Things really started to heat up in the kitchen as the first ever Master Chef Junior finale took place. It was down to Dara and Alexander, both young chefs with extraordinary talent. Dara has won the judge’s respect with her Asian-inspired dishes, and Alexander’s performance has been stellar all along. It is perhaps one of the closest battles seen in a Master Chef series, and both competitors brought their A-game for the chance to be the first-ever Master Chef Junior champion.
The battle begins as the two competitors visit the pantry for their last selection of ingredients. They are greeted with a Skype call from their families, and the competition begins once the pantry time has ended. Emotions were high as the two young chefs worked their magic. Master Chef winner Luca was on hand to cheer on the young chefs, and touching scenes occurred as Alexander lent Dara some powdered sugar she forgot. The show’s former competitors were on hand also, cheering on their peers and making funny faces.
Dara cooked up her usual Asian-inspired offerings, beginning with an especially impressive two-part appetizer and a stunning main dish. Alexander’s appetizer wasn’t as appealing (as Gordon said, the ingredients were visually beautiful, but no serious technique was apparent), but he won the night with his perfectly-cooked veal chop and gnocchi. His gnocchi was remarked upon by all the judges as spectacular enough to be its own stand-alone meal. It was a very close match, but Alexander was eventually chosen as the first ever Master Chef Junior winner.
Some viewers seem to be up in arms about the decision, but Alexander has been a strong competitor throughout the season, and I’m sure the final choice was far from easy. The judges made good points about both dishes, and their expert opinions run the show. It may be important to remember also that Dara really only showed us one side throughout the competition with her Asian-inspired dishes. While this isn’t a bad thing in the slightest, variety is the spice of life. If she had left her comfort zone a bit more, perhaps she could’ve gained the competitive edge she needed to prevail. Nevertheless, we are certain a bright future in the culinary arts lies ahead for young Dara and many of the show’s previous contestants.
Regardless of what one thinks of the final dishes, the entire competition has been impressive. All of the young chefs did an amazing job, and it’s hard to imagine how they cope with the kind of pressure that sends most adults into panic and stage fright. They both kept it together for the most part and were successful. The finale pulled in a nice ratings spike for the broadcasting network, so we’re hoping to see Master Chef Junior back again for another season. In the meantime, Gordon Ramsay continues to deliver excellent culinary entertainment with his brand of shows. Nine or ninety, the chefs on these television shows continue to impress as some of us struggle to make toast without burning it.