'MasterChef Junior' Crowns First-Ever Winner After a Sweet and Dramatic Showdown
The inaugural season of the U.S. version of "MasterChef Junior" wrapped up on Friday night, November 8. Alexander Weiss and Dara Yu were battling it out to be the first-ever winner of the cooking competition, but maintained their sweet and kind gestures to each other despite the intense battle.
For their final challenge, both young cooks were tasked to prepare a "perfectly composed" three-course meal in 90 minutes. While preparing their meal, Dara couldn't find an ingredient, but Alexander came to the rescue by sharing his with her. He also showed some support when Dara felt light-headed with about 20 minutes left to go, giving her a reassuring pat on the back.
After the minor drama, Alexander and Dara served their meal for the judges, Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot, who were nicer than they had ever been seen on the adults version of "MasterChef".
Dara had an advantage with her appetizer, a duo of ahi tuna, which showed more technical prowess than Alexander's shrimp and heirloom tomato crostini, which Gordon called delicious, but "so much simpler than Dara's."
The second round went to Alexander with his pan-seared veal chop served over potato gnocchi with sage and shallot butter sauce. Gordon gushed, "Young man, that is one of the best visually cooked veal chops anywhere in the country tonight." Dara served spot prawns with wontons in a Thai curry sauce for her entree, but Graham said the curry sauce was a bit too thick.
Alexander served a deconstructed napoleon cannoli for his dessert, while Dara prepared a basil lemon shrimp and heirloom tomato crostini. The judges praised both of them for their inventiveness.
After some deliberation, the judges decided to give the winner title to Alexander, who took home the grand prize consisting of a trophy and $100,000. Still, Dara took her loss in stride, saying in her final interview, "It was all worth it. I'm definitely gonna cook more ... I mean, I'm a winner. I made it to the finale."
Alexander praised Dara, "I congratulate Dara because she did an amazing job," adding, "I think this is an inspiration for kids to cook ... It means the world to me."
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