Masterchef Junior Episode 3: Aged Judges and Alligator Meat

American Alligator in captivity at the Columbus Zoo, Powell, Ohio Photo:Postdlf(Wikipedia)
American Alligator in captivity at the Columbus Zoo, Powell, Ohio

Originally I was going to write your standard boiler plate up or down review of this episode. Here is what it all boils down to: gimmicks and alligator. Every reality show has a gimmick to get viewers to watch. Masterchef Junior (MCJ) has landed on the side of comedy. In this episode, the judges were made up to be 80 year old guys to match the theme of well aged foods. Fortunately most well aged foods are not kept for 80 years (unless it is a very rare wine or the legendary fruitcake of Hogwarts). One kid thought Graham’s eyebrows were scary and asked him to move away. Of course before the judging began, once again they did the Superman trick by walking  out one door as old dudes and then magically reappearing seconds later back as their current selves.

Andrew won the aged foods challenge with his grilled New York Strip with fennel salad and smashed potatoes. It looked delicious. Back in the pantry he is shown three very dangerous animals that are eaten: snapping turtle, rattlesnake, and the American alligator. My mind raced back to images of certain well traveled chefs who ate such exotic things. Andrew has to decide which one to give his fellow contestants to cook. I would have picked rattlesnake. I would bet that not one of those kids had every cooked with one before. He choose alligator and while he enjoys a nice pizza pie on the balcony, the kids get to cooking. But before that they had to go into the pantry to see which creature he had chosen. Mind you that these animals are enclosed. They are not walking about but still you get the obligatory scream. The alligator looks bored and, according to what I have read, the American alligator generally likes to stay away from humans.

Andrew choose poorly because many of them did know enough about alligator to make passable dishes. The trick is to keep it moist! Three ended up in the bottom in the end:Kyler, Jimmy and Mia. Jimmy was there because although his dish was okay, it was nothing that screamed MasterChef. More like Wednesday night dinner at Old Pop’s down the road. Okay but nothing that screamed exceptional. Both Kyler and Mia way overcooked the alligator making it tough and jerky like. No real hard decision here: Jimmy is saved sending Kyler and Mia home.

Next week:the infamous tag-team challenge returns with sushi determining whose team reigns supreme.

Odds & Ends
*Joe trying yoga and failing-priceless!
*Gordon at age 80 still looks good but the bushy eyebrows they gave Graham made him look a creature from a 1930’s movie with Lon Chaney.
*Joe putting a sock he wore on a unused food device was also kind of scary. Now I do not want to eat at his restaurant!

By The Numbers
Due to the State of the Union address, most broadcast networks used repeats to fill the evening. For the 8:00 p.m. hour that meant powerhouse NCIS was on repeat mode. According to TV By The Numbers , MasterChef Junior got a 1.8 rating in the 18-49 age group giving it a win over a repeat of NCIS. But remember those share numbers are funny things. MCJ won with less viewers (5.53 million) compared to NCIS with a share of 1.4/11.96 million eyeballs. Meaning even on a repeat night more people were actually watching a NCIS repeat than MCJ.

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