'MasterChef Junior' crowns 13-year-old Alexander Weiss first-season champion
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/11/2013
MasterChef Junior, a new MasterChef-spinoff reality series which features contestants ages 8-13, crowned Alexander Weiss its first champion during Friday night's finale broadcast on Fox.
Weiss, a 13-year-old from New York, NY, was crowned MasterChef Junior's first-season champion by Gordon Ramsay and fellow judges Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot. For winning the culinary competition, Weiss received the $100,000 grand prize in addition to the title of America's first-ever "MasterChef Junior."
"There was some pretty stiff competition, and it was amazing to watch these junior chefs grow each week," Ramsay said afterward. "Alexander pulled off complex dishes every week that professionals would be proud to call their own, and we are extremely impressed by what he has accomplished."
Weiss also reflected on his reality TV experience and victory.
"During my journey on MasterChef Junior, I learned so much from the judges, especially to be more confident in the kitchen and to be more determined," explained Weiss. "Of course, I will always remember the moment when I won, but I will also never forget the amazing time I had with the other contestants and judges. Thank you MasterChef Junior!"
Dara Yu, a 12-year-old from Los Angeles, CA, finished as the runner-up.
In the season finale, Weiss and Yu competed in "a culinary showdown" in which they each had to create and execute an impressive, restaurant-quality three-course meal for their final challenge.
Weiss prepared an appetizer of basil lemon shrimp with heirloom tomato crostini, a main course of pan-seared veal chop with gnocchi and butter sauce, and a Cannoli Napoleon with mascarpone cream for dessert. Weiss defeated Yu with his nice presentation, complex cooking techniques and flavors which complemented one another.