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
masterchef-iiLast episode on Masterchef Junior, 12 young chef-testants joined eight previously announced junior home cooks to comprise this season’s Top 20 finalists. Hoping to earn a coveted white apron, the 24 remaining competitors split up 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 a permanent judge on MasterChef Season Eight.

Watch/share a clip of the kids discussing why kid chefs are better than  grown-ups.

“MasterChef Junior” Season Five Top 20 Finalists
Adam – Age 12, Sacramento
Mashu – Age 13, Thousand Oaks
Afnan – Age 12, Jonesboro
Jasmine – Age 11, Milton
Justise – Age 11, Sugar Hill
Avani – Age 8, Chicago
Charlie- Age 9, Chicago
Evan – Age 10, Chicago
Lila – Age 9, Rockport
Sam – Age 9, Concord
Mark – Age 13, Starkville
New Jersey
Peyton – Age 10, Ringoes
New York
Cydney – Age 10, Brooklyn
Donovan – Age 9, Brooklyn
Eddie – Age 9, New York City
Gonzalo – Age 11, Whitestone
Elisabeth – Age 9, Sweetwater
Shayne – Age 13, Spring
Solomon – Age 10, Houston
Sydney – Age 9, West Bend

“Like” MasterChef Junior on Facebook  Follow the series on Twitter  and join the discussion with #MasterChefJunior. Follow the judges on Twitter: Gordon Ramsay  and Christina Tosi 

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