“The Princess of Pastry” … “a true artist” … “masterful” … “a phenomenon.”
Wunderkind Sadie Suskind made quite the impression on the judges during her time on “MasterChef Junior” with her plucky personality and elegant creations, but sadly the Seattle teen chef’s run is over.
Suskind’s nearly flawless performance came to an end Tuesday night during the semifinals of the Fox competition cooking show. She was among five contestants competing for two of the three remaining spots in next week’s finals, done in by a secret-ingredient challenge that left her with the show’s most challenging assignment.
“The one fruit I do not want to cook with tonight out there is pineapple,” host and judge Gordon Ramsay said. “Sadie’s got her work cut out for her.”
She handled that work with her typical brio, choosing to make a pineapple upside-down cake. As followers of Sadie and the show know, her strength has been her desserts and she nearly baked her way into the finals. She made caramel by hand, prepared the pineapple three ways — grilled, torched and caramelized — and left the judges complimenting her skills as they have throughout the show’s run.
Her approach “shows a lot of genius,” judge Aarón Sánchez said.
“Visually, Sadie, this is made by a true artist,” judge Christina Tosi said.
But when it came time to choose who moves on to next week’s show, they couldn’t agree.
“It’s a beautifully tasting cake,” Tosi said, making her best case.
But Sánchez cut her off: “I disagree. I just felt like it was disproportionately sweet.”
And with that, Sadie’s run on the show came to an end, tripped up by one small mistake. She fell one step short of the final episode, which airs Tuesday, June 4, with Che Spiotta, Ivy Angst and Malia Brauer competing for the top prize.
“Everything was going well,” Sadie, who is now 13, said recently. “The caramel was really good. The pineapple was really good. The cakes were really good. But, unfortunately, I did end up forgetting one key component of my dish — the whipped cream — just to cut the sweetness, so it’s not cloyingly sweet. But that did not make it onto the plate.”
While her run on the show may be over, the Jane Addams Middle School student isn’t done with the “MasterChef Junior” experience. This summer she’ll attend Camp MasterChef in California as a featured guest. And her family is expanding her culinary knowledge with a trip to France where she’ll walk in the footsteps of her hero, Julia Child.
“So, basically, I’m making my pilgrimage to my food mecca,” she said.
Though disappointed she didn’t make the finals, Sadie’s appearance on “MasterChef Junior” has only strengthened her resolve to follow the foodie footpath in life. She imagines herself both chef and food critic and the owner of a small French bistro called Sally’s Crumpets (in homage to both her grandmother and her cat) someday.
“I came away from ‘MasterChef Junior’ with incredible friendships that I know will last a lifetime, priceless food knowledge and, most of all, I gained a lot of faith and confidence in myself, as a professional,” Sadie said. “That really helped me and helped my faith.”
This season’s final episode of “MasterChef Junior” airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, on Fox.