It won't be in the "Top Chef Jr." kitchen, but Audrey Brust, of Zachary, vows to keep cooking … and dancing.
The 12-year-old home-schooled student was eliminated from the reality TV cooking competition Nov. 10 after making it through the first four episodes.
Ironically, it was her Southern breakfast that sent her packing (her knives).
"Grits are vital in the South. They're kind of a staple. If I mess these up, I don't know if I'll be welcome in the South anymore, "Audrey quips at the start of the challenge.
Divided into two teams of four, the groups were coached by chefs, authors, restaurateurs and brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, both alumni of "Top Chef," the Bravo series on which this junior version is based.
The "food fight" had a member of each team cooking head-to-head inside a boxing ring, with Audrey choosing to create a dish centered around a soft-boiled egg. The other choices were cooking filet mignon, a branzino (European bass) or a plated dessert. These dish options sprung from the quick-fire challenge at the start of the show, in which each young cook had to demonstrate technique at boiling a perfect egg, filleting a fish, gauging the temperature of a steak and plating an attractive dessert.
Always the bubbly, dancing jokester on set, Audrey remarks, "When I first got here, my plating looked like Jackson Pollock came over and threw up all over the plate or something, but now, it looks really pretty."
Although Audrey's spin on grits — adding cream cheese, cheese and heavy cream — impressed the judges, her eggs were troublesome, falling apart some before making it into the cups.
Her only hope was pulling a "saved" slip from one of the canisters, nullifying her elimination, but that didn't happen.
"Audrey, you've cooked some beautiful food during this competition," judge Curtis Stone tells her as she heads out the ring.
"This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I'm happy that I was able to be here," she says. "Always do what you love to do, and don't care what anyone else thinks."
Katelyn Rickert, of New Orleans, was eliminated earlier in the season. The winning chef takes home $50,000.
"Top Chef Jr." airs at 7 p.m. Fridays on Universal Kids.