THE TOP 20 JUNIOR HOME COOKS ARE REVEALED ON "MASTERCHEF JUNIOR"
Chef Aarón Sánchez Guest-Judges and
the Top 20 Face their First Mystery Box Challenge
on an All-New Episode of MASTERCHEF JUNIOR Airing Thursday, February 23 on FOX
Last night on MASTERCHEF JUNIOR, 12 young chef-testants joined eight previously announced junior home cooks to comprise this season's Top 20 finalists. When the episode begins, the 24 remaining competitors, hopeful to win a coveted white apron, were divided into groups of four, each getting a different challenge, including making a perfect steak worthy of the MASTERCHEF kitchen, preparing a delicious chicken dish, cooking a live lobster and producing a box of six perfectly identical cupcakes. The judges then decided which two kids from each group went home and which two went on to join the Top 20.
Throughout this season, the juniors will face a wide array of exciting new challenges, including one served up by former First Lady Michelle Obama; cooking a meal for more than 50 first responders; MASTERCHEF JUNIOR's first-ever vegan challenge from guest judge Mayim Bialik ("The Big Bang Theory"); and cooking for other VIPs, including Julie Bowen ("Modern Family") and the Muppets "Miss Piggy" and "Swedish Chef." At the end of the competition, one talented kid will be named America's next MASTERCHEF JUNIOR, taking home the MASTERCHEF JUNIOR trophy and a $100,000 grand prize.
In the next all-new episode, "Just Like Gordon," airing Thursday, Feb. 23 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX, celebrity chef Aarón Sánchez steps into the MASTERCHEF kitchen as a guest judge. The Top 20 young chefs will face their first mystery box challenge of the season, during which they will have to put their own spin on the most commonly eaten crop in the world - rice. Later in the kitchen, Chef Gordon Ramsay teaches the kids how to make his signature hand-roasted sea bass, which they must replicate.
A James Beard Award-winning chef, Aarón Sánchez is chef/owner of Mexican restaurant Johnny Sánchez, with locations in New Orleans and Baltimore. He co-starred on "Chopped" and "Chopped Junior," and is the author of two cookbooks - "Simple Food, Big Flavor: Unforgettable Mexican-Inspired Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours" and "La Comida del Barrio." In summer 2017, Sánchez will join Gordon Ramsay and Christina Tosi as the third judge throughout Season Eight of MASTERCHEF.
Watch/share a clip of the kids discussing why kid chefs are better than grown-ups:
Meet the MASTERCHEF JUNIOR Top 20 and find out their signature dishes:
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Signature Dish: Chicken Kiev with Parmesan Potatoes and Asparagus
Hometown: Jonesboro, GA
Signature Dish: Surf and Turf with Asparagus and Mashed Potatoes
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Signature Dish: Coconut Curry Chicken Over Jasmine Rice
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Signature Dish: Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Signature Dish: Roasted Lamb Chops with a Mint & Lemon Marinade, and Roasted Potatoes
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Signature Dish: Vegetable Stir Fry with Squid
Hometown: New York, NY
Signature Dish: Spaghetti with Meatballs and Marinara Sauce
Hometown: Sweetwater, TX
Signature Dish: Chicken Alfredo
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Signature Dish: Hickory-Smoked Pork Belly
Hometown: Whitestone, NY
Signature Dish: Causa Rellena de Pollo
Hometown: Milton, GA
Signature Dish: Oven-Baked Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce
Hometown: Sugar Hill, GA
Signature Dish: Grilled Steak with Homemade French Fries
Hometown: Rockport, MA
Signature Dish: Fresh Pasta with Homemade Marinara Sauce and Crostini
Hometown: Starkville, MS
Signature Dish: Chicken Pot Pie with Homemade Stock
Hometown: Thousand Oaks, CA
Signature Dish: Homemade Egg Ravioli
Hometown: Ringoes, NJ
Signature Dish: Red Pepper Pesto Pasta
Hometown: Concord, MA
Signature Dish: Chocolate Cake with Homemade Hot Fudge & Mint Whipped Cream
Hometown: Spring, TX
Signature Dish: Parmesan Chicken Tenders
Hometown: Houston, TX
Signature Dish: Smoked Salmon with Lemon Grass Kale
Hometown: West Bend, WI
Signature Dish: Angel Hair Pasta with Onion and Green Pepper Marinara
MASTERCHEF is produced by Endemol Shine North America and One Potato Two Potato, and is based on a format created by Franc Roddam and Endemol Shine. Elisabeth Murdoch, Eden Gaha, Robin Ashbrook, Gordon Ramsay, Adeline Ramage Rooney, Patricia Llewellyn and Ben Adler serve as executive producers. "Like" MASTERCHEF JUNIOR on Facebook at facebook.com/MasterChefJuniorFOX. Follow the series on Twitter @MasterChefJfFOX and join the discussion with #MasterChefJunior. Follow the judges on Twitter: Gordon Ramsay - @gordonramsay; and Christina Tosi - @christinatosi.
ABOUT ONE POTATO TWO POTATO
Renowned for award-winning original programming, One Potato Two Potato produces high-quality TV shows on both sides of the Atlantic, including the smash-hit HOTEL HELL, the blockbuster MASTERCHEF and irresistible spin-off MASTERCHEF JUNIOR, all for FOX; as well as "Best New Restaurant" and competition series "Food Court Wars." In the U.K., OPTP produces "Gordon Ramsay Behind Bars" and "Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape," for Channel 4; food biography and nostalgia series "My Kitchen," for UKTV's Good Food Channel; and "Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch," starring Tilly Ramsay for U.K. children's channel CBBC. OPTP has also produced two instructional cookery series featuring Gordon Ramsay, "Ultimate Home Cooking" and "Ultimate Cookery Course," both of which have sold all over the globe.
ABOUT STUDIO RAMSAY AND GORDON RAMSAY
Renowned for highly successful and award-winning original programming, multi-Michelin star chef Gordon Ramsay produces TV shows on both sides of the Atlantic seen by audiences worldwide, including his FOX shows MASTERCHEF, MASTERCHEF JUNIOR, HELL'S KITCHEN and MASTERCHEF CELEBRITY SHOWDOWN, as well as Bravo's "Best New Restaurant" and Food Network's competition series "Food Court Wars." In the U.K., he's produced "Gordon Ramsay Behind Bars" and "Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape" for Channel 4; food biography and nostalgia series "My Kitchen" for UKTV's Good Food Channel; two instructional cookery series, "Ultimate Home Cooking" and "Ultimate Cookery Course" for Channel 4; and the first two seasons of "Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch," starring Tilly Ramsay for U.K. children's channel CBBC, all under his One Potato Two Potato banner.
The next-generation multi-media production company STUDIO RAMSAY has a joint venture with All3Media to develop and produce both unscripted and scripted television shows, creating new formats and innovative programming that includes a scripted arm focused on food-related themes, and development of new talent on a global front. The catalogue of programs that Ramsay has worked on historically with All3Media via One Potato Two Potato, together with new original content he's currently developing, make for a unique and dynamic production and distribution partnership. Studio Ramsay's first production, live food variety show THE F WORD, will premiere Summer 2017 on FOX.
ABOUT ENDEMOL SHINE NORTH AMERICA
Endemol Shine North America delivers world-class content and compelling storytelling to multiple platforms in the U.S. and across the globe. Endemol Shine North America is part of Endemol Shine Group, the global content creator, producer and distributor with a diverse portfolio of companies that are behind some of the most prominent hit television formats and series in the world.
Its Endemol Shine Studios division develops and produces original scripted television programming in the U.S. for global exploitation and Endemol Shine Latino oversees all Spanish-language sales and development in both the U.S. and now across all of Latin America. Subsidiary production companies include Authentic Entertainment, Original Media, True Entertainment and 51 Minds Entertainment. In addition, Endemol Shine North America has a strategic partnership with Ryan Seacrest Productions.
Endemol Shine Group's companies in North America are behind such hit series as "Big Brother" (CBS), "The Biggest Loser" (NBC), "Ink Master" (Spike), "Kingdom" (AT&T Audience Network), MASTERCHEF (FOX), MASTERCHEF JUNIOR (FOX), "Hunted" (CBS), "Swamp People" (History), "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" (Bravo), "Steve Harvey" (NBCU), "T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle" (VH1), "Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge" (CMT), "Billion Dollar Buyer" (CNBC) and upcoming "Page Six TV" (Syndicated), SUPERHUMAN (FOX) and "I'm Dying Up Here" (Showtime).