Fox’s MasterChef Junior is taking cooking competitions to a younger audience. Contestants between ages 8 and 13 apply for a chance to cook for the judges: Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich, and Graham Elliot. This year’s Season 3 kicked off with 19 junior chefs competing in a “Mystery Box Challenge.” Five contestants were sent home the first week, with two being eliminated every week since.The winner of MasterChef Junior receives $100,000 and a trophy. Besides getting into the competition spirit and rooting for you favorite child chef, these kids have something to teach the audience, adults and kids alike. Here are a few reasons you should tune into Fox’s MasterChef Junior.
Sprinkled throughout kid-friendly challenges like whipping egg whites the fastest, and a grocery scavenger hunt, are actually cooking challenges. The dishes are tend to be simpler, something easily made at home: fresh pastas, coconut rice pudding with mango mint compote, and even pork sausages with sauerkraut. Watching children create these dishes should spur hesitant grown-ups to take a chance on home-cooking, and urge children to help out in the kitchen.
These kids have spirit and passion. They know they like cooking, and they want to be good at it. They are open to learning and criticism. Imagine what society would be like if we all strived to be better at the things we love, if we all accepted critiques not defensively, but with open, accepting attitudes.
Most of the eliminated contestants tear up or completely cry, it’s not simply because they are young and haven’t learned to fully control their emotions, it’s because they’ve worked so hard at something they love to do and essentially the judges are telling them their work didn’t cut it this time. It’s a tremendous heart break to fail at something you’ve worked so hard for, but the incredible thing is most of the kids accept the loss and explain to the camera they will continue learning and working hard towards culinary careers. They stumble and get right back up again. There are plenty of adults who give up the moment they stub their toes, these kids can teach those adults about perseverance.
MasterChef Junior constantly places the contestants into team challenges, forcing teamwork with opponents. We’ve seen the same concept in adult competition shows with multiple outcomes: the teammates get along and do well, or the teammates despise each other or one person and the differences contribute to failure. For adults, the audience will see calm, if slightly irritated contestant onstage, then the interview clip shows how he/she really feels about so-and-so.
With kids, as MasterChef Junior shows us, if they like each other it’s rainbows and kittens, kind words, and the start of potentially life long friendships. If they dislike each other, it’s obvious. Kids have a harder time than adults masking frustration and anger towards one another, often ending in outright insults or taking over to do it the ‘right’ way. As adults we can take a cue from the kids, not throw tantrums or be rude, but tell whoever is frustrating why and how we can work to create a better work environment. Keeping that frustration hidden hurts the team in the long run.