TV Plus (South Africa)
Season 1 eReality (Openview *108) 19:00 Reality
Welcome to the world of MasterChef Junior (2013-now), the reality cooking show where kids aren’t just challenged to cook complex dishes, they’re doing it for imposing celeb chefs like judge and host Gordon Ramsay (cooking show Hell’s Kitchen, 2005-now). And the stars, who’re all under the age of 15, aren’t just impressing food guru Gordon, they’re outright stunning him: “I’ve never seen anything like it. These kids, they are cooking without fear. So when you’ve got that raw talent that has an educated palate at such a young age, it’s the best art class in the world.” But just because the contestants are on the small side doesn’t mean that any less effort goes into the show…
The junior chefs are balancing the show and school – private tutors are on the Los Angeles set for daily lessons so that the kids can study. While there are safety personnel watching over the chefs, they use all of the utensils and appliances themselves. “We’ve actually had fewer accidents on this show than the adult version of MasterChef (2010-now),” says Gordon. “The kids are that good.”
The winner gets the same prize of $100 000 (R1.6 million) as the adult winners, but it’s put into a trust account until they’re 18.
The kids are told what they’re going to be cooking the day before the episode is taped, but they’re not given the recipe until they start. “We also don’t allow them to research the dish online the night before. It’s an easy way to keep the competitiveness among them without stressing them about the challenge,” says Gordon.