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MasterChef Junior recap: The Good, the Bad, and the Smelly

The judges get dipped, and the tiny chefs face a challenge that really stinks.

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Greg Gayne / FOX

MasterChef Junior

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Gordon Ramsay
Reality TV

How was your Thanksgiving, MasterChef Junior fans? Still feeling a bit stuffed? Well, they say the best remedy for a food coma is watching 18 young cooks whip up some imaginative dishes that will either earn them praise from their idols, or send them home to bury their sorrows in some Thanksgiving leftovers. So, it looks like you came to the right place!

Tonight we’re treated to the first ever MasterChef Junior team relay — and it celebrates the delicacy that is seven-layer dip. You know the one: It’s full of beans, corn, salsa, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, and topped with copious amounts of cheese. It’s disgusting and beautiful and you can never say no to it. Addison knows what I mean. She wishes she could “dive right into it and swim in it.” Did Addison and I just become best friends?


The kids are split into three teams of six, in order to tackle each layer one by one. The sixth chef will cover two layers, sour cream and cheese, which are arguably the most important (CHEESE). The winning team will get an advantage in the Elimination Test, and — more importantly — they’ll get to dunk one chef’s face directly into the dip.

The relay starts and these chefs are into it. There’s lots of screaming about chopping things faster, which, like, please stop telling tiny people to use giant knives more erratically. Our judges try to spin the challenge as a test of knife skills, but again, we all know this race is about eating massive amounts of sour cream. Don’t be ashamed of this, judges. We all have dreams.

The three teams stay pretty close throughout the race, but in the end it is Ian’s team (Jesse, Amaya, JJ, Zac, and Mia) that finishes first. Since they were playing for Christina Tosi, Ian gets to smash her pretty little face into the bowl of freshly made dip. Don’t think Graham and Gordon miss out on the fun though — they are very quickly dunked by their team captains, Avery and Kya, respectively. Though it looks like fun, it actually seems like a waste of perfectly good dip. I’m very concerned about the dip, you guys.


Besides bragging rights in the seven-layer dip street wars (very gritty, so I hear), Ian’s team wins immunity from elimination and they get to select the challenge ingredients for their fellow competitors. That’s right, the fate of the other chefs lies in the hands of these six kids. They have three options, each one a category of food that describes one of the judges. Christina’s ingredients include all things spicy: hot peppers, chili oil, and wasabi root, among other things. Graham opts for smelly foods (he’s always pretty pungent post iron-pumping, he claims), including garlic, rose water, blue cheese, and truffle oil. Gordon selects “wrinkly” as his modifier (I guess there are no foods in the “devilishly handsome” category), and offers up cauliflower, calf brains, and raisins as some ingredient options.

Ian’s team can either be strategic, and select a category that would be damaging to the other cooks (“wrinkly” sounds particularly challenging), or they can be kind, and choose ingredients that would help their friends make some amazing dishes. They choose to be kind because these kids know the true meaning of life and should probably start some kind of self-help seminar after this show ends. Smelly it is!

Addison, 9, River Forest, IL

Tom Kha Gai (with garlic chicken meatballs)

Addison is the perfect example of what the judges refer to as “a contestant who embraces the challenge.” All they’re asked to do is incorporate at least one of the smelly ingredients into a dish, but Addison chooses to use four: garlic, fish sauce, corn nuts, and rose water. Her Thai dish with a twist is a big risk, but the judges know that if anyone can handle big flavors, it’s Addison. They’re right – her soup is bold, flavorful, and all four of her smelly ingredients work together to make something special. Gordon is a bit in disbelief that the dish worked so well, and calls Addison a “force to be reckoned with.” TELL US SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW, GORDON.

NEXT: Derek injects the kitchen with a little more science