2 San Diego kids to compete on MasterChef Junior

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SAN DIEGO - "MasterChef Junior" begins its sixth season Friday evening on Fox with restaurateur Joe Bastianich returning as a judge after a two-season absence and two youngsters from the San Diego area among the 40 contestants.

The home cooks aged 8 to 13 will be split into two groups for Friday evening's episode, which airs from 8-10 p.m. The 20 girls will be making a medium-rare filet mignon dish while the 20 boys will prepare a chicken breast dish. Twelve contestants from each group will advance to next Friday's episode.

The San Diego-area contestants are Evan Estrada, an 11-year-old from San Diego, and Gracie Howard, a 9-year-old from Cardiff by the Sea.

In later episodes during the 15-episode season contestants will face a mystery box challenge with 26 ingredients, each representing a different letter of the alphabet; cooking a dish that represents their family heritage; preparing a meal for a couple and their guests at their wedding reception; and creating a chicken-and-waffle dish.

The winner will receive $100,000.