The best young home cooks between the ages of eight and 13 have been cast to compete in Season 8 of “MasterChef Junior” on Fox. Once again, Gordon Ramsay leads the judging panel and is joined by renowned chef Aarón Sánchez and Emmy-winning talk show host Daphne Oz. The winner of “MasterChef Junior” wins the coveted trophy and $100,000. They’ll also take home a brand new Viking kitchen, amazing countertop appliances, kitchen tools, bakeware and a trip to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
SEE Aarón Sánchez on ‘MasterChef Junior’ season 8 and challenging Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen: ‘I could kick his ass’
Below, read our minute-by-minute “MasterChef Junior” recap of Season 8, Episode 14, titled “Junior Edition: The Semi-Final” to find out what happened Tuesday, June 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. Then be sure to sound off in the comments section about your favorite young cooks on Fox’s reality TV show and who you think has what it takes to win the entire competition.
SEE Daphne Oz on joining Gordon Ramsay for ‘MasterChef Junior’
8:00 p.m. — Tonight Grayson, Ivy and Liya go head-to-head in front of a live audience with a surprise visit from their loved ones. The chefs have one hour to prepare a dish inspired by their families for each judge. The two chefs who manage to overcome the added pressure of the live audience will move on to the finals next week. Let’s go!
8:10 p.m. — The semi-finalists are excited to see a live audience in the MasterChef kitchen. Things get even more emotional when their families join them on stage. But now it’s time to get to work! The three young cooks will make three identical, stunning dishes for the judges. Their 60 minutes starts now!
8:20 p.m. — After 15 minutes all of these kids look cool as a cucumber. No major mistakes and no meltdowns so far. Gordon, Daphne and Aaron take turns chatting each of them up while they cook. Ivy hits a slight snag when she puts unnecessary focus on her asparagus and is late to get the poaching liquid on the stove for her halibut.
8:40 p.m. — As time winds down the young home cooks put the finishing touches on their plates. Now it’s time for the judges to taste each dish and decide who deserves a spot in the grand finale. Liya serves a Pork Dumpling with Salt & Pepper Blue Prawn and a Spicy Aioli. The connection to her family is culture. Dumplings are important in her culture and bring her a lot of good memories. Gordon says it looks like it came from the cover of a food magazine. The dumplings are exquisite. It belongs in any restaurant in America. Daphne says Liya nailed it, but she could use a little sauce. Aaron loves the way everything on the dish is thought-provoking. He would like a taste of lemon or lime zest.
8:45 p.m. — Grayson serves Pan-Seared Hamachi with Crab, Yuzu Aioli and Radish. It’s inspired by all the different dinners he’s had around Austin. It also reminds him of when he went crabbing with his God-parents. Gordon says it looks like it came out of a top Japanese restaurant. It oozes sophistication and the hamachi is seared beautifully. Daphne thinks his precision is fun to watch. Aaron is in awe of the young chef, but it could use a few more fresh herbs. Grayson was almost perfect tonight.
8:50 p.m. — Ivy serves Halibut with Celery Root Puree, Asparagus, Champagne Beurre Blanc and Caviar. Ivy’s dad makes a lot of asparagus and her grandpa eats a lot of fish. She threw in the caviar just because she loves to make things a bit fancy! Gordon says he feels transported back to Paris because it looks gorgeous. The halibut is cooked absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, Daphne’s piece is a little raw. Aaron’s fish is perfect and they all think the beurre blanc is delicious.
8:59 p.m. — The judges must deliberate and decide which two chefs will move on to the finale. Gordon thinks this is the strongest final three they’ve ever had. Liya’s dish missed the cooking broth and the filling was very pork heavy. Grayson had a little too much hamachi. Ivy had one piece of raw fish. So who goes home? Sadly, this is the end of the road for Ivy. The eight-year old bursts into tears before Gordon tells her to “hold her head up high.” A second-grader has never gone this far in the competition. Grayson and Liya will face off in the grand finale on Tuesday, June 21!