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Junior Masterchef Is Off and Running

The second season of Junior Masterchef premiered last night and again it involves high production values with some very talented young chefs. This year they are again between the ages of 8 and 12.

I mean who had even tasted crab and duck by the age of twelve let alone know how to cook them.  This year the kids are going to go to Disneyland if they stay long enough in the competition some spoilers can be found through this blog post on TV Tonight. Who knew there was a Disney blog?

Tonight we saw the top 50 cooks, with five of them getting through to the top twenty. Each section was overseen by one of five of Sydney’s top chefs who had a ingredient their section had to cook.

The positives of the show:

  • Everyone remains very positive about the cooking and the children;
  • The cooking standards were high;
  • The set was amazing and the hour goes quickly;
  • It is a great show to watch with the kids;
  • I like the chemistry of Gary Mehigan, Anna Gare and Matt Moran, but I must confess I did query on twitter last night that if Anna Gare was out of shape like some of the male judges would she be on the show;
  • Putting through the winners means at this stage none of the kids are meant to feel bad about being on the show.
The negatives:
  • The sweetness of it , I guess I am just not a spoonful of sugar kind of girl, but the end of the hour the condescending smiling started irritating me;
  • I thought it a tad unfair only three of the dishes of the ten were selected for tasting, this raises the issue that better tasting ones may have not been in with a chance;
  • Masterchef editing was in play, viewers could guess which plates were going to get tasted by the camera time the kids were getting;
  • I thought Greta got very lucky indeed getting through as her roast beef looked raw in parts; and also I was bemused when Kylie Kwong was talking up the girl who put soy sauce in her risotto if this had occurred on the real masterchef the judges would have had apoplexy.
Harry, Tom , Greta, Keiran, and Stephen were the five kids who got through to the top twenty.
TV Tonight has this excellent interview with Executive Producer of the show Nick Coloquhuon about how they look after the children whilst filming. However I am not quite buying the reason for why the Junior Masterchef contract is written the way it is.
He says:

“Every contract has legal jargon but when you strip that away it’s there to protect both the brand and the child. We don’t want contestant to go out and sell their story because they don’t have the experience to manage the media. When you invite the vampire into your house it’s going to become problematic,” Colquhoun says.

“Bring us in and then we can help manage that for you.

A previous blog post on the Junior Masterchef contract  and whether you would sign it can be found here.

What did you think of the first episode of Junior Masterchef? Will you be watching the series?


1 smauge { 09.26.11 at 8:58 am }

1) Anna Gare seems to have form as a child-specialty cook/chef/mentor. I’m pretty sure she’s picked for her credentials rather than her looks. Give her credit. Plus Hubby watches the show just for glimpses of Anna.
2) I wonder if the five mentor chefs tasted any of the dishes in their groups in an effort to pick the best three?
3) Totally agree re. the raw beef. Sympathy votes?

Loving it so far. I hated this season of regular MC because of all the personality drama taking over the cooking (and yes, I did watch through to the end despite hating it!) so I’m looking forward to this to be inspired by the food again, minus the drama.

2 Maz { 09.26.11 at 9:29 am }

Anna Gare overacts and consequently is quite annoying.
If Greta didn’t get through it would have only been boys in the top 5. It will be interesting to see who gets picked to ensure gender neutrality.

3 KC { 09.26.11 at 9:34 am }

I ate crab and duck all throughout my life (childhood till now) but that’s probably because I’m Chinese and those foods are kinda like staples for big Chinese retaurant meals. Cooking wise…yea I would have no clue.

^In total agreement about loving Junior Masterchef so far and hating last season of regular MC. The drama, blandness of the contestants and seemingly low overall quality of talent compared to previous years really ruined MC for me this year and hopefully next year it will be back to previous standards.

1) I’m sorry but I dislike Anna Gare. I know she’s the one who’s suppose to be the child-specialty cook and she often has really good criticisms but she speaks and acts like she’s speaking to 5 year olds and younger. Everytime her eyes widen and face goes into an exaggerated, WOW THIS IS GREAT, and her voice starts to get into the condescending zone, I just can’t help but yell at the TV screen for her to just GET OUT. You can be encouraging to the kids and give them good criticism without doing that (which I think Gary is the best at to be honest. Matt could improve a bit on that aspect)

2) The editing was hilarious in that I was able to guess all five of the contestants that were getting through.

3) I really like Dee, the crab kid, I think he’ll have lots of interesting and cute soundbites and Harry, the paella kid, because I love how his nanna taught him how to cook and how good he was at the paella. Also it was hilarious was how many much camera time Greta’s mum got and how her face fell when Gary said he wasn’t sure.

4) I’m in for a season for really teary eyes. I already teared up several times last night because of all the parental love and amazing cooking. Let’s not even talk about how crap these amazing kids make me feel about my lack of cooking skills and how derp I was when I was 10


4 Renocrazy { 09.26.11 at 10:00 am }

Great start, except Anna, and I agree with everyone that says she overacts. It might be worth the producers sending her to acting lessons before she makes people turn the tv off. I too hope the individual judged sampled a bit of every dish, and they do need to show this happening.

5 irena { 09.26.11 at 10:44 am }

contract to protect the kids – that’s a laugh. i agree that people need help but why not have an INDEPENDENT agent rather than one the network provides. mags are willing to pay thousands even for happy stories, stories of adversity, the kids won’t see a dime of that but the station gets the ratings bounce and the mags who did the deals get the sales.
i’ve been on a show on ten and i know how this works – you only find out after you leave how it’s all set up so that when you’re most popular they earn but when you’re yesterday’s contestant you’re cut loose.
they do deals with certain media groups and outlets and lock out others, everyone in the deals makes money except the contestant who are practically slave labour working for a dream.
there’s no way to stop the reality train with realism but at least don’t believe the spin from the producers – they’re doing their jobs.

6 brain dead dave { 09.26.11 at 12:00 pm }

“When you invite the vampire into your house it’s going to become problematic” said Nick whoever.

I guess “vampire ” is referring to the parents of the contestants.

Classic Ma$terchef spin. Suffer ye little children.

7 PollyB { 09.26.11 at 12:37 pm }

Agree with all re Anna Gare – condescending, overacting, she acts likes she is in a pantomime. She would be good on regular MC. Loving these kids though and how good they can cook. Go Harry and Chandler (he forgot to turn his oven on).

8 Culinary Boner { 09.26.11 at 12:58 pm }

My brain and dick are in heated dispute over Anna.

And the attraction-revulsion scales are so finely balanced she needs to end this conflict else I wont be able to watch them cute and talented kids no more.

Now Anna, me dick’s instructions are that you continue to channel your inner Nigella. You can do it, babe. Yep, more hair flicking. Ooooh yeah, more flashing eyes. Get them dimples working, you hottie you…Oooooh yeah baby, more spoon and finger lickin’.

However, I not just some base animal (no, really) and me brain’d be content if ya just dropped the chanteuse moves and chanelled your inner George and Gary fugliness by toning down the toddlers and tiara’s pantomine just a tad so that we can get back to appreciating that you are actually a good cook and cooking show presenter. Who do you think you are? Curtis Stone with a vag?

Digressions aside, the cooking we saw again shat on much of the stuff stumped up in the big ‘uns version of this show. Well, apart from the hoisin rissoto. That’ve given Andre’s strawberry rissoto a run for its money.

9 JaniceG { 09.26.11 at 4:00 pm }

Wil Anderson says the show he can’t wait for is Junior Renovators: “Kids with nail-guns. Sign me up…” :->

10 Take me back to LA... { 09.26.11 at 4:01 pm }

Hmm… Disneyland, that’s interesting. Just quietly, we spotted the Junior Mastercheffers and judges filming on Venice Beach a couple of weeks ago….

11 Moo { 09.26.11 at 7:19 pm }

That little girl who pulled a Matt Preston by smashing a plate on the floor in the previews of what’s to come this season was both sad and pathetic to watch. That’s enough for me to say ‘no, thanks’ to yet another season of Junior MasterChef Australia. At least the UK version of Junior MasterChef doesn’t have any of those stupid and ridiculous antics.

Honestly, the only reason I might be interested in watching this season is to see how much weight the new conceited female host/judge will gain in a year’s time. Shall we start betting?

12 sue { 09.26.11 at 7:42 pm }

I read all these posts, and then watched my (recorded) JMC- kept waiting for the over-acting, condescending stuff from Anna- I must watch a different show!!! I saw her being genuine and nice, and that’s it!!! The only one who over-acted was Gary!!!! Seriously, there was absolutely nothing wrong with how she acted and spoke to the kids- genuine enthusiasm is NOT condescending…WOW !!!!

some of the choices by the judges were a bit odd tho- I do agree with that…..let’s see what tonite’s show brings…. :)

13 skye { 09.26.11 at 9:44 pm }

I still don’t understand why they put this on in the 7.30 timeslot – it’s too late for kids to watch. Our five year old begged and begged to be allowed to stay up to watch it, and we had to cart him off to bed (protesting) before the end of the show and he was dog tired today. No more JMC for him I think. Which is really crappy as he does love it.

14 littlepetal { 09.26.11 at 10:11 pm }

Can’t imagine how good the kids are. This lot know what they need to do to win Junior Masterchef. I am sure many have been to cooking classes. I was really amazed at the kid that cooked the paella. He did know the techniques of cooking paella. I cooked mine last week end and by not stirring you can get a burnt bottom (some part of mine did!!! Not my bottom but the bottom of the paella!!!)

I also noticed a Muslim girl and I was wondering whether she will have to cook pork. So far she has been cooking dessert.

I do enjoy the show but I am not going to watch the episode when Julia is on!

15 smauge { 09.27.11 at 8:12 am }

Sue – I agree. I love Anna. I look forward to seeing her on Junior MC.
Skye – We had this problem last night too. Luckily we have a TiVo so they can watch it at a reasonable time, but they know it’s coming on and want to watch it then.