If you haven't been watching MasterChef Junior so far, know that you've been missing out on probably the best cooking show on television right now. Why? Because it's physically impossible not to smile when you see the infamous chef Gordon Ramsay sitting cross-legged and praying before an oven for a young girl's soufflé to rise, or comforting a crying child over a failed layer cake. It's heart-warming, genuinely educational, and fun. Plus these kids -- ages 8 to 13 -- seriously kick ass in the kitchen.
So if you know a child with a passion for cooking, listen up. Right now Fox is on the hunt for the next group of MasterChef Junior stars and in their nationwide search, they'll be coming to Phoenix. We know every parent will be looking for a way to make their young chef stand out, so we chatted with MasterChef Junior Casting Producer Dani Maule to get some tips for the upcoming open call.
What are you looking for at these open casting calls?
We're looking for kids ages 8 to 13 who genuinely have passion for cooking, because you look at these kids and they're cooking, sometimes, restaurant quality dishes. It's absolutely mind-boggling. So we're looking for kids who are genuinely passionate about cooking. Obviously, having culinary knowledge is a plus. And we want to see, you know, their sparkling personalities.
How much are you looking at their culinary skill set?
I mean, we will definitely question them on it. We're obviously not looking for, you know, professionals -- they're children. But we just talk to them and see what they know and usually, if they can cook anything, they know something.
What would you say would be your best piece of advice for parents going into this?
So, my advice to parents is tell their children to come in with confidence and to not be nervous and to really have fun with it -- and have fun with the producers and the judges. And, sort of, not to pull back. You know, if they know about making crepes, then they should tell us. And they do need to know some basic things like turning on a stove, using a knife.
Is there a different piece of advice you would give if you were speaking directly to the kids?
Advice to the kids would be to not be nervous and to just really have a lot of fun because this is all about, you know, the experience and the journey. Oh, and one other advice for the kids is to really put their passion on a plate.
Are you allowed to talk about what the [audition] process will be for the kids?
At the open call they do not have to bring prepared food and they will not actually be cooking; they will be demonstrating basic cooking, culinary knowledge. But they should come with their favorite apron.
Favorite apron? Are there any restrictions or how crazy can they get with their aprons?
No, as crazy as they want!
How long should a parent and child expect to be spending at the open call?
Again, it really depends on the turnout. But usually they're there for an hour to two. It could be less, it could be more. I would say about an hour.
Looking at the casting website, it said if you can't make it to the open call that you are able to do a video submission. Are there any guidelines or parameters for that route?
So if they are going to send in a home video, we want to see the child as themself. So, we want to see them cooking, but we also want to see what they do for fun or if they have any hobbies, if they play any sports, if they collect cookbooks. We kind of want to see a day in the life of the child. Of course, with cooking, but it should also be...they should really have a lot of fun making the video.
If there are parents who are hesitant, thinking, "How does this work with school?" and "Is it going to be too stressful for my child?" what would you say to them?
I would tell the parents that this is an incredible opportunity for their child to gain experience with three highly respected judges. They should not be afraid of Gordon Ramsay. It's really precious to watch the judges with them because they're not, obviously, as cruel to the children as they are the adults and you can see how genuine they are with them and how much they actually adore these kids. It's really pleasant.
The MasterChef Junior open casting call will be held on Saturday, November 15 at the Point Hilton Squaw Peak Resort from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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All children who arrive before 5 p.m. will have a chance to be seen by the judges.
For more information about MasterChef Junior open calls or video auditions, visit the MasterChef Junior Casting website.