About a month ago, my friends Lyn and Cho were raving about this great cooking competition/show wherein the cooks were 12 and below (hence the Junior in the title). After a few conversations of just listening in, I thought why not check it out. After watching the first episode, I was hooked.
The show started with 5500 applicants that they narrowed down to 50 and divided into 5 groups of 10. They asked each group to cook a dish within 45 minutes depending on their theme (international food, dessert, seafood, young cooks (8-10yrs) and meat). From the 10 dishes of each heat, they pick the top 4 dishes which will make up the Top 20.
These kids are beyond amazing. They astound me with their skills, creating dishes that I’ve only ever seen in fancy restaurants. Some standout dishes for me (in the Top 50) were Isabella (12) with her Ricotta Gnocchi, Sam’s (11) Quatre-Quarts, Alex’s (11) Le Gout de la Mer (Taste of the Sea), Siena (9) and her Lemon and Lime Curd Tart and Anthony (10) with his Garlic Prawns. I can imagine actually ordering these food!
The Top 20 then had to be winnowed down to the Top 12 contestants who will be able to actually enter and cook in the Master Chef kitchen. In the first challenge, an invention test with 2 core ingredients – chicken and vegetables – the best 6 dishes (created within 1 hour and 15 minutes) were chosen to be in the Top 12. The remaining 14 contestants then battled it out with a pressure test, duplicating a dish brought in by a guest chef, and the best 6 dishes rounded up the remaining 6 spots of the Top 12.
I really wanted to be able to taste the twin’s dishes, Isabella and her Nonna’s cotolette and Sofia’s canneloni. They seem to be sooooo good! I wasn’t surprised that they both were in the Top 6 from the first challenge.
The second challenge, the pressure test, was brought in by guest chef Callum Hann (who I believe, participated in the Masterchef competition in 2010). The 14 remaining young cooks needed to duplicate his Chocolate Croissant Pudding with Berries, Cream and Chocolate Sauce within the 1 hour time limit.
I really wanted to taste Pierre’s and Lucy’s (both 11) chocolate croissant pudding. Pierre’s was declared to be tasting almost like Callum’s while Lucy was dubbed the “Princess of Pudding” from hers. (So these must be some kick-ass puddings. 😛)
The Top 12 was ultimately composed of Alex (11), Jack (12), the twins Sofia and Isabella (12), Siena (9), Sam (11), Emily (12), Cassidy (12), Pierre (12), Lucy (11), Anthony (10) and Nick (10). Coming up to the Top 12, my favorites would have to be the twins and Pierre. The twins are just awe-inspiring. They seem to be very skilled and very good at what they’re doing. Pierre is just adorable – very serious in the kitchen.
This show is really addicting. And I love the dishes these kids come up. Makes me be inspired to cook and to ultimately encourage (my future) kids to cook if they so want.
Junior MasterChef Australia can be seen on StarWorld in the Philippines.
Sundays 19:15-21:05, Mondays 18:25-19:15 and 22:50-23:40, Tuesdays 11:55-12:45 and 18:25-19:15, Wednesdays 11:55-12:45 and Saturdays 12:50-13:45.
*all pictures taken as screen captures from the episodes.