Daphne Oz believes MasterChef Junior allows young cooks to thrive, interview

MASTERCHEF JUNIOR: Judge Daphne Oz in the season premiere episode of MASTERCHEF JUNIOR airing Thursday, March 17 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: FOX.
MASTERCHEF JUNIOR: Judge Daphne Oz in the season premiere episode of MASTERCHEF JUNIOR airing Thursday, March 17 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: FOX. /

As another season of MasterChef Junior airs on FOX, Daphne Oz joins Gordon Ramsay and Aaron Sanchez at the judging pass. The Emmy Award-winning television host, New York Times best-selling author, and chef appreciates that a love of cooking and great food does not have an age requirement. From her home kitchen to the culinary stage, Oz appreciates that both young and old can impress with impeccable presentations, innovative creativity, and perfect execution.

During a recent conversation with Daphne Oz, she discussed many aspects of her experience on MasterChef Junior. While many foodies religiously watched her on The Chew, that vivacious yet approachable personality captivated viewers. She comes across as the friend that you always call when you need that burst of sunshine in your day.

But, MasterChef Junior is different than other culinary competitions. While the dishes might be more elaborate that some novice cooks can prepare, the contestants age is a factor. A firm, yet gentle hand is key to that careful balance. As a mother, herself, Oz understands that need for congruity.

That “constructive criticism” is important to the arc of the competition. Oz, Ramsay, and Sanchez want these young cooks to grow, and, sometimes, that situation requires a step backward or even a failure. But, like any chef appreciates, a mis-step can be profoundly important. Learning from that mistake can lead to greater success.

Specifically, Oz said that she found these competitions fun to be part of and to watch. More importantly, she believes that the show “fostered a passion within the young cooks.” From making them better cooks to pushing them to try something new, it was about the journey and the impact that she and the other judges could make on their culinary interests.

While the young contestants look to grow their talents, Oz appreciates that the show is more than just a competition for the kids in the kitchen. In some ways, she feels that the show “breaks down barriers.” Even her friends get excited to see the new season because the how “has something for everyone and everyone can learn a lot.”

From the high energy kids to the intensity of the competition, there is something for everyone. More important, Oz believes that the show can help kids and even picky eaters “not be afraid of food.” When viewers see other kids not be afraid of food and thriving in that environment, it can help them push outside of the comfort zone a little more.

Even viewers who may not have young kids at home can appreciate MasterChef Junior. That ability to adapt in the moment, use novel techniques and even cook in imperfect environments is a taste of what any cook can have happen. Sure, there are not lights and cameras in the home kitchen, but a missing ingredient or an oven glitch isn’t something that should totally derail the cooking experience.

Although the competition is the focus of the show, there is plenty of fun to be had. Oz revealed that her favorite challenge was the Renaissance Faire, which she admitted that she squealed with excitement regarding that early challenge. She shared that her family always goes to the Renaissance Faire and this challenge had her name written all over it.

While there are fun and games to be had all season long, MasterChef Junior is more than just another culinary competition. In some ways, the core skills of handling high pressure environments, learning to adapt, and celebrating success even if there was a failure are important life skills. Beyond making the perfectly prepared dish or a restaurant worthy plate, being a strong, confident individual can have a person go far both in and out of the kitchen.

Which young cook will walk away with crowning glory? Be sure to watch the new season of MasterChef Junior on FOX with Daphne Oz as a judge. Grab a friend, family member or a comfy spot on the couch. The viewing experience might leave you more than just being hungry for a tasty dinner.