Did the kids on “MasterChef Junior” know Gordon Ramsay before auditioning for the show? Were they afraid of him?
—Maria Lepe, El Paso, Texas
Nine-year-old Sarah from Culver City, California, succinctly sums up the kids’ reaction to Ramsay saying, “I have seen almost all of Gordon Ramsay’s shows, but I wasn’t really frightened about it because he can’t be really mean because we’re kids.”
Ramsay, 46, is the father of four — three girls and a boy — ranging in age from 11 to 15, so he is used to being around kids. But he still managed to be surprised by the large number of children between the ages of 8 and 13 who applied to be on the series and were actually excellent cooks.
To give you an idea, Sarah’s grandmother owned a restaurant, so she was born into the food business. She recalls, “When I was 4, I was helping my mom in the kitchen. I really enjoy baking more than anything because, when I was young, I took part in a lot of baking with my mom.”
Sarah’s favorite dish during the completion was her Chocolate Lava Cake. She says, “Because I had practiced that for, like, two months before I actually made it for [“MasterChef Junior”].
Dara, 12, also from Culver City, California, says, “My grandma was a cook. She’s in a cookbook. So she taught my mom. I learned how to cook from that and just grew to love it. I’m always going to have that thing for cooking.”
Dara’s favorite dish was a rack of lamb. She recalls, “The whole time, I was really shaky about how it would be cooked. I didn’t want it to be overcooked or undercooked. So I was really worried about that. When I grow up, I definitely want to be in the food business. I really love science, too, so I think something along the lines of, like, a food scientist, inventing new things for the world of food.”
“MasterChef Junior” also has some boys in the competition. One of those, Troy, 12, from Thousand Oaks, California, says the favorite dish he made was the Beef Wellington. “That was really fun because I’ve never made one of those before,” he says. “And it was a tag-team challenge, where you and a fellow competitor tag team every 10 minutes to switch out and cook the Beef Wellington.”