the flavours on them.
Aya is next and she loved the fun challenge. Tony wishes he was able to cook that well at that age but they do notice George had to help her.
Caroline is next with her dish and they do find the rice to be a bit dry and chalky and Tony finds fault in the lobster; but only a minute one. Still, it’s the most negative criticism I’ve heard all season so this doesn’t spell well for Caroline going into a quadruple elimination.
After the break, Hannah is next to present and they like the look of the dish. Hannah loves all the friends she has made and all the things she has cooked in her time on JMCA. They then taste the dish and Gary doesn’t think the lobster is cooked as well as it should be. Another eliminee?
Last up is Marcus- risotto man and they are wowed by his risotto.
They taste his dish and Anna says wow yet again! She thinks everything on the plate was perfect and George, being nitpicky, there was a bit of messiness in the cutting. There was nothing Tony could fault.
Now it is time for the verdict, and the judges go to reveal the results as the safe contestants stand before the six contestants in danger. Tony has some last words of positivity before Anna tells them that two will be going through to the top 16. They are… Marcus and… Zac! This leaves Hannah, Aya, Caroline and Jade out of contention but they all seem to take it very grown up like with Hannah teary, but obviously happy for her progress.
They all leave the kitchen with some prizes, so good on them!
So the episode ends and yeah, the right people left. It is so clever how they are able to divert most of the tears from the eliminated contestants and the challenges are ever so inspiring. Is it just me or are the dishes produced on this show better looking than those on the regular MC? I mean, that fennel bake of Tom’s was to die for!
Production quality was again, at its best and everything else was brilliant too!
Courtney’s Verdict: 9.8/10