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MasterChef Junior S01E03: STRANGE COMPETITION

[Ed. Note: Sarah Ramos is an actress, director, and writer. Fox’s new series MasterChef Junior combines her (I assume) love of children, chefs, and cooking competitions in which children pretend to be adult chefs, so she will be taking us through the season!]

I’m kind of depressed about this week’s MasterChef Junior. :( Like Gordon Ramsay says, I “have egg on my face,” but not because these kids can cook better than I can. I have a different problem. I want to know these kids’ full names so I can find them on Instagram, but I realized that their last names are pretty much hidden from the Internet so that creeps and perverts (OF WHICH I AM NEITHER) can’t find them. So I have egg on my face for wanting, and trying, to find them. :( Fox does explicitly tell us their hometowns, which isn’t information that I want, but is probably a more dangerous piece of information than their last names. Just saying. I’m not telling the police how to do their jobs, I’m just a proud middle-aged woman who wants to know where her daughter is enjoys the fun show with her sissy and brother.

This week’s episode is called “Whip It,” even though the whipped cream part only lasts about 10 minutes and the Beef Wellington part lasts about 500 minutes. To begin, Ramsay claps his legs at the dogs kids telling them to come to him. (And I’m the one being questioned!!??) (The world is indifferent to our pain.) Gavin, Alexander, and Kaylen have to whip the cream by hand, which requires skill, strength, and stamina. They have to make stiff peaks and then hold their whisk in the air and say, “whipped!” But where it gets really good is when, afterwards, the kids climb up on ladders and hold their whipped (or not-so-whipped, LOL) cream over the heads of the judges. As my friend Michael said, “strange competition.” Yes. What are these kids going to do when this all ends? What are they going to do when people, instead of taking time out of their day to invent silly kiddie activities, and instead of saying “sugar” instead of “shit” to protect them, just say things like, I don’t know, “move, bitch” and “seriously, I’m not interested in your sexual advances”? I mean. Look, I’m just a well-adjusted middle-aged woman watching kids cook on TV, wondering normal things about their lives, and letting you know the world is complicated. When Gavin’s un-whipped cream slimes Joe Bastianich, Jewels says, “he looks like Freddy Kreuger meets the Michelin guy,” which is a weird observation.

Sarah (age 9) shouts “Alexander, dump cream on my head” -– also weird. (You cannot arrest an innocent middle-aged woman.) And then Dara, in her inflatable bow, tells us that “there was cream all over them,” which was true! Alexander wins the challenge, so he gets to pick the teams for the 65-minute Beef Wellington Tag-Team Challenge. None of the kids have ever made beef wellington.

There is truly nothing like a mix of children, high financial stakes, time pressure, and unwanted teammates. Alexander says, “I picked Troy but now he’s just disagreeing with me.” Everyone is saying stuff like, “You gotta hustle. We don’t have all the time in the world, you know,” “Quick, quick, quick, quick, quick, you really have to go quick!” “Don’t drop it,” and “I don’t know how long Dara’s been cooking, but I’m nine years old and I made it this far.” Although I have never been part of a team that falls apart because I am too bossy, insecure, or not present in the moment, I can tell that these teams’ foundations were made of sand. I personally think that Fox should make a show about kids learning how to communicate using empathy. Or about kids writing songs! That would be fun.


Gordon Ramsay says that having a second cook in the kitchen while making beef wellington is a “hindrance,” but three out of five teams make phenomenal wellingtons! Ramsay tells Troy and Alexander to talk him through the layers, which they say are puff pastry, mushrooms, pate foie gras, and filet steak coated in mushrooms. But Ramsay cut open the steak pastry to find, not the expected ingredients, but a little baby bird!

Ew. Just kidding. Do you guys still like me? Judge Graham Elliott tastes the wellington and tells the boys that he “can’t find fault in it,” but also that it is “ALMOST a complete grand slam.” He gives no further explanation. Then Joe says, “Next we want to try the wellington of Sarah and Dara,” which is weird Olde English-y wording, Joe! Sarah tells Joe that she dropped the wellington earlier even though she only dropped the pan, and Joe tells Sarah that in his restaurants, not everyone in the dining area needs to know what happens in the kitchen.

The judges say that the wellington of Sarah and Dara is better than the wellington of Troy and Alexander, but they don’t say why. Pretty cool. Jack’s and Kaylen’s meat got overcooked because of something about mushrooms. It’s confusing because Ramsay asks if they forgot to put on the mushrooms, and they say “No, chef,” but then Ramsay says, “I’m struggling. Are there any mushrooms?” Eek! I don’t know!

Graham Elliott gives Sofia and Gavin “an A or B+ but probably closer to an A,” even though Gavin made the pastry super thick. Jewels made her’s and Roen’s wellington too salty. :( Since she made a shitty Korean burger last week, they are the weakest links and have to go home. In Roen’s final moments, he says, “I really want[ed] to finish and get that trophy,” and “the biggest thing I’ll take away from in this experience is probably that apron,” which, I mean, I’m just — this is EXHAUSTING, you’re too materialistic, and we are never getting back together. Thank you. It’s been a long life.