Micah Sanders is truly moved by all the love and support she has received since her elimination on Fox’s “Masterchef Junior” earlier this week.
She is after all, the first Detroiter to appear on the cooking competition, which is now in its third season. On Tuesday’s episode, Micah, who has turned 10 since appearing on the show, and teammate Alexis Higgins, now 9, made pork sausage with a white bean and Swiss chard stew. Sadly, the dish disappointed the judges and the two were sent home.
Some of her classmates and even fans on Facebook were so moved by Micah and Alexis’ tears that they’ve said they will stop watching “Masterchef Junior” now that the pair is gone. But the telegenic Henry Ford Academy Elementary fifth-grader is urging viewers everywhere to keep tuning in.
“I still have a lot of friends on the show,” Micah said, proving that she is wise beyond her years. When asked how she became so insightful, she added, “God, pointing me in the right direction. My mom and dad teach me about him.”
Watching her last time on “Masterchef Junior” was hard to do and despite her best efforts, Micah found herself crying all over again. That’s when her mom and dad, LaFawn and Horace Sanders, hugged the fifth eldest of their nine children and told her to keep her chin up.
“We’re so proud of her,” said Horace Sanders, a Christian comedian whose kids range in age from 4 to 22. “We raise them to do their best. She went on the show and realized one of her dreams. I’ve seen her cook at home, but now I’ve seen her rise to the occasion and get better. It’s like, ‘Wow! That’s our daughter.’ ”
“I just want her to know that she’s already done more than so many adults will ever do in their lives.”
Micah, who cooked on two installments of “Masterchef Junior” before being defeated, seems destined to beat the odds. Some 2,000 kids applied, but only 19 — ages 8 to 13 — were chosen to compete and go before judges Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich. This includes New Buffalo’s Parker LaRocco, 11, who was eliminated in the first episode.
Now Micah, whose signature MicahRoni and Cheese — made with cut macaroni noodles instead of elbow — keeps getting tastier each time she makes it for her family. Food is paramount to this pint-sized chef and when she turned 10 in July, all of her guests cooked miniature food per the party’s fun, but messy, theme.
“That was all her idea,” said her mom, Lafawn Sanders, who owns a face-painting company, and accompanied Micah while she competed on “Masterchef Junior” in Los Angeles.
As for the future, fans have not seen the last of Micah and her parents are currently helping her launch a YouTube cooking channel.
“We’ll start the channel and see what other doors open,” LaFawn Sanders said. “We’ve been so overwhelmed by the response to Micah. It’s just blowing us away. A couple days, we just had to sit and take a breath. Even though we were only on two weeks, it’s been such an amazing ride.”
“Masterchef Junior”airs 8 p.m. Mondays on Fox.
Mekeisha Madden Toby is a Los Angeles-based TV critic.