Greg Gayne/Fox
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TV Show
S4 E1
November 06, 2015 at 10:36 PM EST


Kya also gets to reveal the Elimination Challenge ingredient to the other kids via a Looney Tunes-esque TNT box. She pushes down on the lever, and a shower of marshmallows rains down. The kids — and Gordon, let’s be real — love it. Kyndall especially loves it because she’s obsessed with sweets and desserts and points out that “candy saves your life.” You’re not wrong, Kyndall.

Our tiny chefs have one hour to make a fabulous dessert that highlights marshmallows. The judges scour the room to make sure the kids are using the marshmallows within their dishes, and not just tossing some on top, while Kya and Vivian cheer on their fellow contestants from marshmallow heaven. Throughout this entire hour, the kids are really supportive of one another, and it almost makes you want to forgo any type of elimination — almost. This is America, people! If we’re not forcing our children to crush each other’s dreams in healthy competition, then what are we even doing here?

Top 3:

Addison, 9, River Forest, IL

Chocolate-Marshmallow Cupcake (with cereal and ganache)

Addison becomes one of my favorite contestants the moment she starts saying things like “Kya is eight, and a really good influence for young home cooks.” I love Addison and her simple dream of owning a Chicago bakery that combines her love of desserts with her love of baseball, called “Batter Up Bakery.” Gordon doesn’t love the use of decorative flowers (use all the color and flowers you want, Addison — you do you!) but is wowed by the perfect consistency of the cupcake. He thinks Addison may give Christina a run for her money.

Sam, 10, Charleston, SC

Whoopie Pie (with raspberry and marshmallow cream and chocolate cookie batter)

Rock star Sam and his sweet mohawk makes whoopie pies because his grandfather taught him the recipe. Be still my heart! Not only is the sentiment lovely, but the whoopie pies are a hit with the judges. Graham loves the contrast between the filling and the cookie and thinks the presentation was spot on. They’re also all impressed with his mohawk. Um, duh.

Jesse, 11, New York, NY

Marshmallow Churro (with toasted marshmallow whipped cream)

Jesse is, admittedly, not much of a baker. He does, however, find marshmallows to be “pillows of yumminess,” so I think he’ll be just fine in this challenge. Christina agrees. His churros have the perfect texture (crispy on the outside, doughy on the inside, you know the one). Jesse and Christina are on the same wavelength, dessert-wise. Can I be on that wavelength? Because seriously, those churros need to be in my mouth ASAP.

Bottom 3:

Alexander, 10, Phoenix, AZ

Marshmallow Pie (with bananas and graham cracker crust)

Oh, Alexander! I had such high hopes for you. The dude rocks a bandana with such fierceness that even Gordon has to get in on the fun. The judge helps him with his overflowing raspberry sauce, and then they work on some karate moves together. It is, quite frankly, adorable. Sadly, Alexander spends too much time talking up his orange belt status and not enough time plating his marshmallow pie. When he’s called up to see Christina, even he knows his presentation is a disaster. The first tears of the season! Christina tries to find a silver lining and praises him for a dish that “celebrated marshmallows,” but she’s not fooling anyone.

Ian, 8, Beverly Shores, IN

Apple Crostata (with toasted marshmallows)

“I swear to god, I’m gonna pull this off.” Whoa, Ian, let’s take the intensity level down a notch, okay? We’re only talking marshmallows here. Save that kind of attitude for deboning a duck or something. Ian also arrives to the judging table already defeated. He knows his marshmallows are more burnt than toasted, and he couldn’t even use his whipped cream because it “turned into vomit.” Gordon is a little bummed that Ian only used his marshmallows for a garnish, rather than incorporating them into the crostata, and thinks that the time factor is what did him in this round.

Kade, 9, Morgan City, LA

Banana Split (with sweet potato biscuits and marshmallow gravy)

Kade attempts to build a dish that incorporates both sweet and savory elements, but he may be in over his head. While using a blowtorch on his ‘mallows, he sets them on fire. Kade must be my kitchen soul mate, because as his dessert goes up in flames he merely looks around confused and asks no one in particular, “Um, should I blow on it?” It is hilarious and scary, as most things are when 9 year olds are holding blowtorches. Gordon wishes Kade had started over once his marshmallows and chocolate burned, but there are no do-overs in this kitchen, son!

Though all of the kid-testants made a valiant, marshmallow-filled effort, Kade and Alexander are sent packing. Both boys are disheartened, but Kade is comforted by the fact that he’ll have friends from this until he’s 50 (then he’s straight-up ditching them), and Alexander seems content enough with his white apron and schoolyard bragging rights. On their way out, one of the kids yells, “Never stop cooking!” and I sincerely hope that when all of these kids are of age, they go out and get that tattooed on their forearms. That’s a lesson that goes beyond the kitchen: That’s a lesson for life.

What do you guys think of the season 4 contestants? Any early favorites? Who else is excited (and terrified) to watch children shuck some scallops next week?

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