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Junior Masterchef – Contestants Are Helped Alot

It has been revealed today that Junior Masterchef contestants in the Herald Sun are told what the challenges are in advance so they can practice to ensure the dishes they turn out are good and the viewers will then be amazed at these kids skills.

The father of a contestant turned whistleblower told the paper:

The young chefs know in advance what they will be cooking and can perfect dishes at home, it has been claimed.

Some contestants have crammed in professional cooking and acting lessons before the show started.

And dishes can sit on benches for two hours before being tasted and then judged, it is claimed.

The father of one contestant has admitted to hiring a private chef for three days a week over six weeks to teach his child, who was in the top 50, the recipe to success.

Production company Shine, also the brainchild of reality cooking juggernaut MasterChef, said contestants did “get some information about the challenges in advance” but not recipes.

But the father, who cannot be identified because he signed a confidentiality agreement, said while the contestants were talented, their skills were groomed prior to the food being cooked.

“The kids act all surprised but they have had the recipes for weeks.

“While everything looks spontaneous, the reality is these kids have cooked the dishes 50 times.

“It’s not reality it’s all staged.”

The contestant’s mother said parents also complained their children were feeling flattened after a gruelling day and a psychologist was brought in to “pump up” morale.

The Shine spokeswoman admitted that in certain challenges not all dishes were tasted because of time and that not all dishes were hot when judged.

“The judges allow for this when making their decisions,” she said.

It comes as figures show Junior MasterChef is off the menu, with its ratings sliding to a record low.

The second season began three weeks ago with ratings of 1.129 million viewers.

On Monday night it dropped to an audience of 741,000.

It appeared to be obvious the kids got a heads up on what the challenges were in advance, however I am surprised that they found out so far in advance and get the opportunity to practice them over and over.

Last year there were pictures (pics now removed but they were there I promise) taken where they had recipes stored underneath the bench tops to refer to. This was in a blog post titled Junior Masterchef how much smoke and mirrors should there be.

I don’t think anyone expects 10 year olds to be able to razzle out a perfect dish from a mystery box, or remember a recipe off the top of their head, however if they are getting weeks to practice a dish that is another thing entirely.

What do you think? What is the fair preparation time these kids should get?

The other issue of note is how the contestant’s mother complained about the gruelling nature of the shoot. To be fair to Shine Australia they do outline in their contract (see previous blog post here) that they are able to exploit your child. However this is the first complaint from a parent from either season about how draining shooting the show is.

Another point that needs to be raised is if they are not tasting all the dishes does that mean the judges are just tasting favourites so they have a better chance of winning points and being up the top of the leader board?

The complaint about the judges not tasting the dishes immediately is what occurs on proper Masterchef, I think they taste the dishes whilst they are cooking. I don’t have a problem with that.

I also suspect the child of these parents has been eliminated from the show…..



1 Toby Tom { 10.19.11 at 11:53 am }

Not surprised. On Monday’s episode they cooked lobster. Which families can afford that? I don’t think there’s any doubt that the playing field isn’t level, and some of the kids have taken lots of cooking lessons.

Last season was much simpler, without all the razzle dazzle of the adult MC contest, or the cloying musical cues, and I feel this season it’s all over-produced.

2 brain dead dave { 10.19.11 at 12:14 pm }

The parents should be thrown into boiling water-not the lobsters.

3 Reality Raver { 10.19.11 at 12:25 pm }

BDD – Interesting about the paying for coaching thing. I wonder if that put added pressure on the child from the parents. Hard to know whether they are doing the right thing. My 7 yr olds wants to apply – she can’t cook and does not eat a wide range of foods so won’t qualify, thankfully.
Also probably won’t go a season three by the looks on the ratings.

Toby Tom – someone just tweeted me to say similar stuff happens on Masterchef

4 brain dead dave { 10.19.11 at 1:04 pm }

I guess you’ll get parents who’ll cough up for lessons from a chef and those who’ll go-

“Youz are bloody goin’ on Ma$terchef ors I’ll belt yaz wif this Julie Goodwin cookbook Oi pinched from Coles”

5 Maryann { 10.19.11 at 1:17 pm }

I have not watched a full epsiode this year. I find the while thing annoying. It is a set up. Kids simply to do cook that well at their ages or have the depth of experience they appear to present on camera without considerable assistance and an open wallet from their parents. I agree with brian dead dave.

6 Toby Tom { 10.19.11 at 1:50 pm }

Right now the show seems like a kid’s show placed at Prime Time. “YAY ALL THE CHOCOLATE WE CAN EAT!”

7 Fides { 10.19.11 at 2:09 pm }

I refuse to watch for this very reason. Normal MC is already MasterFake, but this one is even worse for fooling their young audience. Though perhaps, by the way the ratings are going, looks like enough people have twigged.

8 Mrs T { 10.19.11 at 2:44 pm }

I think your point about not expecting “10 year olds to be able to razzle out a perfect dish from a mystery box, or remember a recipe off the top of their head,” is spot on and they therefore shouldnt orchestrate these scenarios. I don’t watch the show, I find that ads and your blogs to be satisfactory.
If it were a show depicitng kids doing kid stuff, cooking in the kitchen making a mess etc. I would be interested. I’m not interested in watching a child whose parents have hired a personal chef to train them.

9 Chunks { 10.19.11 at 4:24 pm }

Just noticed this. RR, “a lot” is two words! You’ve been caught up inthe latest stage in the viral devolition of the English language that has swept away the correct spellings of “definite” and “lose”, abolished correct use of apostrophes (you have to put one after every “s” dontcha know) and seen all prepositions reduced to “of”.

10 Emma { 10.19.11 at 4:43 pm }

I was wondering what percentage of kids are part of an agency, and that surely they are not under as much pressure as the adults, they just film it to look that way.

11 Moo { 10.19.11 at 7:04 pm }


Nothing surprises me in this god awful reality TV show anymore.

12 littlepetal { 10.19.11 at 7:57 pm }

The parents themselves need to take some blame. The ‘sore loser’ dad was not happy that his darling got booted out (only assuming) after having 3 privates lessons per weeks for 6 weeks!!! For goodness sake, these are only 8 – 12 years old kids. These parents only want their kids to be on TV. I am sure not many will want their kids to become chefs.

When it comes to baking I think many adults couldn’t make a dessert/cakes without a recipe. The other night, the kids can all make desserts using all the 10 eggs !!!!! Most recipes for a cake uses less than 10 eggs. They must have knew before hand.

I am still watching the show but there is no ‘wow’ factor for me any more because it is ‘expected’ that they will cook something amazing.

13 Moonstruck { 10.19.11 at 9:52 pm }

I have only watched Masterchef, a little of My Kitchen rules and Renovators. Didn’t like the voyeristic aspect of Big Brother or the repetitiveness at the start after each commerial break (Masterchef is guilty of this).
Junior Masterchef should not be classified as Reality TV, (and Masterchef either). They know in advance the Mystertbox contents, they have the recipes, they can practice the recipes. Is there anything real on the show? Bet they even extend the time so they can finish, and then get them to act as if they are running out of time. What skills, abilities does the winner have?

Hope ratings drop so much that they don’t even show the final.
I’m with Brain Dead Dave. Shame on the parents.

14 Amy { 10.20.11 at 12:44 pm }

I see someone already picked up on your heading, but I came along to post this, as it’s all I can think of when I see “Alot” 😉

15 Marepoppin { 10.20.11 at 1:55 pm }

Loved your link, Alot Amy

16 PollyB { 10.21.11 at 9:08 am }

Melbourne radio this morning – Matt Moran stating absolutely false regarding contestants receiving recipes etc. He said they get help taking their cakes out of the oven and things like that. I think his pants are on fire!

17 Heléna { 10.21.11 at 10:50 am }

I’d say definitely the parent of a failed contestant :/
shame they fake the “surprise” it’s impressive that the kids can cook at all under that pressure even with coaching – my son would love to enter too :/ – if I had the money I would have no problem with coaching, but only if my child enjoyed the lessons I doubt he would last the first one before losing interest ;p

18 Purple Bitch { 10.21.11 at 11:08 am }

I’m sick of seeing kids acting like adults. It isn’t entertaining it’s boring! Like all those pageants and talent quests. FDT (fingers down throat)

19 t.tas { 11.25.11 at 8:49 am }

Junior masterchef. Yuk ! Totally biased scoring. Won’t be watching it next year that’s for sure. Parents must be out of their minds. Talk about pushing childrn ! Exploitation at it’s highest level. Aren’t those judgrs ashamed of themselveves—or are they just in it for the money !

20 Jasmin { 11.25.11 at 10:13 am }

Amy – that blog is brilliant.

Chunks – this one’s for you:

21 Keren { 10.23.12 at 1:09 pm }

guys’ i’m from isarel:)
can i still comment on this or nobody reads here already?:)

22 Reality Raver { 10.23.12 at 1:26 pm }

Comment away – Is Junior Masterchef playing in Israel at the moment?

23 Keren { 10.24.12 at 2:53 am }

hi:) how are you?
no:), only top chef season 2 and i think 6 that is over.
but i watched it online(2 episodes) and i couldn’t believe no one caught that there was a girl there that put her cup/cupcake in the oven in a plastic form(“ramican” she called it?)- and it completely melted).

Gary came and started telling her that the “secret in the kitchen is

24 Keren { 10.24.12 at 3:01 am }

to save what lookes dead etc.
now- i do agree that its important to give moral support to children- but NOT to lie and not to decieve and decieve and give false hopes and deluce. that is a complete other thing.

that’s suppose to be a (somehow) semi proffesional food programm? and u tell a kid that a melted in a high heat INTO a pastry, into a cake plastic(realy melted)- is “for save”? and that’s like the secret to sucsess” in a kitchen for a good cook”?
i dont wanna b in ur kitchen..



25 Pickle { 03.22.13 at 7:47 pm }

I LOVE all cooking shows that show latest techniques, current styles or just the fun of cooking. I even kind of liked some flavors of Masterchef. Masterchef Jr. is nothing less than slave training. There is no way in hades that these kids came up with any of these recipies.

That brings into question the rest of the Masterchef franchise. Masterchef X is enjoyable viewing and that is about it. As for any connect to reality, forget it. So funny that something called reality TV is exactly the opposite.

Maybe it is only the reality the the current, plugged-in consumer wishes to believe.

26 Ben { 11.03.13 at 5:56 am }

Alright, so there is definitely some help that the children get. But really there is NO way that someone out of the top of their head can know the recipe to a cake. Or frankly anything they make, all in all they have the recipes to read from, they have help, they know whats in the mystery boxes, and they already cooked the recipe before. Its fun to watch but the kids are not as talented as it seems

27 luisa { 11.05.13 at 7:22 pm }

That troy kid was on a recent “random” online survey for gay marriage.. I don’t doubt that these kids have acting gigs.. Makes mr question if that’s what all these kids are.

28 Quantumnerd { 11.06.13 at 9:06 pm }

I googled this topic, after seeing one of the children on Masterchef Junior on another viral video for yahoo about same sex marriage. It started me thinking that Masterchef Junior was either fake or had child actor’s on it? I wondered how these kids could cook like that. As for having recipes on the counters, in the regular Masterchef show’s I’ve seen the recipes on the counters before, I think it would be impossible to remember the recipes from memory. Nonetheless I do like the show, and I guess the children would have to be helped along some, considering their ages.

29 Video of Kids Reacting to Gay Marriage Proposal Leaves Me With this Big Question | Sara for America { 11.07.13 at 4:28 am }

[…] yes it appears so, with regards to the cooking part.  I am actually pretty happy to find out that the whole thing was staged because my guy was […]

30 Julie { 11.09.13 at 3:15 pm }

This article article itself is informative; however, when there is a misspelled word in the title I am just disappointed in the lack of attention to detail. ‘A lot’ is not one word.

31 brain dead dave { 11.09.13 at 3:21 pm }

Had you checked your own work, Julie, you’d observe that you have typed the word “article” twice. Just as disappointed in your lack of attention to detail.

Own goal.

32 Master Chef Junior - Shows, stars, ratings... - Page 6 - City-Data Forum { 11.10.13 at 2:27 am }

[…] to be more staged than most. (Let's face it, all reality shows are staged to a certain extent.) Junior Masterchef – Contestants Are Helped Alot | reality ravings I will say that at the end of the show there is a disclaimer that the timing could be changed, and […]

33 { 02.01.14 at 10:39 pm }

There is a greater tendency to over compensate when you are looking to compensate for a perceived fault in any given relationship.

It’s also incredibly important that you don’t stop living your life
at this point. So the question arise if you don’t make any attempts to apologize your mistakes then what
should you do right now.

34 Ryan { 02.12.14 at 12:29 pm }

This article is fake i know some of them and they are never considered fakers or given clues of challenges in advance like when Sarah got to pick out of three dishes they had to cook

35 Tucker { 02.16.14 at 3:09 pm }

Does anyone out there still believe that reality tv is actually real? I thought we learned our lesson years ago.

36 brain dead dave { 02.16.14 at 5:16 pm }

Your grip on reality is pretty tenuous if you need to ask that question here.

37 El Guapo { 02.16.14 at 6:40 pm }

I’m shattered!