I don't know if you've noticed, but there are a lot of kid's competition shows on Food Network nowadays. Chopped Junior, Next Food Network Star Kids, Kid's Baking Championship, Kid's Halloween Baking Championship, the list goes on. I respect Food Network for wanting to reach a new demographic and encouraging kids to cook, but the shows are somewhat stressful to watch.
I don't know whether to feel bad for them, cheer for them, or be jealous of them. If you've never watched a kid's competition show on Food Network, go ahead and watch one and see if you feel this same range of emotions.
1. Impressed at the kids' skills
These kids are honestly superhuman (like Cam). As the judges often point out, they can be more creative and produce better dishes than some of the adult contestants.
2. Salty that a 10-year-old can cook better than you
Of course I'm impressed that a 10-year-old knows how to properly cook a sea urchin, but I am also salty that their culinary knowledge is so much more advanced than mine. I have watched Food Network every day for a long time and I still under/over cook chicken all the time.
3. Uncomfortable when the judges are hard on them
The judge's job is to critique the youngins, but sometimes they take it a little too far. I remember one time on Kid's Baking Championship the judges gave the kids a task so difficult that they all started crying. Instead of comforting them, they just stood there awkwardly, which in turn made me feel uncomfortable.
4. Mad at them when they make a stupid mistake
Yes, they're kids, but they should still know not to just throw one of the ingredients on the plate as a garnish. I find myself judging the kids just as much as I judge the adults. My roommates and I occasionally try to yell some sense into them through the TV, that is how invested we are.
5. Ashamed of yourself for getting mad at the kid
Sorry kiddos, the high-stress environment of Food Network competition shows makes us all say things we don't mean. Luckily, you can't hear me on the other side of the TV, so it's all good.
6. Why wasn't this around when I was a kid?
These kids should consider themselves lucky, because back in the day the only people who made it on Food Network were Emeril, Mario Batali, and whoever was competing on Iron Chef America.
7. How did this kid get on Food Network?
Here I am sitting at home aspiring to one day be on the Food Network, and some 10-year-old kid is taking my 15 minutes of fame away from me. What are their qualifications? How did they get 10 years of experience in their field if they're only 10 years old? It's nonsense.
8. This kid has accomplished more than me and they're 8
These kids win cash prizes and scholarships in one day, and sometimes all I do in a day is watch an entire Netflix series. These kids have a lot of guts going on live TV and cooking their little hearts out.
9. Happy that your favorite competitor won
These shows aren't like Cutthroat Kitchen where you don't root for anyone cause they're all mean. You might root for all of the kids, but there will definitely be a standout who you think deserves to win the most.
10. Sad for the kid that lost and is crying
See what I mean about an emotional roller coaster? You're happy one minute because your favorite competitor won and then the next minute the kid that lost starts crying. You're not heartless, so you instantly feel bad for them.
11. Confusion on why the Food Network puts the kids through this stress
These competition shows are no joke. Sometimes the adults can't even handle the stress on shows like Chopped, so how are the kids supposed to? I know that if Scott Conant told me I overcooked my pasta I would immediately burst into tears.
12. Regret that you put yourself through this emotional roller coaster
Scotty P told us to live with "no ragrets," but watching a kid's competition show on Food Network might leave you with some. Even though they put us through all this emotion, we will probably go back for more anyway, just like we do for Grey's Anatomy.