MasterChef Junior, Season 3, Episode 5: Bananas For All and Matilda’s Favorite Dish

MasterChef-Junior-LogoWith a nod to a Steven Speilberg movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a banana is majestically lowered to reveal it is the mystery ingredient. The gimmicks just keep on coming for MCJ and this was probably the episode they wisely decided not to show a primate in it. It looked cool with the steam billowing, the lights, and the judges looking up like this might be the first contact with a sentient species from outer space. Nope, just a banana being lowered by a wire but it looked impressive.

I love Bananas Foster but incorporating bananas into a dish can be tricky. Again the kids amaze us with their creativity and the top selected are Jenna for her well received Coconut Shrimp with banana puree, Nathan with his Banana Caramel Macarons that wowed the judges, and Ryan Kate’s well executed Caribbean Spiced Pork with spicy banana sauce. Wow! The judges were presented with three great dishes to decide who would win the challenge. And Nathan wins for his brilliantly executed macarons. For Ryan Kate though, it is her swan song because the next challenge will not go well for her.

Daughter in the House
Gordon’s daughter Matilda stops by to heckle her father. She says her father is a softie but does walk around the house naked (just joking she says-we hope!). She reveals her  favorite dish their dad cooks is Salmon en croute. After she reveals the dish, the look on the kids faces shows they are facing quite a challenge. Jenna’s smile turns to a real concerned look. Ryan Kate has never heard of the dish. Fish in pastry is not a new concept, actually quite old and something many countries have. Salmon en croute though is an upscale and sophisticated dish that has garnered a certain amount of fame. Gordon Ramsay’s recipe can be read at RedOnline.

With this as the elimination challenge, our young cooks will be put to the test. Matilda has made sure all the necessary ingredients are at their stations. As she lists them, she pronounces one herb in the American way:bey-zuhl. Gordon always pronounces basil as baz-uhl getting him often mocked by Joe and Graham. That aside, this challenge requires a replication of the Ramsay dish. This will really tell us who really has got the chops to make it to the end. Gordon as always cannot help teasing someone, in particular Andrew. He asks if he would like to take his daughter to dinner. Matilida (called Tillie by Gordon) is not amused and tries to get him to stop. She then tells her father that she will not marry a chef because her father is a “nutter.” Amusing looks all around.

Riley looks like he is in trouble. And Ryan Kate is nervous as well. You have to watch that pastry to make sure it cooks right. You do not want it too thick or it might be underdone. Jenna runs into a major hurdle when her Hollandaise sauce breaks. Andrew, who has extra time, decides to help her out by telling her what to do. And it saves her Hollandaise. Andrew does a good thing here, something not often seen on the adult version of the show. With all the cooking done, the judging begins. Jenna’s dish turns out near perfect and Gordon reminds her she has the ability to go far. Andrew’s dish gets compliments as well and his helping Jenna gets high marks too. Sadly Kayla’s dish looks not so good. Way too much pastry with too little salmon but worse-underdone pastry. Oh dear, you can hear those sounds of doom here. Ayala, who does not get much screen time, has a delicious dish but the sauce is very spicy. Ryan Kate has a good looking dish except that she folded the pastry wrong over her salmon resulting it being overcooked. Death gong as well for her and for Riley. His dish has many technical flaws. The pastry is raw, potatoes needed color, and the Hollandaise more like scrambled eggs. Jimmy’s dish is near perfect (he has cooked the dish before). Gordon loves the dish and Jimmy is secure in the top six. Sadly though two must go.

The winners were Jimmy and Andrew(who gets the top honor). Ryan Kate, Riley, and Kayla are on the bottom tonight. It is sad to see Riley on the bottom. Such a talented kid but this challenge got the best of him. As it did for Ryan Kate. Riley thinks Andrew will take it while Ryan Kate calls it for Nathan. Now we are down to the top six.  And next week they get literally thrown in the frying pan when they take over service at a restaurant, And Gordon is expediting. Yikes! And there is a fire thrown in for good measure.

By The Numbers
According to TV By The Numbers  NCIS got a 2.6 rating with 18 million viewers, SharkTank got 1.9 for 7 million viewers. And MasterChef Junior came in third at 1.6 rating and just under 5 million viewers. I will have to go back and check the numbers, but it looks like MCJ lost viewers. Fox’s numbers for the night are not that great. MCJ gets the highest ratings while The Mindy Project got at 1.o rating with just over 2 million viewers.

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