MasterChef Junior-Restaurant Kids

Kids taking over the kitchen of a restaurant to serve lunch. A recipe for disaster or more proof the producers are equating these kids to their full grown counterparts?

I was surprised that they decided to put the restaurant challenge in the junior edition. After all, this is going way out of their comfort zone. And considering most industrial kitchens are not kid friendly, one that is fraught with peril. I cannot imagine many restaurant owners opening up their kitchens due to labor, safety and liability issues to allow kids to cook for a reality show. Those concerns aside, this was a great episode if nothing else to see how these kids worked under the pressure of a restaurant.

Last weeks winners, Dara and Gavin were team leaders. Team Dara (Red Team) includes Alexander and Jack. Team Gavin(Blue Team) includes Troy and Sarah. Troy wanted to work on Dara’s team and not happy to be on Gavin’s. Troy is not happy about having Sarah on the team (she was picked last). Sarah comments that she expected to be picked last due to her age. Then she points she has been cooking for six years. That would mean she started cooking when she was two. Since this is Halloween Week, I wonder if she is a gifted child from another planet.

Meanwhile in the kitchen they learn what they are serving for lunch, which are two appetizers and two entrees. They are at Drago Centro, one of the top Italian restaurants in Los Angeles. Executive Chef Ian Gresik demonstrates the dishes they would be cooking. Too be honest, I was very nervous watching this part. These are dishes well beyond anything they have cooked before (one kid says of the appetizers that it is not a plate of salami and cheese!). It is a lot to learn in a very short time. Aside from the diners, Chef Ian will be tasting their dishes as well. With Gordon expediting, nothing will pass by that is not done right.

As is often happens though, chaos enters the kitchen as the kids all have to work together as a team. And not everyone is used to that. Fortunately Drill Sergeant Gordon Ramsay has been replaced with Ramsay model 1.0. This Ramsay is more mellow than the sergeant model, but certainly conveys anger when displeased. No foul words had to be bleeped, no utterances of “you donkey” or calling anyone Shrek (like he did to David when he put plastic bottles on top of a hot oven). Gavin though likes taunting Team Dara when his raviolis were done first. Dara seems to be less proactive as a leader at first. Troy decides to take control of Team Gavin believing he is not delegating. This causes him to push Sarah off her station and even cooking. Sarah is not happy with this treatment and even cries. Team Dara has its own problems as both Alexander and Dara are butting heads.

Despite all this and some jittery performances in the kitchen, all the dishes go out and none came back. That is a first (as noted by Gordon as well). Chef Ian was impressed with what he tasted from both teams. Each had strengths and weaknesses. Some were better on one dish than the other but was very close. Back in the kitchen, the kids are congratulated and given apple juice (Gordon calls it apple cider but over here there is virtually no difference between the two unless it has more bits of the fruit in it). The diners were astonished and clapped in approval when they saw the chefs were in fact kids. They had to have known it was a MasterChef taping but not it the junior version.

Back at MasterChef Central (aka the kitchen), judgment is rendered. We learn Team Dara won meaning Alexander, Dara, and Jack are in the top four. That leaves two in Team Gavin to be sent home. Troy is saved sending both Gavin and Sarah home. Sarah cries but Gordon tries to comfort her. She really is quite an extraordinary kid considering what she produced. And I saw some promo recently with her and Gordon cooking something on a morning show. Gordon has an eye for talent and supporting those starting out. As does Graham and Joe. Down the line some of these kids will find doors open at their places to learn how to cook professionally.

By The Numbers
According to Tvbythenumbers Undercover Boss won the hour with a 1.6 rating, down from 1.8 last week. MasterChef Junior was second with 1.4, up slightly from last week. Last Man Standing was a rerun so it drops down to fourth place and Dateline was third at 1.3.

Interesting Search Terms
People are inputing search terms in Google and other search engines (which leads them to this blog and others) and here are some of them:

are MasterChef junior actors
can the kids on masterchef junior really cook
do the kids on masterchef junior really cook
is junior masterchef real

That last one is a zinger. Is the show real? Well reality television (especially the more notorious ones) often skews what we see. Kitchen Nightmares (U.S.) heightens conflict for the show (though sometimes it does not need to like Amy’s Baking Company). While I enjoy the show, one has to remember this is entertainment. And these kids are exceptional for their age.

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