CT fifth grader Ivy Childs eliminated from ‘MasterChef Junior’ in semi-finals

Photo of Jailene Cuevas

Darien’s Ivy Childs was one of three young chefs on FOX’s “MasterChef Junior” semi-finals Tuesday, but her time on the show came to an end when she was eliminated just before the finale.

Childs and the other contestants were reunited with their families during the semi-final round, where they were asked to make three plates for each judge that reminded them of home or speaks to their family.

“Being in the semi-finals was nerve wracking,” she told Hearst CT Media Group. “I was more nervous than I was before because of the large crowd, making more dishes than usual and there was more at stake.”

Combining her love of French cooking, her dad’s preparation of asparagus and her grandfather’s appetite for fish, Childs served halibut with celery root puree, asparagus, champagne beurre blanc and caviar.

During the episode, Childs repeatedly expressed how nervous she was about the time and crowd, and Childs ran out of time before she could polish off her dish. Looking back, Childs said if she could have added something to the dish, it would have been chive oil.

“When the judges were critiquing it, they said it needed a chive oil and I wish I had a couple more minutes to finish that,” she said.

While she ended up being eliminated before the finals, she did make history during her time on the show.

“We never had a second grader get this far in the competition,” chef and judge Gordon Ramsey said in the episode.

When Childs was eliminated, Ramsey said if she would have made it to the finals had she fully cooked the halibut served to one of the judges.

The FOX show gives kids between ages 8 and 13 the chance to showcase their culinary skills and passion for food through a series of challenges. Ramsay, chef Aarón Sánchez and wellness advocate Daphne Oz serve as judges and mentors. The show was filmed when Ivy was 8 years old and in the second grade. A fan of the show before competing, Childs said she enjoyed meeting new people and cooking new dishes during her stint on the show.

“My favorite dish that I made all season was during the second episode — the pressure challenge,” she said.

In this episode, the young chefs had to recreate Gordon’s dish that had salmon, cauliflower couscous and vegetables. Childs said this dish was the first the judges liked, and she “gained confidence” in her skills to carry on throughout the rest of the competition.

While Childs was among the last to be eliminated this season, she has seen many of her fellow chefs depart. Whenever someone got eliminated, the judges would always say something inspirational to them. After hearing these inspirational words, Childs said she uses what they said to her not only when she’s cooking, but for everyday life.

“Even though they weren’t talking to me, I listened and took away from it,” she said. “When I got eliminated they said to never stop cooking because even though you might have not won, you should still be proud of yourself for coming this far.”

The MasterChef Junior finale airs Thursday, June 23 on FOX.