Fall TV Preview: 'MasterChef Junior'

By ROBERT PACE

August 22, 2013

We've seen hordes of aspiring head chefs compete on a variety of cooking competition shows, but Gordon Ramsay's new MasterChef spinoff brings a different demographic into the heat of the kitchen: children.

ET chatted with Ramsay and MasterChef Junior contestants Troy, Dara, and Sarah to find out all about the new series, which is set to air this fall.

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Just as the cooking competition show MasterChef was brought across the pond after years of running in the U.K., production companies One Potato, Two Potato and Shine America have brought its spinoff to the U.S. as well.

The series gives children, aged eight to 13, the opportunity to showcase their culinary talents on a national stage through various challenges and cook-offs.

"First of all, they're talented. ... I think if you can plant that seed in their mind so young, even if they never pursue it as a career, learning how to cook for yourself, I think, is as important as English or Math," said Ramsay, who will be joined on the judging panel by restaurateur Joe Bastianich and chef Graham Elliot.

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Although the children have much less experience in the kitchen than their adult counterparts, Ramsay pledges that their dishes haven't been drastically inferior. In fact, they've been on par—or even better.

"There were stages across 'MasterChef Junior' that we were somewhat panicking because after three or four challenges, some of the food that these kids produced was breathtaking," Ramsay admitted. "We were comparing it to the adult version of 'MasterChef' and there were two or three dishes that were actually standing out better."

Further rivaling their adult counterparts, the MasterChef Junior contestants' assigned dishes weren't simplified because of their age. Ramsay says they're tasked with making some complex dishes.

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"It wasn't about finding out the best mac and cheese and burger; trust me," the Scottish chef and restaurateur said. "[They made everything] from [Beef] Wellington to the most amazing homemade pasta. They even ran a restaurant, which was one of the most daunting challenges that we ever had to judge, let alone them being in there cooking."

Watch the full video to hear more about MasterChef Junior, which premieres September 27 at 8 p.m. on FOX.



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