This is it. We made it! It’s the finale of America’s Test Kitchen: The Next Generation, and we’re about to find out who will be crowned the victor and earn their spot as an ATK TV cast member, develop a brand new cookbook, and win $100,000.
The stakes are high, and the three contestants left standing have a lot to prove. Let’s waste no time!
Sign up for the Notes from the Test Kitchen newsletter
Our favorite tips and recipes, enjoyed by 2 million+ subscribers!
The last Next Gen challenge is upon us
This one’s a doozy. The contestants will make two recipes that could be featured in their new cookbook and conduct an entire photoshoot around their dishes, presenting them as beautifully and as delectably as possible.
But wait, there’s more! The cooks will then choose one of their dishes and present a 7-minute live cooking demonstration: no edits, no stumbles, no room for mistakes.
The judges themselves are paired with each contestant, with Jack assigned to Antoinette, Garrett to Elle, and Robbie to Dan. Before the cooks can dash to their stations, Jeannie sets one last timer: a bucket of bubbly to toast to their success.
So what’s cooking on our final day in the test kitchen?
Garrett is spatchcocking a chicken to prove that weeknight roast chicken is not only possible but encouraged. Their second dish, signature grilled carrots, is a perfect accompaniment to any dish, and—as Garrett claims—represents their personality the very best.
Antoinette, whose idea is to create a cookbook for people who don’t cook very often, is keeping her dishes accessible and time-saving. She’s making 1-hour burnt ends and “roast and go” cabbages.
Finally, Robbie will be preparing scallops and saffron risotto, alongside a grilled corn relish and crispy smashed potato salad. For him, food is all about romance: His dating life has allowed him to experiment with different recipes and styles of cooking, so his cookbook will be an ode to date night.
It’s judging time!
Garrett is first up with their spatchcocked chicken and grilled carrots, and while Dan and Jack love their dishes, it’s Jeannie who appears to be the biggest fan. “If Mariah Carey was sitting down to dinner, this is what she would be served! I. Love. This. Chicken.” she cries out.
Next up it’s Robbie’s smashed potatoes and scallop dishes. It takes just one bite for Dan to skewer Robbie with his eyes and ask, “How long did your risotto cook for?”
With a panicked expression, Robbie responds, “About 25 to 30 minutes?”
“Okay, because I think it’s cooked perfectly,” Dan says, and everyone in the kitchen releases a collective sigh of relief.
Finally, Antoinette’s burnt ends and roasted cabbage don’t seem to stun the judges with their plating and presentation, but the flavors are undeniably impressive, and the burnt ends are perfectly cooked.
Are you ready for your close up?
The cooks’ dishes certainly are! And with a food styling expert like Elle Simone Scott on your side, you’re always going to end up with an incredible shot. Every single one of the contestants seem to be in their element while taking their styled food shots, and it’s not long before they’re out of the photo studio and into the TV studio.
But who's cooking demonstration will win the judges over?
Garrett is the first to take center stage and is cooking their spatchcocked chicken with Elle. While they failed to actually spatchcock the chicken on-screen, Dan and Jack are impressed by their casual yet charismatic camera presence and ability to clearly demonstrate their cooking techniques. Their photo shoot is also a huge hit, but what the judges are most moved by is Garrett’s pitch to win the competition and join the ATK cast.
“What I want to do is wonder what is possible about food and the places it can go. I want to bring that sense of joy and wonder and possibility and fun. This has been so special, and I don’t want to leave. I want this very badly. I know I want this now,” they say through tears.
Next up are Jack and Antoinette in the TV studio, ready to present her burnt ends recipe. Always natural and at ease in front of the camera, Antoinette is a picture of confidence . . . That is, until the fire alarm is set off in the test kitchen, and she’s forced to stop her live demonstration mid-sentence.
But not for long! Once it’s confirmed that there’s no danger, Antoinette has to start right back up again and seamlessly restarts her demonstration to the awe and admiration of Elle and Dan. Once she’s also presented her beautiful styled food images, it’s Antoinette’s turn to pitch why she should join the cast to the judges.
Boards: Stylish Spreads for Casual GatheringsWhen it comes to entertaining there’s nothing as crowd pleasing and visually impressive as a well thought out grazing board.
“I can cook really well, and I really want to learn from you all, so I really want to take this opportunity to work with the ATK team,” she says.
Last but not least is Robbie, whose cooking demonstration with Dan is presented with impressive confidence, despite stumbling in previous media challenges. While he does go over a few seconds at the end of the challenge, Robbie is nonetheless proud of his efforts and how far he’s come with his presentation skills.
But it’s not over yet! Dan, Jack and Elle love Robbie’s photo shoot pictures, but it’s his pitch to join the ATK cast that truly shows just how committed he is to landing his dream job.
“I have a lovely career, but cooking feels the most me. My dad uses food to show how he loves my mother and his kids, and I pass that on as well. I hope I’ve shown all of you my authentic way of cooking; my personality and love of other people makes me the perfect addition to his institution,” he says.
That’s it! It’s time to announce the winner of ATK: Next Gen
It’s been a long journey to this exciting destination, and as the contestants file into the test kitchen for the last time, the intensity is truly palpable. As Dan, Jack, Elle and Jeannie stand at the front of the room, it seems as though everybody is holding their breath.
“The winner of America’s Test Kitchen: The Next Generation is . . .” Jeannie announces slowly.
Antoinette immediately bursts into tears as the judges and her fellow contestants applaud her, and Robbie comes bounding around to give her a big hug. She immediately thanks the judges and Robbie and Garrett for the experience of a lifetime and continues to smile through chest-heaving sobs.
But guess what? That’s not it, ATK fans! You haven’t seen the last of Antoinette, because she’ll be back on your TV screens in the next season of America’s Test Kitchen. Keep an eye out, but this superstar is hard to miss.