"I'm sorry, Katelyn. Please pack your knives and go."
With those words from host Vanessa Lachey, Katelyn Rickert, of New Orleans, became the second young chef and first Louisiana contestant eliminated from "Top Chef Jr." last week.
In the Oct. 13 premiere of the new Universal Kids' show patterned after the popular Bravo series "Top Chef," a finger got cut, a hand was burned and tears were shed as the dozen cooks ages 11 to 14 from across the country got acclimated to the sprawling space, techy tools and heated pressure of the "TCJ" kitchen. Chicago's Fernando Valdes-Nicholson was sent home after he only managed to get two asparagus spears on each plate before time expired.
In the competition series' second episode, the 11 remaining chefs were challenged to open three food trucks, each with a theme, and prepare enough food to feed 100 people.
Being a team player put both Katelyn and 12-year-old contestant Audrey Brust, of Zachary, in the bottom four when judging time came.
Katelyn's specialty is Italian, but in this team challenge, she was part of the Taco Town truck, where she switched gears, cooking skirt steak tacos with a jalapeno-pineapple sauce.
"I am going to step out of my comfort zone, and hopefully it pays off," she said during the challenge.
Meanwhile, Audrey, who cannot eat gluten, had zero experience making crepes, but went along with her team on the Oh, Crepe! truck.
"I like how you're trying something new and different, and I like how you have that courage," teammate Max Gerber, of New York, told Audrey as she worked on her gluten-free lamb crepes with tzatziki sauce.
Cooking the lamb first, and then focusing on her crepe technique meant Audrey served cold lamb to the judges.
But it was the oversized chunks of pineapple (including parts of the core) in her difficult-to-chew tacos that sent Katelyn home.
"I went with the Mexican theme, trying to be a team player and a really good friend. Next time I'm going to really put by input in there," Katelyn said. "I've always loved cooking … and I'm going to keep on cooking and work to improve my Mexican flair. I'm only 11 years old and going into the sixth grade. I'll be back."
'Top Chef Jr.'
WHEN: 7 p.m. Fridays
CHANNEL: Universal Kids (cable Channel 218 in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, cable Channel 350 in New Orleans)