MasterChef Junior Season 9 episode 2: Tangled in the seaweed

MasterChef Junior Season 9 episode 2
MasterChef Junior Season 9 episode 2 / FOX

Heading into their second challenge, the young chefs in MasterChef Junior Season 9 episode 2 had to dive deep into their food knowledge. Combining seafood and seaweed might seem like child’s play, but these dishes should not leave the judges feeling crabby.

As fans of MasterChef Junior have come to appreciate, the silly moments help to break the tension ahead of the cook. This episode combined laughter with a key component of the challenge.

Each of the judges took on a character related to the water. While Daphne Oz was a mermaid, Gordon Ramsay was ready to explore the underwater world in his scuba suit. Luckily for him, he was properly dressed when Tilly Ramsay announced the challenge twist, seaweed.

The seaweed requirement is an interesting part to this challenge. Even though seaweed salad might be a staple in some Asian restaurants, the ingredient can be more than just a pile of greens. It can be used as salt substitute.

Although it might not have been shown a lot during the cook, it is a conversation that fans can have beyond the show. Using ingredients as a seasoning agent is a cooking technique to learn.

In addition, understanding how that bright, briny note contrasts or compliments the other flavors is key to a well balanced dish. These dishes might not need that extra finishing salt, or the taste could become a salt lick.

While all the young chefs’ dishes seemed to be successful, the top three dishes were from Alfred, Jordan, and Asher. One aspect common aspect for all three dishes was the smart use of the seaweed.

Alfred make a prawn chowder. Although the delicate prawns could have easily turned into a shriveled, over cooked mess, they were well-cooked. More importantly, Alfred made a great broth that was seasoned with the prawn heads. It shows that he has a lot of knowledge and can apply it well. Lastly, the seaweed butter was a smart choice to use the additional ingredient.

Jordan made big, bold choices with her dish. The amberjack tostada used the most seaweed out of any of the dishes. She cooked with a lot of confidence and the flavor was well-balanced.

The final top dish was from Asher. He made a Thai yellow curry. With one of the harder fishes to cook, his halibut was beautifully prepared. In addition, the vibrant colors captured the eye and invited that first bite. From the herbs to the seaweed, the dish was definitely a memorable one.

Winning MasterChef Junior Season 9 episode 2 under the sea challenge was Asher. While his dad might not have earned an apron in MasterChef, his son caught a big win.

Unfortunately, the bottom dishes had big execution issues. Some of the dishes were expected.

Kristell was in the bottom because her pasta was too mushy. The judges warned her during the cook that she was cooking too early. By rushing to complete the dish, her lobster and pasta was overcooked. The flavor of her spicy sauce was there, but the overall execution was off.

Jason missed the mark with his seasoning. Since Mahi Mahi is a hearty fish, it needs bold flavors. Overall, his sandwich and fries were simple. Even though he is young, the judges are not going to let an under-seasoned, simple dish slide.

Lastly, Lilo was in the bottom again. She had a very hard seafood, baby octopus. While she felt confident with the ingredient, it was not cooked correctly. The texture was too chewy and it needed char. But, the judges praised the pickle in the dish.

Unfortunately, Jason was the young chef sent home in MasterChef Season 9 episode 2. The lack of flavor and creativity was his downfall.

Coming up in the next episode is the first team challenge. Will these young chefs achieve a slam dunk or will they be throwing up bricks?

Tune into new episodes of MasterChef Season 9 on Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET. Episodes can be streamed the next day on Hulu.