Thirteen-year-old Alexander Weiss named America's first-ever "MasterChef Junior" champion
Friday, season one of "MasterChef Junior" came to an exciting conclusion as host/executive producer and judge Gordon Ramsay and fellow judges Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot named Alexander Weiss, a 13-year-old from New York City, the winner of FOX's hit cooking competition series. In addition to earning the title of America's first-ever "MasterChef Junior," Alexander walked away with a $100,000 grand prize.
"There was some pretty stiff competition, and it was amazing to watch these junior chefs grow each week," Ramsay said. "Alexander pulled off complex dishes every week that professionals would be proud to call their own, and we are extremely impressed by what he has accomplished."
"During my journey on 'MasterChef Junior,' I learned so much from the judges, especially to be more confident in the kitchen and to be more determined," Alexander said. "Of course, I will always remember the moment when I won, but I will also never forget the amazing time I had with the other contestants and judges. Thank you 'MasterChef Junior!' "
In the season finale episode, Alexander competed in a culinary showdown with Dara Yu, a 12-year-old from Los Angeles. For the final challenge, Alexander created an impressive, restaurant-quality three-course meal: an appetizer of basil lemon shrimp with heirloom tomato crostini; a main course of pan seared veal chop with gnocchi and butter sauce; and a cannoli Napoleon with mascarpone cream for dessert. After a very close competition, it was Alexander's harmonious flavors, complex techniques and elegant plating that earned him the "MasterChef Junior" trophy.
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Season to date, "MasterChef Junior" is averaging 5.1 million total viewers and ranks No. 1 in its time period among Adults 18-49, Adults 18-34, Women 18-49/18-34, Men 18-49/18-34 and Teens. "MasterChef Junior" has improved FOX's performance in the time period versus last year by 58 percent among Adults 18-49. In addition, "MasterChef Junior" averaged a 50 percent lift from its Live + Same Day to its Live +7 Adults 18-49 rating - the largest percentage gain of any unscripted series on the "Big 4" networks.
Fans can "Like" "MasterChef Junior" on Facebook at facebook.com/MasterChefJuniorFOX. Follow the series on Twitter @MasterChefJrFOX and join the discussion at #masterchefjunior.