“Go pig or go home!” Avery Kyle exclaimed after tackling pork belly in last week’s semi-finals of Fox’s “MasterChef Junior.”
The 9-year-old Baton Rouge cook earned one of two spots in the reality competition series’ finale with her Pork Belly with Sweet Potato Mash, Fried Beet Root Chips and Sauteed Brussels Sprouts.
She’ll be going up against Addison Smith, also 9, of River Forest, Illinois, who wowed the judges with her Soda-Braised Pork Ribs.
The four semifinalists got a big surprise at the show’s start when the judges lifted large domed lids, revealing one of their parents hiding under the table with only their heads visible on a platter, surrounded by fresh fruit.
“Hi Dad!” Avery yelled when she saw her father, Ronnie Kyle, pop up in the “MasterChef Junior” kitchen.
“Your Mom and I haven’t had a decent meal with your sister cooking,” he said.
“Ahhhh, she burns water,” Avery shot back.
Each parent gave his or her child a gift box containing the main ingredient they would use in the first challenge — making a soufflé.
All three judges — chefs Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Christina Tosi — were impressed with the contestants’ first attempts at the complicated dessert, including Avery’s strawberry creation.
The finale airs at 7 p.m. Friday on WGMB, Channel 44 (cable Channel 6). A watch party is planned for Mellow Mushroom, 4250 Burbank Drive, No. 101, Baton Rouge.
For more information, visit fox.com/masterchef-junior
Toups still cookin’
New Orleans chef and Rayne native Isaac Toups has sauteed his way to the top nine in Season 13 of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef.”
Last week, the Toups’ Meatery owner reflected on Hurricane Katrina in the episode, “Back in the Day.”
In honor of the show’s 10th anniversary, the chefs had to make a dish representing themselves in 2005.
Toups, then working in the Big Easy kitchens of chef Emeril Lagasse, had escaped the storm with his family to Rayne. What better way to feed “a bunch of Cajuns,” Toups thought, “than a big gumbo.”
His Duck Gumbo with Roasted Jalapeno Andouille Sausage, Crispy Rice Cake and Duck Cracklings did the trick, advancing him to this week’s episode, “Where’s the Beef?”
Toups told The Advocate recently that one of the surprises he’s experienced on “Top Chef” was something he learned about himself.
“It’s my competitive nature, and how that really kicked in,” Toups said.
“Top Chef” airs at 8 p.m. Thursday on Bravo (cable Channel 50).
‘Square’ on body cameras
Major cities in Louisiana are equipping their police officers with body cameras.
“Louisiana Public Square” examines the trend on “Police POV: Body Cameras in Louisiana” airing at 7 p.m. Wednesday on WLPB, Channel 27 (cable Channel 12).
Topics covered include how the cameras work, their cost, how communities are covering their costs, whether the cameras de-escalate volatile situations and the privacy issues they raise.
Panelists will be Darrell Basco, state president of the Fraternal Order of Police; Alfreda Tillman Bester, general counsel, Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP; Franz Borghardt, chairman, La. Law Enforcement Body Camera Implementation Task Force; and Randy Roach, mayor of Lake Charles, which will begin implementing body cameras this year.
To take a survey on this month’s topic, go to lpb.org/publicsquare.
Worth a look
‘HIMALAYAN MEGAQUAKE : 9 p.m. Wednesday, WLPB Channel 27 (cable Channel 12). This installment of PBS’ “NOVA” tells the story of the 2015 quake that rocked Nepal through stories of the Nepalese people who lived near the epicenter and of survivors trapped on Everest.
The show also looks at what could be learned from the quake and the possibility of another big one in the near future.
‘VICE SPECIAL REPORT: FIGHTING ISIS’: 9 p.m. Sunday, HBO (premium cable Channel 300). The special shadows journalist Ben Anderson as he embeds with Iraqi fighters battling the Islamic State.
He gains access to the three front lines in Iraq, where Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish forces are fighting for their lives. Anderson also visits Russian military forces in Syria and meets captured ISIS fighters in Kurdistan.
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