Recently, I’ve been watching way more TV than usual. Wait, let me justify it: a) I’ve been spring cleaning and like to have something playing in the background, b) ditto with working out and c) the outside world is completely uninhabitable, so my time spent watching Netflix in bed has increased by at least 250% in the last few weeks.
Through the beauty of video on demand, I’ve been able to watch the entire first season of Masterchef Junior in a matter of days. And now I feel this strange evangelical zeal to make you all watch it, too.
Some background: Masterchef Junior‘s second season was greenlighted in December, and the show recently held open casting calls around the country, where producers looked for the best young chefs in the nation. Filming begins in a month, and the second season will probably premiere in the fall.
The premise is simple: 24 chefs between the ages of 8-13 head to the Masterchef Kitchen and compete in challenges. They’re eliminated in pairs and the winner goes home with $100,000 (can you imagine having 100 grand at ten? I would’ve bought so many WebKinz). The contests are seriously talented, many having trained under parents or grandparents who are professionals in the food industry; others learn via community center classes and YouTube videos. They’ve all done amazing things by the time they get on the show—one of the contestants had baked her mother’s wedding cake. On her own. When she was ten. As you may have imagined, that contestant killed season one’s cake challenge.
Like most good TV (The Office, Cash Cab, House of Cards, Whose Line is it Anyways?), Britain did it first, so let’s give Queen Elizabeth II a round of applause. When you’re done clapping, glance over these six reasons why Masterchef Junior is my new favorite cooking show and is soon to become yours:
1. It actually teaches you how to cook.
Okay, so these kids are already better chefs than I’ll ever be, but there’s still stuff they don’t know. Gordon Ramsey and the other judges are more than happy to show them (meaning viewers at home pick up professional tips, too). In season one, you’ll learn how to bake a soufflé, make the perfect beef wellington, and, as shown above, roast vegetables evenly.
2. It accepts that kitchen mistakes happen and that you can recover.
In most cooking shows (cough Top Chef), if you fuck up a dish, you’re gone. In MCJ, Gordon helps the kids stay positive, which is an important attitude to have while cooking. Who among us hasn’t mistaken salt for sugar at least once? Not every dish will be perfect every time. And that’s okay.
3. It teaches lessons applicable outside of the kitchen, too.
Like teamwork. The contestants cheer each other on with such enthusasism that you almost forget they’re competing—and it seems like they’ve certainly forgotten that fact. When one goes home, they all cry, and when one does well, they’re all proud.
4. The contestants are ridiculously adorable.
Have truer words ever been spoken? Alexander does look like Julia Child’s offspring, right? Those cheeeeeks.
5. But not quite as adorable as Gordon Ramsey, who must’ve had some kind of Freaky Friday personality switch because he’s so sweet and kind.
He says “please.” He wears Hello Kitty bows. He’s so cute. It almost makes up for how much of an ass he is on Hell’s Kitchen.
6. Perhaps most importantly, it presents unrivaled amounts of food porn.
Do you or do you not want to eat all five of those macaroons right this very moment? Don’t lie.
Now that I’ve convinced you to add Masterchef Junior to your Hulu queue, enjoy it now and feel free to thank me with Fedex-ed macaroons later.
Edit: Contestant Dara’s mother does not own a bakery, but Dara did bake her wedding cake.