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Beverly's Na'imah Johnson Falls Short On 'MasterChef Junior' Premiere

By Howard Ludwig | February 9, 2017 8:11am | Updated on February 10, 2017 7:57am
 Beverly's Na'imah Johnson was eliminated Thursday night in the premiere episode of
Beverly's Na'imah Johnson was eliminated Thursday night in the premiere episode of "MasterChef Junior." She and three other girls all made tarts for the judges.
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BEVERLY — Beverly's Na'imah Johnson did not receive a coveted white apron Thursday night in the premiere episode of "MasterChef Junior."

Na'imah, an 11-year-old Barnard Elementary School student, was asked to cook a tart for chefs Gordon Ramsay and Christina Tosi. Ramsay judged her peach dessert and commented that it was undercooked.

Na'imah was among 40 chefs invited to compete on the show, all between ages 8 and 13. The other Chicago competitors are Charlie Hans, 9, of Edgebrook, Evan Robinson, 10, of Hyde Park and Avani Shah, 8, of River North.

They will move on to the second episode that airs at 7 p.m. Thursday on Fox-32. The winner of the competition receives $100,000 and a trophy.

 Na'imah Johnson of Beverly is among 40 contestants on season five of "MasterChef Junior," which debuts at 7 p.m. tonight on FOX32. Her favorite recipes include red velvet cake and inside-out burgers, patties filled with cheese and grilled onions.
Na'imah Johnson
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Na'imah auditioned for the show last summer. After finding out she made the cut, the family traveled to Los Angeles for the taping, said Rheanna Johnson, Na'imah's mother and a Chicago Public Schools teacher.

"I was surprised, but I was happy at the same time," Na'imah said last month of the successful audition where she cooked for the producers.

Perhaps she shouldn't have been so shocked, as she and her sisters — Na'ilah, 13, and Nuriyah, 8 — are also the proprietors of Naninu Batter Cakes. Their 16-year-old brother Nasir is the taste tester for the home business.

The girls bake cakes, cookies and pies under their mother's watchful eye. They often sell their baked goods at Barnard, which Nuriyah also attends, or at Progressive Baptist Church in Bridgeport. Their father, Jamal Johnson, is the youth pastor at the church at 3658 S. Wentworth Ave.