The most challenging part of Masterchef is the restaurant (or similar) challenge where you cook either for the public or invited guests. On Masterchef we have seen cheftestants run breakfast in a major hotel, do weddings, and take over a restaurant to serve a meal. It has been on Masterchef Junior as well and this year they decided to do it with a pop-up restaurant. These are the will-o’the-wisp of the restaurant world: restaurants that magically appear for a moment somewhere and are gone. Unlike the mythical will-o’-the-wisp that lure you off safe trails at night, these attract those who have been invited to partake of these meals. Often social media or a telephone call alerts you to its upcoming existence. And it no doubt they get the ire of local oversight agencies who can neither regulate them nor get any fees paid for them to operate.
Since we are going to drop two at the end, this episode will really put the kids to the test. The question you have to ask is whether you want them to run a meal service. Remember these kids have never worked in a professional kitchen which means lots of pressure and stress to get the food out. It is one thing to help out in the home kitchen but quite another to have customers waiting for your food to arrive at their plates in a timely fashion. It is an intense experience that is very hard for adults to do and just as tough for kids to do as well. Even the best and brightest of this bunch is going to find this challenge difficult.
And it was. Both teams–led by Samuel (Blue) and Abby(Red)– both had major problems getting food out. Gordon was expediter and we all know how he fiery he gets with poorly made food. You could see Gordon really struggling to not let loose. Oona had problems with deep frying, Adaiah had never cooked filet mignon, Logan made multiple mistakes in seasoning. Gordon had to take time and counsel them to do better. Graham had to step in at one point to show how to step it up. The good news is that in the end both teams delivered good meals. The bad news is that one team had to loose and that was Samuel’s. Usually when a team loses on Masterchef, you face the dreaded pressure test where you cook some fiendish dish the judges have decided for you to cook. The cooking challenge was the elimination challenge so they merely had to decide which two of the losing team to send home: Samuel, Oona or Sean.
It was inevitable the decision to send Oona and Sean home since Samuel was the better of the three. However it was hard to see Oona go. She was really impressive and I thought it possible for her to be in the semifinal or top two. She has the drive, passion, and creativity. But this challenge showed that none of these kids were ready to work in a professional kitchen yet. This episode, like last week, had an odd feel to it. Again something was missing like the usual magic and sparkle the show has. It was like half a show really, as if a lot was chopped and edited out. Sean’s comment that working with Gordon was “traumatizing” will no doubt raise concerns about the pressure of the show on kids. At any rate we now move on to the semifinals which has Abby, Adaiah, Logan and Samuel now competing for the trophy and money. My concern is, especially watching Gordon having a talk with Logan in this episode, that the fine line between treating them as kids as opposed to adults is becoming harder for the judges.