Casting Director: How To Get Your Kid On ‘MasterChef Junior’

"We try to make the audition as fun as possible."

'MasterChef Junior' - Key Art 2015

Calling all culinary kids!

Producers of MASTERCHEF JUNIOR are currently scouring the country in search of the next Addison or Avery.

Open call auditions for season six of Gordon Ramsay’s cooking competition will be held this Saturday, July 9, in both Los Angeles and Jacksonville, Florida.

Additional tryouts in Houston and New York City are planned for July 16.

Think your kid could make the cut?

Casting director Gina Gonzales shares everything you need to know in an exclusive interview with

So what are you looking for in a contestant?
We definitely are looking for kids that enjoy or are comfortable talking to people and sharing themselves.  Just like with the adult show, we look for passion.  They need to really be interested in food and for cooking.  We still hold [the kids] to a pretty high standard.  We know they are not coming in as Master Chefs.

What takes place at the open call auditions?
We have two judges there that are actually professional chefs.  They are there observing the kids.  The kids are given some pretty basic cooking tasks to start.  They might measure some water or cook an egg or chop something.  The judges are just observing them to see how comfortable they are in the kitchen.  Then they talk to casting producers about themselves and things they like to do:  hobbies, school…  And they talk to producers as well about why they want to compete.  It is a really fun day.

How long does it take?
I would block out a few hours.  But everyone who comes down gets seen.

Will any previous contestants be there?
In some cities, yes.  We just had our New Orleans casting call and Avery — who was the runner up last season — was there.  And Ian from last season was in Chicago.  Kya is going to be in LA as well as a few others.  They come out and say “hi” and take picture.  The applicants get very excited.

Do contestants go all out, singing and dancing and trying to get your attention?
No.  It is not like AMERICAN IDOL.  [laughs]  With the adults, we have some applicants like that who will really try to stand out with what they are cooking or what they are wearing.  They will have a schtick.  But that is what is great about the kids.  They are who they are.

Any memorable auditions you can share?
Kya from last season.  We knew she was special from the start.  And she was an eight year-old.  She talked about food like she was a 28 year-old!  For being eight years-old she really blew us away.

What if I can’t make it to the auditions?
We only get to go to six cities, so kids that can’t come send in home video.  That is how we found Avery.  I was the one that opened it and watched it and she was incredible.  She made a lamb chop dish and it looked so good I just wanted to eat it through the screen.  And she was lots of fun.  She showed us all over her house.  She lives on the bayou.  And we got a really great glimpse into her life.

Any advice on what NOT do at an audition?
Don’t think too much.  We try to make the audition as fun as possible.  It could be a very overwhelming thing so we try to make you feel at ease.  We will try to play a game or two as an ice breaker.  The kids that are so nervous have trouble speaking. My best advice is to come and have fun.

Casting calls will be held at July 9 at:  

Loews Hollywood Hotel
1755 Highland Ave,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Omni Jacksonville Hotel
245 Water St,
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Casting calls will be held July 16 at:

Manhattan NYC – An Affinia Hotel
371 7th Ave,
New York, NY 10001

Four Seasons Houston
1300 Lamar Street
Houston, TX 77010

For more information, visit:

MASTERCHEF JUNIOR will return in fall 2016.

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