Only two contestants remain in the third and final installment of the Next Best Junior Chef series (Lights, Camera, Cook!, 2017, etc.). Who will emerge top toque?
After two tough weeks of competition under scrutiny of the cameras, Rae and Caroline are the final contestants on the show. Or so they think. In a surprise twist, Oliver and Tate, who were eliminated in the previous two rounds, are invited back and given a second shot at the grand prize: a food truck and a guest spot on an award-winning television show to be filmed in Italy! The foursome is happy to be together again, but things are definitely different. The show’s format has changed too. Gone are the Gadget Wall and stars on the blackboard. Standards are higher, and challenges are both more complicated than before and unexpected. And as Oliver declares, there will be no more pacts. Each contestant is out to win! Switching up the challenges helps keep the book from feeling like a retread, though the novelty of the format has worn off, and bringing back Oliver and Tate can’t help but feel like a bit of a cheat. Caroline is the only obvious kid of color, but their adult mentors and judges show some diversity. Backmatter includes tips for combining tastes and textures in cooking and a short vocab list.
While not as nail-biting as the first two books, it’s still a satisfactory denouement. (Fiction. 8-12)