Are Kids Cooking Competitions Too Dangerous?

The Success Of 'Masterchef Junior' Has Many People Wondering


MASTERCHEF JUNIOR is a ratings darling for Fox — but is it safe ?

That question was on the minds of many viewers, even before a 9 year-old contestant nearly burned herself removing a Beef Wellington from an oven during a challenge on Friday night (October 11).

So far the show insiders have jokingly dubbed “Kids With Knives” hasn’t produced any visible injuries (except for a paper cut, according to one participant).

But still, Fox News reporter Hollie McKay wonders, “if it’s wise to have young ones bouncing about with big, sharp knives, navigating burning ovens, and stressing over the texture of their Chilean Sea Bass, not to mention getting judged on their cooking techniques at such a tender age.”

And she’s not alone.  As McKay points out, the twitter-verse is full of concerned commenters.

“I’m watching #masterchefjunior. First I was like this thing is dangerous for kids, but OMG they are so talented!” one tweeted. Others called the concept downright “scary,” as other viewers made observations like “is it ok for them to use knives that big?” as well as “what every parent wants is their child surrounded by knives and Gordon Ramsay.”

You can read her entire column here.

I personally find MASTERCHEF JUNIOR to be a riveting hour of television.  I have never been a fan of cooking competitions, but the personalities of the contestants alone have made it my new guilty pleasure.

Though it lacks the manufactured drama of HELLS KITCHEN and KITCHEN NIGHTMARES, the show captures a previously unseen side of acid-tongued chef Gordon Ramsay.  At least for this hour he is encouraging, complimentary and sensitive to the needs and feelings of his young participants.

During a press event over the summer, Ramsay revealed that he and producers decided to eliminate two young chefs at a time, so they would each have someone else to lean on.

“We let them down gently,” he said. “We managed their expectations. But, listen, they’re kids. So, you know, we weren’t blowing smoke up their backside and telling them they’re going to become superstars. We kept it pretty much real and very close to the bone in a way that, you know, even if you never become a chef, trust me, you know, setting yourself up for the rest of your life and learning to cook is educational.”

MASTERCHEF JUNIOR airs Friday nights at 8:00 PM ET/PT on Fox.

Do you think kids should be allowed to compete in these types of shows?  Sound off in the comments section below.

Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly