Almost 2,000 young cooks aged 9-14 from around Australia applied to become part of Junior MasterChef Australia, which will return for the first time since 2011 on October 11 at 7:30 pm on 10 and 10 Play.
The show will air each week on Sunday, Monday and Tuesdays at 7:30 pm, with the winner being crowned Australia’s Junior MasterChef and taking home $25,000 in prize money.
Before they were chosen to be on the show the final crop of hopefuls auditioned in Melbourne in front of judges Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen before the top 14 tiny chefs were selected and handed their aprons.
The mini contestants will face MasterChef staples such as Mystery Boxes, Immunity Challenges and Eliminations, while also facing new elements including the Immunity Gong, where two cooks will win the chance to bang the gong and save themselves from elimination during the competition.
The junior pack of cooks will have to collect their own honey from a beehive, make their way through a snowy MasterChef kitchen, taste a whole lot of ice cream and see if they recognise some familiar, but very old, faces along the way. They’ll meet some of the best chefs and cooks in the land, with challenges set by Curtis Stone, Darren Purchese and Kirsten Tibballs, Morgan Hipworth and none other than MasterChef Australia Back To Win winner, Emelia Jackson.
Junior MasterChef Australia judge Melissa Leong said that she had high expectations but was still surprised by the quality of cooking that was presented.
“The calibre of cooking and their interpretation of the creative challenges really surprised me in terms of their maturity, their artistic conception, and their execution. I really hope that the audience can appreciate just how special these kids are.”
“The greatest joy with Junior MasterChef is how bright our future is with kids like this wanting to cook from such a young age. These are kids who have grown up with MasterChef for most of their lifetime and this is really a testament to how much our food IQ as a nation has progressed. I think that fascination with food helps us connect and learn about each other’s cultures because a lot of the time the easiest way to learn about each other’s cultures is through food.”
From home-style favourite foods, a celebration of cultural cuisines and recreations of dazzling dishes, it will be hard to believe what these young culinary students can do.
The 14 contestants on Junior MasterChef Australia:
Ben, 10, VIC
Ben is from Bendigo in country Victoria. His hobbies include making military models, playing the cornet and going to cub scouts. When he grows up, Ben dreams of being a website developer, an architect or a chef who specialises in telling a story with food.
Carter, 12, NSW
Carter holds aspirations to be a chef and own a hatted restaurant. He is also into sports including soccer, touch footy, swimming, little athletics and hip-hop dancing
Dev, 13, VIC
Born in Australia to Indian parents, Dev’s first love is making curries, but he also loves cooking Italian cuisine and making technical desserts inspired by Heston Blumenthal. Dev plays competitive tennis and classical guitar and enjoys hanging out with younger brother Sydh, 11.
Etka, 13, VIC
Etka has a passion for Indian and Thai cuisine, having lived in Thailand for a year. His interests are varied, with fishing, art and restoring and repairing old items amongst his favourite hobbies.
Filo, 12, VIC