Tuesday night, season three of "MasterChef Junior" came to a conclusion as host/executive producer and judge Gordon Ramsay and fellow judges Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot named Nathan Odom, a 12-year-old from San Diego, the winner of FOX's hit cooking competition series. In addition to earning the "MasterChef Junior" trophy, Nathan walked away with a $100,000 grand prize.
"There are so many incredibly talented junior home cooks we get to meet, but Nathan is truly exceptional," Ramsay said. "He was an incredible competitor whose composure and flare for unique flavors and dish pairings in the kitchen was inspiring. We are so proud of Nathan and know that this is only the beginning for this young man."
"Winning 'MasterChef Junior' is a really surreal experience for me, because I entered the competition without caring how far I made it, and was focused more on learning," Nathan said. "Then, to actually win the 'MasterChef Junior' title was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience."
In the season finale, Nathan competed in an East Coast vs. West Coast culinary showdown with Andrew Zappley, an 11-year-old from Westford, New Jersey. For the final challenge, Nathan created an impressive, restaurant-quality three-course meal: an appetizer of roasted fennel gratin with French ham and shaved fennel salad; a main course of herb-crusted lamb chop with fava beans and white asparagus puree; and an Earl Grey tea tart with Meyer lemon and blood orange coulis for dessert.
After a very close competition, it was Nathan's complementary dishes, seasoning flare and high-risk ingredients - including the use of thyme and Earl Grey for his dessert - that earned him the "MasterChef Junior" trophy.
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