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Tiny Chefs: Genius or Disaster?

Posted on: March 7th, 2013 by Taryn Jeffries No Comments

With the popularity of cooking shows like Chopped, Top Chef, MasterChef and the Taste it seems inevitable that a mini version would show up anytime now.

Junior MasterChef is already present in France, Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, Belgium, the Netherlands and the U.K and a US version is in the works. They are looking for kids between the ages of 8 and 13 who can cook and have knife skills akin to professionals. Instead of starting the process with the pressure cooker environment of bringing in a dish and waiting amongst the other kids vying for a spot on the show, the tots will be invited for an interview so that the casting crew can hear them talking about their passion, what they enjoy cooking the most and to find out their cooking inspirations.

I love the idea of getting kids to cook and get inspired and involved in the kitchen, my only concern with the idea of the show is these little people are pretty young and can sometimes be fragile emotionally, no matter how much confidence and pride a parent tried to instill in them.  Maybe I think this because both of my boys are younger than the entry age and I am only familiar in that way with my own tinies. I am sure (and really hope) that the producers and creators of the show have taken all the steps and thought all the thoughts to ensure that the contestants will be well looked after, both physically and emotionally.

Blogger and MasterChef casting food judge Lucy Lean was quoted on the casting call announcement describing the contestant they are looking for: “Let’s just say we aren’t looking for the kid who makes the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We want kids who can whip up more than a batch of cookies from a log of store bought cookie dough. They will have knife skills and be really comfortable in the kitchen, they will sail through a mystery box challenge without breaking a sweat, will understand how to season and won’t be intimidated when quizzed on the doneness of their soft boiled egg or the sear on their scallops.”

What are your thoughts? Is this too young or is it all dependant on the child? Would you encourage your child to try out for the show?

By Taryn Jeffries, PhoenixBites Staff Writer

About the Author - Taryn Jeffries

Editor and Chief Eating Officer of PhoenixBites, 2017 Food Writer of the Year (Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame) Taryn grew up in a small town in Illinois with a doting Grandmother who taught her the way around a kitchen and that food is representative of love. Her current quest is to find the love in local dishes and the chefs behind them. In addition to running all things PhoenixBites, Taryn is also a freelance writer, sharing her insight on the best dishes and where to get them each and every month.

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