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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.
Start of a new day, four young cooks who want to show us
exactly how good they really are.
We don't know what's coming through that door,
but I'm really excited to see what they cook up today.
First, they'll have to create their ultimate pancakes
before cooking their own incredible dishes.
Competing in today's heat are Hannah, Safiyyah, Josh, and Aykan.
Going to the MasterChef kitchen is going to make me really,
really excited and a little bit nervous.
I want to, like, test my limits, see how far I can actually go.
I just love cooking, yeah, so I want to see how good I am.
I'm just going to enjoy it cos this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
I'm just going to try my hardest
but still have fun at the same time... Multitasking.
First up, we have a brilliant little test.
They're going to cook for us their ultimate pancakes,
two pancakes, in fact.
We're going to get a savoury one and a sweet one.
Very excited, I love pancakes.
Before they do that, you and I are going to have a go.
-Are you up for the challenge?
-Well, wash your hands, then.
-Let's do it!
To create their ultimate pancakes, the contestants will be given
three trays with ingredients.
One contains the batter mix for the pancakes,
one has the savoury ingredients,
the other the sweet.
To make the pancake batter,
flour and eggs are mixed together with milk.
I'm just adding a little bit of chives to the pancake batter itself
so you get these little hits of green throughout it.
So I put a little tiny bit of oil in the mixture
and that way it never sticks to the pan.
And what happens if the pancake sticks to the roof
-when you throw it up?
-Well, see, I don't throw things in the roof.
Hang on. Oh, look at that!
-You've got to flip yours there.
-Go on, go on.
-You mean like this?
Yeah! Hey! That's pretty good going.
Our four cooks have to be very careful
they don't burn their pancakes, just a light brown colouring.
I can't wait to see what they're going to do.
Their personalities will definitely shine through on this one.
They sure will.
Hi, guys! This is your first test.
The ultimate pancake.
But we're not going to get you to do just one pancake,
we want two pancakes - one savoury and one sweet.
You've got 50 minutes. Let's cook!
Remember, if you try this at home, make sure you have a
responsible adult with you.
11-year-old Safiyyah lives in Harrow and has been practising for
MasterChef by cooking two meals every day.
I like cooking a range of foods, like, I do Thai,
I do curries, I do Indian.
But I like probably cooking Chinese, actually.
Safiyyah, how did you learn how to cook?
It was my mum who mainly taught me, cos I started at the age of six.
That was one of the first things I made, actually,
pancakes and, like, frying chips and things like that.
-And then...sorry that was at three.
And then at six, I was able to actually cook for myself.
My mum sort of sometimes left me in the kitchen,
depending on what I was making.
-So you do lots and lots of cooking, don't you?
I'll expect great things from you, Safiyyah.
Safiyyah's take on her two pancakes is really interesting.
Both for the sweet and the savoury, she's put stuff inside the batter.
So the savoury one, we've got corn running through it,
and with the sweet one, Safiyyah's put berries and nuts.
Really, really clever.
Ten-year-old Aykan is from North London.
He enjoys cooking savoury dishes, but admits to having a bit of
a sweet tooth.
I love cooking desserts.
They have sugar in and they always make smiles on people's faces.
What do you think of the first test?
I think I'll find it pretty good cos I've been cooking
pancakes for most of my life.
Once, I was at a sleepover
and I cooked pancakes for everybody in the morning.
Who taught you how to cook?
My dad was the one who taught me how to cook
cos he owned a restaurant.
-Your dad owned a restaurant?
And what sort of food does he like to cook?
Turkish. Mediterranean, cos he's Turkish.
So, Aykan, we might expect some pancakes with a Turkish flair, then?
In Turkey they don't have pancakes as much,
you normally get waffles instead.
I don't think Aykan's quite made up his mind just yet.
I know he's going to use the banana,
and I'm can see he's got a bowl of chocolate on there, so hopefully
the chocolate's going in the sweet one and not the savoury one.
But I think when he makes up his mind,
he's a little dynamo in the kitchen and he's getting straight to it.
20 minutes gone.
11-year-old Hannah from Bristol was just eight when she started
cooking with her grandmother.
But her whole family love to cook.
Basically my dad, my mum, and my grandma all inspired me.
My dad because he helps me make curries.
My mum's just the general cook so she teaches me,
like, how to make pastry.
And my grandma's the complicated one,
so she teaches me how to make duck's tongues and upside down cakes.
Hannah, you motored away.
We noticed you getting in really fast, peeling your apples.
I put it in the water so it didn't go brown.
You obviously love to cook. What other hobbies do you have?
Well, I play badminton for the county.
-For the county?
Which would you prefer to be - a cook or a badminton player?
Probably a cook.
I love how Hannah talks about food, she's really confident.
Apple and cinnamon, I think it's a great marriage
if it's made really, really well, and I love her savoury filling
of her pancake which is the smoked salmon with feta cheese and chives.
Inventive, I mean, really inventive.
Nine-year-old Josh once cooked for ten people and already has
his own signature dish.
I'm an expert at doing a Victorian sandwich because I used to do
it with my sisters and I started doing it by myself.
Once, I put raspberry and apricot jam into it.
-How you doing, Josh?
-Good, thank you.
Are you nervous to be in the Junior MasterChef kitchen?
No. I'm really excited.
What do you make of this first test, then?
I've never made a pancake before, but I've watched people do it
and I've got ideas from them.
-Have you eaten pancakes before?
How many pancakes do you think you've eaten in your life, Josh?
Josh is like a little steam train in the kitchen today.
He's already plated up. I like his confidence.
Five minutes left!
Finishing touches, guys.
Ahh, clever you!
That's it, time's up. Step away from your benches.
It's now judgment time.
Safiyyah has made a sweetcorn batter pancake filled with prawns,
cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and herbs,
served with a side salad of tomato and feta.
Her sweet pancake combines a filling of berries and nuts and is
served with a dollop of cream.
I reckon your savoury pancake with the sweetcorn going
through it, is a lovely, lovely thing.
I think that salad on the side with the feta cheese,
it's really tasty and really well done.
And then over to your sweet one.
This is a proper, proper dessert pancake.
You've got creaminess from the cream,
you've got that lovely tart sweetness from those berries,
and the nice little touch of those fresh nuts over the top.
Cooking in the MasterChef kitchen compared to home,
it just feels absolutely amazing.
It's just amazing to meet the judges and it's, like, really exciting.
Aykan's sweet pancake has melted chocolate with icing sugar
His savoury pancake contains feta cheese
with strawberries on the side.
Savoury one's got strawberries in, as well?
Mm, if you want it, really.
Oh, I see. OK, fine.
For me, now, the savoury mixture of feta cheese
and the strawberries, I'm not a big fan of it.
But however, you have clawed it back with that amazing chocolate pancake.
You've got that sweetness and tartness from the strawberries.
It works absolutely beautifully.
Aykan, strawberries with feta cheese for many people might be
a bit out there, I think it's a daring combination,
and if people want to enjoy it, they can.
Your chocolate pancake - very simple, very classic,
but extremely tasty, and this goes to prove just with
a couple of ingredients, you can make something really wonderful.
I'm really excited for the next challenge
and I think I'm going to do really well
because I've been training for that one a lot, actually.
Hannah, how you doing?
Yeah. I'm feeling good.
Hannah's savoury pancake has a filling of feta cheese,
courgette, salmon, and chives.
Her sweet pancake has been filled with apple and cinnamon.
What I do now know about you as a cook is you understand
how flavours marry together.
The cheese and the chives with the smoked salmon is a wonderful thing.
Apple and cinnamon - marriage made in heaven.
The way in which you merge flavours is brilliant.
Hannah, your savoury one is so rich from that lovely smoked salmon.
You've got saltiness, you've got smokiness... Very, very tasty.
I know it's a competition, but they just feel like your friends.
It's just really nice to be in the kitchen with them.
Josh, two of the prettiest,
petit pancakes I have ever seen in my life.
Josh has topped his savoury pancake with tomatoes, courgettes,
asparagus, and mushrooms.
His sweet pancake has banana, chocolate, raspberries,
blueberries, and cherries.
I like that you've let the ingredients speak for themselves.
The bananas and the chocolate and that maple syrup is lovely.
On your savoury one, the fresh tomatoes
and a little bit of courgette and asparagus is a lovely fresh thing.
You've got that sweet one with the chocolate, the bananas, all
those berries. These are the sort of ingredients I love on a pancake.
The only thing I'd pick up on is maybe cooking all
the ingredients for your savoury one.
But altogether two really pretty pancakes. Well done.
I feel really happy about what I've done
because it was my first pancake I've ever made.
In this next round, you're going to have one hour to cook up two
beautiful dishes of your own food.
Your two courses, ladies and gentlemen, let's cook!
They now need to showcase their best dishes, because at the end,
only one of them will go through to the semifinal.
Aykan, noticed you've got so much time that you're taking
a little coffee break. What's the coffee all about?
Well, the coffee's actually for the lady fingers in my tiramisu.
Tiramisu is one of my favourite desserts of all time.
What's for your main course, then?
Sultan's Delight - it's a Turkish dish,
and in the Ottoman Empire, one of the sultan's wife wanted something
new to eat. And the cook gave her that, and she really liked it.
-I'm very, very intrigued.
Aykan is giving us
something called Sultan's Delight, which is a stew made from lamb
and onions, and it's served with a creamy aubergine mixed with cheese.
I hope I'll be delighted as the sultan was
when he first got this served up to him.
He's making for his dessert a big creamy tiramisu.
I'm looking for wonderful, creamy mascarpone,
nicely soaked biscuits...
and that chocolate flavour to bring it altogether.
Hannah, what part of the world are you going to transport us
to with your food today?
Are these the sort of ingredients you like to cook with?
Yeah, I like to cook with seafood.
Hannah, why is this semifinal place so important to you?
I just want to cook,
and cook to show you how I'm progressing in my cooking.
Hannah is seriously out to impress.
That starter of scallops.
We've got chorizo, we've got black pudding,
and we've got a pea and mint puree.
She is really, really showing skill here.
For main course, we have got a piece of cod
with a sundried tomato and black olive tapenade,
and she's serving that with rosemary potatoes and sprouting broccoli.
The one thing she has to really watch with that...
You don't want to overpower that roast cod with too much salt.
It should be nice and light.
Safiyyah, your bench is awash with spices.
What are we going to get from you?
For my main, I'm doing a lamb biryani.
For dessert, a pistachio and cardamom cake
served with vanilla Chantilly cream.
How are you going to get a biryani done
in the amount of time you've got?
Oh, cos I'm using a pressure cooker. This was actually my mum's recipe.
Good thing if it doesn't go right, you just blame your mum.
Safiyyah has got an Aladdin's cave of wonderful ingredients,
I mean, really beautiful.
She's promising us a lamb biryani.
A biryani is meat cooked with rice.
Safiyyah is using a pressure cooker
because she has to cook that meat very, very quickly.
I just hope it's quick enough.
For her dessert, she's got a pistachio and cardamom cake.
It's going to be served up with some vanilla Chantilly cream.
I cannot wait to try it.
Josh, what would a place in the semifinal
of Junior MasterChef mean to you?
It will show that I'm a better cook than my sister.
-To beat your sister?
-I like your style.
What sort of food does your sister cook?
She hasn't been really cooking much
because I've been taking over the kitchen.
She makes, basically, cakes, but they're not that good.
Josh has promised us a tomato tarte tatin with puff pastry
and tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.
Could be a lovely thing, as long as that pastry is lovely and crispy.
For a main course, we've got a rack of lamb.
It's actually a really difficult thing to get right.
So many times I've seen it undercooked.
He's going to serve it up with a potato and beetroot mash.
I've never seen those two combined.
I wonder what sort of colour that goes.
You have just seven minutes left!
I think it's extraordinary, there's food from all around the world.
We've got Italy, we've got India, we've got Turkey,
we've got the Mediterranean, we've even got some English classics.
This is a brilliant day. This is what Junior MasterChef is all about.
That's it, time's up.
Aykan's main dish is Sultan's Delight,
a lamb stew with onions, tomatoes, cheese and aubergine.
I'm very pleased that the lamb is wonderful and soft
in that mixture of onions and tomato.
The cheese is almost taking over the dish completely,
maybe a little bit overpowering. But the aubergine
I will be trying myself, cos I think that's a really clever thing.
Aykan, this is a really interesting dish
and one I haven't tasted before.
The lamb is really, really sweet and is complimented by those aubergines.
And if John's going to try it at home, I'm going to try it, too.
For dessert, Aykan has made the classic Italian dessert,
tiramisu, with coffee-infused biscuits and strawberries.
I love that you've added the chocolate there,
and my secret ingredient
when I make a tiramisu is always some shavings of dark chocolate.
So for me, this is a really good tiramisu.
Really packs a punch, that tiramisu of yours.
I can taste the coffee, which is very, very strong and quite bitter.
For me, I like strawberries with chocolate.
strawberries and coffee I find a little bit strange.
However, well presented, well thought out
and I like the fact that you're trying something different.
I love your confidence.
The judges liked my food.
They said there were bad bits in it,
but otherwise they said good things about it most of the time.
Hannah has made a starter of seared scallops three ways.
One with Spanish sausage chorizo, one with black pudding,
and one with minted pea puree,
all covered with a creamy mushroom sauce.
Scallops are cooked really nicely,
that butter across the top making them lovely and golden.
Your sauce is made really well, creamy and rich
and woody from the mushrooms.
And I like the fact you're daring to play with lots of different things.
I love that pea and mint puree.
You have got that to absolute perfection.
Really smooth and really refreshing, and that's exactly what a pea
and mint puree should be.
-I really like this.
For her main, Hannah is serving roasted cod wrapped in ham,
topped with a sundried tomato and olive tapenade,
accompanied by salted rosemary potatoes and broccoli.
The fish itself has been well protected by that lovely ham
round the outside of it, and it's cooked really, really well.
And then we've got sundried tomatoes, salty olives, and capers.
It's becoming a little bit over-seasoned.
Take one thing back a little bit.
The thing about this is, and I think John's right,
you've got lots of salt in there, so you need to strip it back just
that tiny bit, but you've cooked that piece of fish to perfection.
It's just amazing hearing that from two really well-known people.
For his starter, Josh has made a roasted tomato tarte tatin.
You've got really nice fluffy puff pastry sides
and that really nice caramelised, sweet tomato.
Really love that.
Very, very clever, because only a couple of ingredients put
together and you have wonderful, wonderful flavour.
The pastry on the outside, I think, is a lovely thing.
In the middle, a bit soggy.
You need to cook it in the oven just a little bit longer.
Josh's main is a roasted rack of lamb
with a beetroot and potato mash.
Josh, I think you know
that some of your lamb is probably not quite cooked enough.
It's not a disaster by any stretch of the imagination,
cos of all the hard work you've done.
Beetroot and potato puree, a new one on me.
It's a vibrant looking plate.
Cook the lamb a little bit longer
and maybe just do a little bit more seasoning in your potato mixture.
I really like the mash. I think it needs a little bit of butter
and it needs a bit of sea salt and black pepper,
but really, more than anything, I think the colour is great.
You've got wild colour on this dish and it looks really good.
I'm feeling quite proud, but still a bit annoyed with myself.
Safiyyah has made lamb biryani served with a mint raita.
Your lamb is as soft as you like.
It's really well spiced, it's really well seasoned.
Your rice is beautifully cooked and lovely and fluffy.
I am mightily impressed. Good job.
That lamb is so beautifully cooked! I cannot believe how tender it is.
But not only that, you have these wonderful spices wafting through,
and then you cool it all down with that fantastic herby raita.
For dessert, Safiyyah has made a pistachio and cardamom cake
served with crushed pistachios and vanilla Chantilly cream.
Safiyyah, you have a cake which is perfumed with that cardamom
running through it.
You have a really sweetly spiced cream which is soft
and voluptuous alongside it. I really like this.
You've got the lovely flavour of those nuts, pistachio nuts,
which are very, very rich with the cake itself, which I really like.
I think it's a lovely, lovely texture.
That is a dessert that I love to eat.
I just feel ecstatic. I'm really happy.
The cooking is over and now the waiting begins.
I think I cut my lamb a bit too big.
Who will become the next semi-finalist
for Junior MasterChef 2014?
I over-seasoned, but you can't really over-season.
I think a very, very interesting day indeed.
Our four cooks have excelled themselves.
That last round, that has really upped the ante.
Early this morning, their ultimate pancakes,
all four of them did very well. No real mishaps.
So really it comes down to their own two dishes.
Josh, his lamb with the beetroot potato mash.
The lamb could have been cooked a little bit more.
But he brought it back with that lovely tomato tarte tatin -
a really good effort.
I really want to stay in this competition
because it will mean so much to me.
Hannah is a clever cook.
She's a cook who thinks about her food.
First up, we had those scallops, and not content with serving us up
one scallop, she served us up three.
And then we had a piece of cod wrapped in ham.
It was beautifully cooked but maybe just a little bit
overpowered by the salty olives and the salty sundried tomatoes.
I would like to get through, but if someone else gets through,
they were all really good, so I don't really mind.
The two dishes Aykan cooked for us were really interesting.
We had Turkish on one side and Italian on the other.
The Turkish influence had roasted aubergines with cheese -
a really strange combination which I haven't seen before.
Tiramisu was great - chocolate, coffee, sweet, creamy,
wonderful, but the strawberries didn't need to be there.
I think I did really good and I'm really proud.
If I get through, I'll just be really happy.
Safiyyah blew me away with that lamb biryani.
I wasn't expecting her to get that lamb shoulder cooked to perfection
and nice and tender, but she totally delivered.
The cake, I thought, was wonderful.
With cardamom and pistachio nuts, soft and spongy, served with
a cream which was so full of vanilla, it almost sank Madagascar.
I want to stay in this competition a million out of, like, ten.
That would just be absolutely amazing.
So four good cooks, just one semifinal place. Who takes it?
I've got one.
I've got one, too.
You guys should all be seriously proud of yourselves.
The toughest decision for us
is to only take one of you through to the semifinal.
Being on Junior MasterChef has really done good for me.
I really know I can cook now.
I've learnt - don't hold back on your flavours, just go for it.
I'm really pleased to get onto Junior MasterChef.
I wanted to see John Torode and Donal,
and it's just been really exciting.
Junior MasterChef semi-finalist.
It feels amazing!
I'm actually a bit shocked.
Just amazed, happy, thrilled, everything, really, in one go.
Safiyyah will be back for the semifinals.
Next, four more talented cooks begin their quest to become
Junior MasterChef Champion 2014.
There's meat in there, there's a lot of technique, and it's yummy.
Can you spin a pizza?