'MasterChef Junior' Season 8 Finale: Liya crowned the winner, bags $100,000 cash prize
For the young chefs on 'MasterChef Junior', they have the art of cooking down to a science. With their elevated palate, skills and drive, these chefs have proved that they are a cut above the rest. And while finalists Liya and Grayson have impressed the judges time and again, it now all boils down to their performance in the finale round, to prove that they have what it takes to be America's next 'MasterChef Junior'.
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With the finale being divided into two rounds, the entrees and desserts, each chef had to prepare three identical dishes to serve to the judges. For the entrees, Liya decided on a spiced duck breast with scallion pancakes and miso eggplant. For her, her menu looked at celebrating her family and Asian heritage. Grayson on the other hand went with a Togarashi dusted venison loin, smoked whipped potatoes and blackberry juniper gastrique -- a love letter to his hometown of Austin. Although they both picked tough proteins to work with, their dishes were cooked to perfection, leaving all three judges thoroughly impressed, as they praised their skill and prowess.
With the competition now neck to neck, the young chefs went into the dessert round, ready to prove their worth. For this round, Liya decided to prepare Coconut Pandan panna cotta with passion fruit coulis and sesame tuille while Grayson went with a Texas ruby red grapefruit curd with fennel pollen financier and pea flower sorbet.
When it came down to the judging process, the judges felt as though Grayson's dessert was more of a palate cleanser than an indulgent dessert. However, they did note that it paid homage to his home state and Grayson's storytelling. For Liya's dessert, they marveled at the simplicity and complexity of the layers and her ability to connect different culinary influences on a plate. Combined with the chefs' entries, the judges had to make a seriously tough call. When asked about their culinary dream, Grayson explained that he wanted to travel the world and collect more food inspiration while Liya wanted to open two restaurants, just like her parents had. Finally, with the results ready, the judges crowned Liya as the winner of 'MasterChef Junior' Season 8!