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This Thing Now: MasterChef Junior Finale

A heated end to a (relatively) long journey
MasterChef Junior Finale Winner
Photo: Courtesy of Fox

A calm and collected attitude, as well as refined yet innovative cooking skills, aren't exactly the descriptors you'd expect about a 12-year-old home cook from San Diego. But the winner of this season's MasterChef Junior, Nathan Odom, manages to exude more confidence in the kitchen than professional chefs twice and three times his age.

This season's finale pitted Nathan against 11-year-old Andrew Zappley from West Deptford, New Jersey. Despite wanting to take the side of the New Jersey native (being one myself), his cockiness was a bit unsavory (yes, I'm saying this about a preteen) versus Nathan's humility and control. Fox also didn't hesitate to repeat that Nathan comes from "not necessarily the richest" family financial situation, which helped to up his likeability factor.

Biases aside, the cooking from both kids was fantastic. Perfectly roasted herb-crusted lamb chops and an Earl Grey tart with Meyer lemon from Nathan gave him the edge over Andrew's fig and verjus rice pudding and slightly undercooked beef cheek ravioli. (One gripe: commentary was a little redundant—judges Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot echoed Gordon Ramsay's "bloody delicious" sentiments when they tasted both contestants' creations.)

It's kind of hard to believe that the dishes came from cooks who aren't allowed into PG-13 movies. And isn't that really the beauty of it all?

Stay tuned for the next season later this year.

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