Junior MasterChef Australia,Monday-Friday,9 pm,Star World,HHHH
Whats it about? Chocolate fountains,vegetable gardens,fresh meats and adorable young children plating dishes which are otherwise considered a forte of professional chefs. This is Junior MasterChef Australias kitchen. The first season of this show follows in the footsteps of the acclaimed MasterChef Australia series. More than 5,000 applicants from across Australia all between the age group eight to 12 first compete for a Top 50 shortlist and then battle it out by dishing out delectable fare to qualify for the Top 20 and then the Top 12 slot. Unlike the parent series,contestants are not eliminated every week in the Junior version,but every stage of the competition sees four contestants leaving the show. And every eliminated contestant receives a prize,including those in the Top 50.
Whos in it? Intelligent and well-informed,the contestants on this show,despite their age,are sans tantrums. Call them cheflings. Judging them are the known MasterChef judges the energetic Gary Mehigan,encouraging George Calombaris,the stern-yet-hilarious Matt Preston and a new addition,the kind and motherly Anna Gare.
Whats hot? Its a treat to watch nine-year-olds make mushroom duxelles,duck wontons,four-tier cakes and poached pear with cranberry syrup and vanilla mascarpone with such confidence and precision. These are children with passion for food perfected over years.
The judges deserve a mention. They are as objective with these little chefs as they are with grown-ups on the regular series. At the same time,they lend them a helping hand whenever a contestant is pressed for time.
Criticism is carefully meted out too,with awareness that harsh criticism can be demoralising to children. In comparison,Indian talent shows for children fare miserably. The pressures that young minds are put through,the harsh and disappointing remarks and the tearful eliminations can have long-term effects on children.
Whats not? The show premiered in Australia in 2010 and is being aired here two years later. Foodaholics in India are getting to devour it a bit late.
Should you be watching it? Its a show that everyone will enjoyboth children and adults and those cook as well as those who aspire to.