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It's Junior MasterChef,
and the hunt to find the country's most exciting young cook is back on.
From thousands of applicants,
24 hopefuls have made it through to the heats.
Now, judges John Torode and Donal Skehan
have to decide who will be good enough
to win the title of Junior MasterChef Champion 2014.
Four new young faces, four young cooks.
We have no idea what they're going to do, but we do know one thing -
they love food.
We have one semifinal place to give,
and there's two really tough tests our contestants face today.
First they will have to create the ultimate pasta dish
and then they'll cook their own incredible menus.
Competing in today's heat are Jonah, Abigail, Coco and Kais.
Nervous. Very, very nervous.
Excited, but nervous.
I entered the MasterChef competition
because I do like a challenge.
I think anyone could win
cos everybody's probably
really good cooks.
I'm just excited to see what's going to come.
I'm feeling very excited.
I just want to get on with it and get going and get cooking.
Today's first test,
they're going to make a pasta dish.
But before they start cooking, we're going to give it a go.
-Are you ready?
-Well, first of all, you've got to wash your hands.
To create the ultimate pasta,
the contestants will be given three trays of ingredients to choose from.
One for the pasta, including pasta dough,
one to make the sauce
and one for the meat and fish.
Right, Johnny Boy, what are you making?
Ravioli filled with peas and chilli,
and I'm going to serve it
with little tiny, tiny, tiny polpettine,
little tiny meatballs.
What are you making?
I'm just making a really simple pasta.
I'm getting those wonderful base flavours in there
and some lemon zest, garlic,
and I'm going to make a great sauce
with some peas, some ricotta, some double cream,
a little bit of salmon,
and I've actually just chopped up those lasagne sheets
and made some tagliatelle.
I think the key to perfectly-cooked pasta
is still to have that little bit of bite,
the al dente.
Here is one of my big tips when you do pasta.
Pasta and sauce must become one.
You're taking your time over there.
Yeah, that's right, that's what's commonly known as cooking.
Ooh, nearly forgot, the last, most important thing.
Yes. Got to have cheese.
Ravioli filled with peas and chilli,
served with little meatballs and a sage and black butter sauce.
A smoked salmon, dill and ricotta tagliatelle.
Really, really easy.
I reckon it's time to see what they can do.
Let's do it.
Hi, guys. Welcome to the Junior MasterChef kitchen.
We know that you love to cook.
Show us how good you are.
Your first test is to create your ultimate or best pasta dish.
One bowl of pasta from each of you, please.
The best bowl of pasta you've cooked so far in your life.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Remember, if you try this at home,
make sure you have a responsible adult with you.
12-year-old Jonah is from Crewe in the Northwest.
He started cooking when he was five
and likes to grow his own ingredients like parsley and chilli.
I'm not feeling nervous at all.
I just think, well, I know a lot about cooking,
so I'll just try and do my best.
Jonah, welcome to Junior MasterChef.
Do you think it'll be challenging to do this pasta test?
Well, I'm pretty good with pasta
but the ingredients weren't to my liking, you know.
Jonah, what else can I give you, mate, to make it...
I've giving you prawns, chicken, salmon, meat, onions,
what else do you want?
I was hoping there'd be like some garlic there
or something like that.
-There is garlic!
-There is garlic there.
That's what I call ingredients blindness.
He couldn't see the garlic, but now he's found his way
and Jonah seems to be well on the way to making a good bowl of sauce.
12-year-old Kais recently broke his arm playing football
but is still able to cook.
His signature dish is spicy fried chicken.
I first got into cooking when I was about six years old.
I just like experimenting with food.
It's kind of a hobby.
Basically, I just really enjoy cooking.
What do you think you're going to make from this?
-Do you have an idea?
-I'm going to try and make like chilli...
kind of chilli pasta with some chopped tomatoes.
Beautiful. Kais, besides cooking, what other hobbies do you have?
Football, swimming, debating.
So, Kais, if you don't agree with our comments today,
are you going to debate them?
He's really gone for it. He's whacking in lots of chilli.
If he likes chilli, that's what he should do -
serve lots of chilli.
The good thing is at least you can see it
before you can eat it cos it's chopped up big and chunky.
Halfway, guys, 25 minutes gone.
11-year-old Coco cooks for her family twice a week
and would like to be a chef or a baker when she's older.
I started cooking when I was about five,
helping my mum with things like cupcakes,
and I'd get into a big mess!
What have you decided to cook for us?
This type of pasta and a chicken sauce.
Well, Coco, you've got loads to do, so we'll leave you at it,
and best of luck.
The trickiest thing I've ever made would probably be filo pastry
because it's making sure the sheets are like really thin
without breaking it.
Abigail is 11 and lives in Essex.
She cooks for her parents, three sisters and two brothers every day.
I think cooking makes me feel happy that I'm doing something
to help Mum in the house apart from cleaning up.
Yeah, I don't like cleaning up.
You've got a massive great smile on your face.
Tell us what you've decided to cook for us.
I've decided to cook some ravioli and spaghetti bolognese.
Besides cooking, what other hobbies do you have?
I have my own dog walking business and I'm hoping to,
in the future, have a restaurant for vegans and vegetarians,
cos you don't get many.
Dog walking and the restaurant. Which one, though?
Hmm, I think it's going to be the restaurant.
Abigail is so excited about cooking today that she's chosen to do
two dishes, not just one.
I'm really excited to see what they taste like.
Final two minutes, guys. You need to start plating up, please.
That's it. Time's up. All done.
It's now judgment time.
Kais' ultimate pasta dish
is a tomato, beef, chilli and basil sauce,
served on penne pasta, which is tube shaped.
Kais, that's really good. I like heat in my meat sauce.
The only thing I would want you to be aware of is that
if you get those big chunks of chilli
and someone bites into them, you're going to really overpower.
I like the sauce.
I think it's rich and it's fiery.
I think it's got the lovely sweetness of tomato.
I think it probably, if you wanted to,
could have some more herbs running through it
but, actually, Kais, well done, you.
Happy, very, very happy. They seemed to like the dish.
On the whole, I think I've done really well
and I'm just really pleased with myself.
Coco has also cooked penne pasta and served them with chicken,
smoked salmon and mushrooms in a creamy white sauce.
I really like that wonderful, rich sauce
which is very well seasoned with the salty salmon and the woody mushrooms
and that really well-cooked chicken.
I think it's a tasty thing. Good job, you.
Coco, I love the earthiness of the mushrooms in there.
I do think you need to get it all mixed together
but it's really, really great.
You've great flavour in there, and you should be totally proud
of the work you've done in the kitchen today.
I'm happy with how it went.
I think I did quite well.
I'm looking forward to the next challenge
cos I can get the chance to cook my own dishes.
Jonah's ultimate pasta dish is spaghetti with a tomato,
beef, chilli and mozzarella sauce.
You've presented it really well and it looks pretty,
and it tastes really good, too.
I think you've got really great heat in there.
The chilli really whacks you around the head and it wakes you up.
All in all, this is a really great start
and a really good-tasting dish.
Meaty, fiery, sweet, sharp, gutsy.
-Jonah, you must be happy with that.
I'm having a lot of fun today.
I've enjoyed the first challenge.
It was a bit, you know, argh, but other than that,
I've enjoyed it a lot.
Last up is Abigail, who has made two dishes.
Like John, she rolled her own pasta to make ravioli
and filled it with ricotta, dill and onions.
Her second dish is spaghetti bolognese.
Your sauce is delicious.
It's rich with tomato, it's meaty, it's got a bit of spice to it.
However, you have left in your frying pan a huge amount of sauce.
I want my sauce with that spaghetti!
With the ravioli, you've got great taste in there.
You've got the dill, you've got the ricotta.
It just kind of transports me to Scandinavia
and I have an instant holiday in mind.
-Two really tasty dishes. Well done.
I'm very pleased from what the judges said,
because it's great that I've been able to make bolognese
and ravioli in just 50 minutes,
and I even had spare time.
Now things get really interesting.
We've had your ultimate pasta dish and now the challenge is
to cook two brilliant dishes that show off who you are as a cook.
There's only one semifinal place up for grabs,
so we are going to need you to work hard.
They now need to showcase their best dishes because,
at the end, only one of them will go through to the semifinal.
Coco, really brilliant smells going on on your bench.
What are you cooking for us?
Pork swirl on a bed of sweet pancetta salad
and orange, chocolate goo pudding.
How do you swirl the pork?
You have like a loin of pork that's cut in half
and you put all the herbs you want onto it,
and Parma ham, and then you just roll it up.
Anything you're concerned about today with these two dishes, Coco?
Not really. I think it'll all go fine.
Brilliant. I'm looking forward to a pork swirl and a bit of goo.
Coco's first course is a pork swirl.
If it's all lovely and moist, it could be a beautiful thing.
And that dessert,
we are in for a treat if she gets it right.
My first course is
a spicy, sweet potato Jamaican dumpling soup.
The next course would be a coconut and coriander salmon
with vegetable rice and a rich curry.
Big, bright, bold flavours.
Are these the sorts of ingredients you love to cook with?
Yeah, these are the ingredients I would mostly cook with, yeah.
-Good on you, Abigail. Good luck.
Salmon works really well with strong flavours
because it's an oily fish, so it can take the heat.
I'm really excited to see what she does with all those spices.
You're at the halfway point, guys.
You need to be thinking of both your dishes now.
Kais, what are you going to cook for us?
I'm cooking Kais' fried chicken.
Kais' fried chicken, I like it.
So we've got brown sugar, onion powder, oregano, garlic powder.
Mix it together, it makes like a nice rub for the chicken.
What's it being served with?
Spaetzle, it's a German dumpling.
Very good. And your dessert?
Is cookie tower.
Kais, I look forward to every single bit of it.
A tower of cookies.
I am in heaven right now.
He's got two whole blocks of chocolate in three cookies.
I think you and I are going to have to run home after that lot.
Eight minutes left to go, guys.
The smells are incredible in here.
Jonah. Tell us about your two courses.
So my first course is pasta puttanesca,
which I'll serve with spaghetti.
And it's got anchovies and olives and chilli,
so it's spicy and really nice.
The dessert is a chocolate brownie
served with a white chocolate vanilla cream.
Ooh, that sounds good.
Well, that pasta dish is absolutely exquisite.
It's really, really tasty.
Hopefully, I should get through.
Jonah's dishes sound like they're uncomplicated,
but they're quite difficult to get right.
Making sure the pasta is cooked well, the sauce is made well,
the brownie is done properly,
and the mixture of cream and white chocolate together doesn't split.
Sounds simple, but quite difficult.
Final two minutes.
That's it, time's up. Step away from your bench, please.
Coco has cooked a pork swirl, which is stuffed with apples,
sage and pancetta.
It's served with a beetroot and pancetta salad and croutons.
I think the pork in the centre is cooked beautifully.
I think it's seasoned really well. I love the richness of that sage.
I think the salad is delicious.
I would lose the croutons, I don't think you need them.
I think the salad and the pork is a really special,
really quite interesting dish,
and it works really well together.
Coco has called her dessert a chocolate and orange goo pudding.
I think the texture of it is great.
I like the crispy outside, I like the very, very gooey on the inside.
You've got to be really careful with your cream.
It's gone a bit split, hasn't it?
Yeah, cos the pot was hot and I put the cream on, so...
Coco, you could have just given us a molten chocolate pudding,
but you have taken it to the next level by adding that
wonderful perfume of orange throughout this.
It's molten, it's gorgeous, it's dripping and it's gooey!
I think it went really well, but they did point out a few things.
But I think it's always good to have things to improve on.
Kais has made Kais' fried chicken with spaetzle,
which is a cross between pasta and dumplings from Germany.
Kais, you have got the most amazing seasoning on that chicken.
It's got chilli, it's got sweetness, and it tastes fantastic.
I love the flavour of the chicken,
but the spaetzle haven't quite worked.
They should be more noodle-like and long and thin.
Kais' pudding was going to be cookies
layered with whipped, vanilla cream.
But after overwhipping the first batch of cream,
he's drizzled some unwhipped cream on instead.
That cream is actually being soaked up by the cookies.
But what you've got is this very rich, quite exciting taste
of white chocolate, dark chocolate and cookies and cream on one plate.
Now that's a pretty good combination in itself.
The great thing about these cookies is that you get that sweetness
from the vanilla,
and then you have that dark chocolate
which is really rich and quite decadent.
And I think if you work on this, you can really perfect this recipe.
I thought they gave me nice, constructive criticism.
I think that what they said was fair and that they enjoyed my food,
which is good.
Abigail's starter is
spicy, sweet potato and pumpkin soup with dumplings.
Abigail, it is like sunshine in a bowl.
It's a great soup.
It's really vibrant, it's really fresh,
and you've captured the flavour of the sweet pumpkin in there.
The dumplings themselves have a little bit of a chew to them
and I just wanted them to be nice and tender.
Brave thing, I think, to do a bowl of soup,
because a bowl of soup can either taste like a bowl of dishwater,
or it can taste vibrant and exciting,
and your soup is vibrant and exciting.
Abigail's main course is coconut and coriander salmon
served with vegetable rice and topped with a curry sauce.
It looks really visually beautiful.
In terms of the salmon, for me, it's a little bit underdone.
Just make sure that when you're cooking the salmon,
it cooks all the way through.
I love the vibrancy of your rice.
All the vegetables with the rice and all the spicing together
I think is a really wonderful thing
and a lovely accompaniment to your fish.
It makes me feel good that they like it
and that two great chefs would eat my food and like it.
I feel great.
Last up is Jonah.
His first course is spaghetti puttanesca,
which is made with anchovies, olives and chilli.
I think that's delicious.
It's salty from the anchovies, it's sweet from the tomatoes,
it's sharp and really spicy from the chilli.
It's got a lovely richness to it, and it's rounded, and it's grown up,
and it's absolutely delicious, and I could eat that all day long.
The pasta is cooked beautifully and the olive,
that pump of olive in the background, is really great.
Altogether, a really strong puttanesca sauce.
Jonah's pudding is chocolate brownie
with a white chocolate vanilla sauce.
It's big, it's sweet, it's chocolaty and full of vanilla,
but you know and I know, it's not quite cooked enough.
Saying that, it tastes great, Jonah.
That white chocolate sauce is genius.
I absolutely love that.
If you can get that brownie right, you are onto a true winner
and you will have no shortage of friends.
I'm feeling really happy.
Overall, it went really well, so I think it's...
I hope it's good enough to get me through to the next round.
The cooking is over and now the waiting begins.
Who will make it through to the semifinals?
Big day. Tough day for our four.
You know what, they do know how to cook,
but there have been some mistakes.
Really impressed with Coco.
She was inventive, she had great ideas,
she brought them to the table and she delivered on them.
For me, I would have lost the croutons.
I don't think you needed it.
The molten pudding of chocolate and orange -
I loved the fragrance of the orange through the centre of it
and the rich chocolate.
I think my chances of getting through are quite good
but I think other contestants did really well as well.
Abigail's walked in here and shown us she's more than capable.
I loved the full bowl of soup. Brought a smile to my face.
Unfortunately, her salmon was just that bit undercooked,
but all of the other components, the rice,
that really great vegetable sauce, really, really tasty.
I think it's clever cooking.
If I went home today and I didn't pass,
two professional chefs ate my food, said it was nice,
and that means a lot to me.
Jonah's not scared of using ingredients that pull a punch.
A puttanesca, two tins of anchovies, two whole chillies,
loads and loads of olives, and a lovely, lovely sauce.
The chocolate brownie - not quite cooked enough.
It's unfortunate that they didn't stay together
and they just went a little bit too gooey but, for me,
that's the sort of dessert I like to get my head around.
It's really, really nerve-racking,
not knowing if you're through or if you're not through.
So, really, really tense, cos you want to know.
Kais, today, I think has done pretty well.
I loved the chicken. I thought the chicken was delicious.
It was sitting on top of some, what should have been spaetzle,
but they were sort of more dumplings than noodles,
and they were a bit stodgy.
But what kind of brings Kais back is the fact
that he has it wonderfully flavoured.
For now, I've got a 50-50 chance of getting through,
so we'll just have to wait and see what happens.
They've all got different skills,
they've all got different experiences
and they've all brought different tastes to the table today.
Just one semifinal place.
It's really tough to make that final decision.
It is tough to come in here,
and you have all done an incredible job.
Walk away from here today
knowing that you've done very, very well,
but there's only one semifinal place.
(Well done, Jonah.)
Out of all the hundreds of people there who have tried to
get into Junior MasterChef,
I'm just glad I was one of the 24 because it's amazing.
Not everybody gets the chance to show off their cooking skills.
I've had great fun doing the MasterChef today.
I'm really proud that I managed to get this far,
even if I didn't go through, and Jonah deserves to go through.
We'll see you in the semifinals.
I feel really, really happy.
I'm, like, really, really happy
that I got through to the semifinal round.
I never thought I'd get this far, so I'm really, really happy.
I'm definitely up for the challenge in the semifinal.
Bring it on.
Jonah will be back for the semifinal.
Next, four more talented cooks will begin their quest
to become Junior MasterChef Champion 2014.
I know I can do it cos I'm in the zone.
-She's in the zone!
I like that confidence.