This piece first appeared on The Jew and the Carrot blog at the Forward.
On September 27, 24 culinary whiz kids will whip out their knives and cook for their lives on TV on the first season of Junior MasterChef to hit U.S. television screens. Ranging from eight to 13-years-old, these kids will have to impress kitchen hard-ass Gordon Ramsay and his fellow judges, restaurateur and winemaker Joe Bastianich (Del Posto, Eataly) and acclaimed chef Graham Elliot (Graham Elliot, Graham Elliot Bistro).
The tweens will face some tough challenges during the first episode and only 12 will make it to the next level. These finalists will face a variety of challenges, including taking over a fine dining establishment in Los Angeles to prepare a three-course meal. The winner will go home with $100,000 to put in their savings accounts—possibly to put toward culinary school tuition.
Ramsay, known for his colorful language, is going to have to watch what he says around the kids. “We know the F-word means food,” he said jokingly to the Huffington Post.
These kinds of kitchen competitions can be nerve wracking for experienced professional chefs, let alone elementary school-age children. So, the Jew and the Carrot turned to a couple of successful teen chefs for some perspective. We asked Romilly Newman, 15, the youngest ever contestant on the Food Network’s “Chopped” and Aaron Kirschner, 16, who hasinterned at Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin, to offer some advice to the Junior MasterChef contestants.
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.