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Kids in the Kitchen: MasterChef Junior Inspires Young Chefs

This past summer I got addicted to BBC America, and, as such, got addicted to pretty much any show involving Gordon Ramsay. Known for his temper and language, Ramsay has not necessarily been the most family-friendly host on television . . . until now. MasterChef Junior, now in its second season, is hosted by Ramsay and fellow food experts chef Graham Elliot and restaurateur Joe Bastianich. The show stars young chefs ages eight to thirteen, as they compete for the title of MasterChef Junior, a pretty snazzy trophy, and $100,000.

I started watching the show pretty recently, and I was immediately hooked. I love cooking shows, and this one has the added bonus of a bunch of adorable children who whip up some very complicated dishes without recipes. One of the first season challenges was to make Gordon Ramsay’s famous beef wellington, and the pint-sized chefs knocked it out of the park!

On the show, the children compete in an initial challenge to see who will get an advantage in the elimination round. Typically, the advantage is safety from elimination and the right to decide, among a given number of options, what the remaining contestants will be cooking. After the elimination challenge, the judges taste all of the young chefs’ dishes to determine who to eliminate. Contestants are eliminated in groups of two (which, I believe, is far less traumatizing for the kids because they do not have to leave the show alone).

The children on the show truly act like miniature adults; their vocabularies are just as sophisticated as their palates. In the kitchen, they make dishes like chicken liver pate while boasting their “culinary supremacy.” These utterances are made even more adorable when a tiny chef has to stand on a stool to reach the already miniaturized stove.

Ramsay, who has four children of his own, shows a much less scary side of his personality on this show. No bad language is used around the kids, making the show safe for the whole family. Viewers also get to see Ramsay’s fatherly side come out as he helps the kids through challenges, and calms meltdowns with reassuring pep talks. As a big fan of shows like Kitchen Nightmares (in which Ramsay does a lot of yelling), I thought it was incredibly sweet to see Ramsay, Elliot, and Bastianich pour so much encouragement into the contestants of MasterChef Junior.

The show airs on Fox at 8/7C, and previous episodes are available on both Xfinity On Demand and Hulu. I would definitely recommend this show for the whole family; these child chefs work in a free-spirited, fun kitchen that is truly enjoyable to watch. Who knows? Maybe MasterChef Junior will even inspire a young chef in your family!

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