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Junior Masterchef – How Much Smoke And Mirrors Should There Be?

Well a successful first season of Junior Masterchef has occurred, and no child on the series appears to be scarred from being on the experience, except for a few burns here or there.

For people watching at home it was amazing to see how well these kids could cook with ingredients that are not the norm for most kids that age or for some adults.

They adeptly handle seafood, game, and even snails.

But as has been previously commented on in a previous post is it right for the producers of the show to “pretend” the kids were told the ingredient and then started cooking it straight away?

Photos on the website here you need to scroll through, show that there are recipes written out for them.

Also there have been reports the kids are told the ingredient the day before. Now I don’t have a problem with them getting the ingredient the day before, but should the show tell us this? Instead of making it look like they just cook spontaneously once they find out what the challenge is.

I see the pros and cons of both sides, and basically the more entertaining the better.

Your thoughts?


1 SteveMolk { 11.16.10 at 5:06 pm }

Television *is* smoke & mirrors. A little clarity may help, but not a game changer.

2 ericg { 11.16.10 at 5:25 pm }

I guess I lean towards clarifying to the audience back home, in this case with this Reality Show – Junior MasterChef.

To be honest, I have only watched clips of the entire Season and heavily relied on you, RR, to keep myself posted with the progress of these children. You have done well, RR. As usual. 😉

3 Injera { 11.16.10 at 5:43 pm }

Like Eric, I’ve only been “watching” the show through tweets and your updates. I think we all watch reality TV with our salt cellars handy, but in this case perhaps disclosing the real timelines would have been better in this iteration of MC given that there were lots of kids watching who mightn’t parse it the way we do.

BTW, loving the comments from South Africans on the old Masterchef posts!

4 Anonymous { 11.16.10 at 6:24 pm }

Stopped watching JMC after the first episode because it was too contrived for me. Based on the clips and commericals I did see, I thought something was up and am not surprised with these revelations.

I think making it look like the kids just found out about the “mystery ingredient” and having recipes (but not showing them) is really deceptive especially given the audience. Imagine how inferior kids (and their parents) must feel when they are made to believe these kids are such superstars and they cannot possibly live up to the same standard. Indeed, they could be shooting themselves in the foot as some really good kid cooks might not even bother to try out for next season because they think the standard is so high (when it isn’t).

This whole franchise is leaving a really sour taste. Between this kind of crap, the bogus Curtis Stone $10 meal offers being exposed as a scam, and the non-stop marketing from everyone associated with MC. And we’re not done yet. Doesn’t Jimmy’s India canteen open this month? When does Marion’s food line launch? Adam keeps stretching his 15mins out? And don’t get me started on Claire Whinging Burns. Oi!!!

BTW Isee in the photos from behind the scenes that the Im-Poh-Ster managed to show up for an episode of JMC. I don’t see any photos of Julie? Was she on JMC?

5 smauge { 11.16.10 at 8:23 pm }

I couldn’t care less. The adult MC is smoke and mirrors. We don’t care that fictional shows aren’t real (all you Rafters fans, I’m talking to you!) it’s still entertaining!

6 KC { 11.16.10 at 9:17 pm }

I completely agree with Smauge. Everything we watch on TV is smoke and mirrors. If you want reality don’t watch TV.

With the adult Masterchef, I remember reading that they eat the food much later than when its cooked. I don’t care to see that so I don’t care if they don’t have that shown.

Knowing or not knowing didn’t affect my viewing experience of Junior Masterchef. I watched every episode I could unless I was out that day and I absolutely loved it. The only criticism I had of the show was that there wasn’t that much tension because of the lack of criticism from the judges. And that really didn’t affect me much at all.

7 Reality Raver { 11.16.10 at 9:20 pm }

Injera – Yes the South Africa comments have reignited the should Julie have won debate.

Steve MOlk – so you are pumping for entertainment over integrity?

Eric G – thanks

Anonymous – Maybe Julie contract says she can only go on Channel 9 now.

Smauge – how real should reality TV be? I am sure there is an essay in that.

8 Fides { 11.16.10 at 9:35 pm }

Definitely feel the show has done the wrong thing not revealing the true circumstances under which these kids cook. Completely agree with previous posters – it’s the fact that this show is geared towards kids that the problem arises. It’s creating unrealistic expectations for any child who dabbles in the kitchen to think there are kids out there who can cook with any ingredient, in any style, off the tops of their heads, without any help, with a ridiculous time limit As the photos show, the hand written recipes (in an adult’s handwriting) are very explicit in their steps, even with reminders to taste the food.

I would much prefer it if they let it be known that the kids would have one night to prepare (apparently what happens for the “spontaneous” challenges) – there would still be drama in seeing what they’re going to cook, and whether they can pull it off/finish in time.

So the show’s been at pains to explain that it has done everything it can to protect the psychological wellbeing of kids who’ve appeared on the show with all number of counsellors available on set, but I think it’s done a disservice generally to their target audience. Not that I think there’ll be kids with battered self esteem queueing up for counselling post JMC, but the it’s a shame that this so called “feel good” family show needs to use such deception.

I won’t be watching next year.

9 Izobel2 { 11.16.10 at 9:35 pm }

Well I watched all of JMC and although I didn’t find it as exciting or suspensful as MC Senior, I loved how we got to see what every kid was cooking, and every plated up meal. Hope that MC Senior adapts that. I also thought Jack was lovely. And I don’t care about the smoke and mirrors. It’s all about the entertainment for me.

10 brain dead dave { 11.16.10 at 11:27 pm }

Nevermind the smoke and mirrors. Fremantle Media have an unlimited supply of bells , whistles, ducks and drakes .They’d send the children down chimneys if there was a buck in it . Hopefully chimneys that Scotty Cam has had nothing to do with.

11 brain dead dave { 11.16.10 at 11:35 pm }

Rafters only crash when Scott Cam has put them in…..

12 smauge { 11.17.10 at 7:20 am }

I’m not one for essay writing but it’s well documented by alot of people who’ve been a part of reality TV have deemed it “unreality TV”

13 jenn_cee { 11.17.10 at 8:48 am }

I just had a look at those photos of the recipies. Has anyone else noticed that the handwriting is suspiciously adult-looking? Kids aged 8-12 can’t write with such consistent lettering.

I’m ok with the kids having the recipies (in fact, I pretty much suspected it), but I’d like ot know just how much offscreen help they were given…

14 Fides { 11.17.10 at 9:26 am }

Yep that’s definitely not in a nine year old’s handwriting – the first recipe is almost identical to Siena’s lamb pie as appears officially on MC website. The other recipe shows that the contestants know what the other key ingredients could be (seafood or chicken pie, which other two choices for that challenge).

15 snails { 11.17.10 at 11:38 am }

they’re twelve and under – with or without recipes they could cook better, had more technique and finesse – and hey! could bake! – a lot better than most of those adult contestants last season.

16 Buzz { 11.17.10 at 12:33 pm }

Ok, so I only watched the final this year, and thought jack was gorgeous … with the little I know I don’t think that full disclosure of the process would have taken any shine off the mini-mcs achievements.
some editing would be needed since kids have pretty tight rules about filming and rehearsal schedules. Tho BDD has a point – Fremantle may have them sewing merch in the sweat-shop come green-room between takes :)

17 Reality Raver { 11.17.10 at 1:26 pm }

Buzz and BDD – LOL – down the salt mines the lot of them.

Snails – definitely better bakers

Jenn-cee definitely adult writing

Fides – it would have been good to see the kids discuss with parents or other adults what they were going to cook, and there could be some prompting. Always interesting to see the thought processes.

Smauge – No! That is like saying there is no santa claus

Izobel2 – oh yes please this year masterchef was particularly bad in only showing the best or the worst, We were unable to compare with the ones that just missed out.

18 Culinary Boner { 11.17.10 at 3:01 pm }

I am considering sending my kids to a MasterChef bootcamp this summer hols, so they can take over the cooking at home for 2011. Providing it’s guaranteed to give them the skills of Jake, Isabella or Sophia, of course.

19 marco { 11.09.13 at 1:02 pm }

i was more upset at the fact that they left the foil in the beef wellington but still didnt get eliminated sarah and dara