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Junior MasterChef’s Duty of Gare

New judge Anna Gare talks about Junior MasterChef's need to protect its young charges with extra safety officers and strict working hours.

Junior MasterChef has plated up with all kinds of guardians, minders and nurturing adults for its debut series.

With 50 kids aged 8-12 mingling with knives, grills and all manner of potential medical disasters, producers had no choice.

As new judge Anna Gare explains, the show aims for an even more embracing tone than the adult original, all filmed within strict working hours for children.

“We made sure they were looked after and had a great time. They didn’t work long hours, so for them it was the ride of a lifetime being on the show they loved,” she says.

“There were lots of safety people on board. So you’d have one person on the end of each bench just to make sure they didn’t forget to turn the pan handle around, or forget to turn off their stove, or watch them when they were cutting and chatting at the same time.

“We shot it making sure the kids weren’t overworked and were having fun. So when people watch it they’ll be experiencing that with the kids.”

In television Duty of Care extends beyond production shoots, especially in the Reality genre.

Earlier this year MasterChef‘s Joanne Zalm was subjected to extreme online comments, including some based on ethnic lines. For a show that invites audience passion, is there a risk that children could be subjected to media scrutiny?

“I don’t think there are going to be any problems, because the kids are so natural and so wonderful. I really think that people are going to be right behind them,” says Gare.

She joins the series after earlier presenting roles in Best in Australia an Quickies in My Kitchen, both for Pay TV. But she didn’t hesitate to join the MasterChef juggernaut.

“Channel TEN asked me out on a date and I accepted!” she laughs. “I thought ‘Wow that would be an experience!’ I like a challenge, so I felt like I was putting myself under a Challenge too.

“I felt like an honoured guest on the show. I knew I was hopping into something huge but I wasn’t really fazed by it. I’ve done a bit of TV before, but I’ve never done anything like this role.

“I stepped into a well-oiled machine so I just tried to keep up as much as I could, and give a bit of me in there.”

Expect to see more humour in this spin-off. The show will make the most of kids’ candour.

“Out of the mouths of babes you get the absolute truth,” Gare suggests.

“Kids aren’t as contrived as adults, they’re just natural.

“So not only is it a cooking show but it’s a close-up look at people and their reactions to competing. I can’t wait to see it to watch all the little talk-back bits as well, which we don’t get to see.”

The popularity of the cooking show with young viewers is now widely-acknowledged. Last year Julie Goodwin and Poh Ling Yeow were the subject of screams from pint-sized fans at the Kids’ Choice Awards.

Gare is heartened by the rise in cooking amongst child audiences.

“There are so many amazing cooking shows on TV, starting with Jamie Oliver who has really influenced people from all ages, from little kids to young men, old men. But MasterChef really encouraged a lot of kids. They love the show, so it’s really amazing see them come on the show knowing the drill, because they’re fans,” she says.

“The show has been absolutely incredible. I feel really delighted to be on it.”

Junior MasterChef premieres 7:30pm Sunday on TEN.

12 Responses

  1. They get Isabelle to do all the talking and the Judges love whatever she cooks and I do not think the others will get a chance. They also make sure her sister comes second. Pity the Judges are in the room while the meals are cooked they should not be allowed to see who is cooking what as whatever she cooks they want to try it first.

  2. At the end of the day this is a spin off from our biggest reality television show and is guaranteed big audiences in prime time. Viewers (and bloggers) will no doubt have their favourites and negative comments will be made about certain individuals, even if it is edited within an inch of its life to remove brattish behavior.

    This is where it becomes sticky, because it is really the responsibility of the kids parents to protect them (not the viewers) and when they put them out there on TV in an open forum they are taking the chance of some of the kids experiences not being as pleasant as others. IMO it is a huge risk to the kids, no matter how much CH 10 thinks they will look after them.

  3. I too am looking forward to this. The kids all look intelligent and interesting, and some of the meals that they are coming up with look terrific! I don’t get why so many people are hating on it. I’d rather see kids cooking up a storm in the kitchen – actually learning a skill that will carry them through life – than see them slobbing away doing nothing but play video games all day.

  4. Really looking forward to this, promo’s of the show so far are showing more laughter than tears. Gonna go out on a limb here: Debut ratings 1.5 – 1.8 mil and will match original series with ratings rising to the finale. Only hiccup could be the commonwealth games

  5. I wasnt going to watch it because I thought it would be precocious kids who rave about places they have been to and fancy food they have eaten but according to reports the kids aren’t like that at all. Matt Preston was expecting some kids to be like that and really bratty but its not the case.

    They are just children who like cooking and do it well. So I will watch it even though I know they will be cooking dishes that I wouldnt even attempt.

  6. These kids won’t be brats, they will be smart little ones choosen by the judges. It’s gonna be funny and i think the fact its not on every night will work well for ten. Once this is finished we will have to wait prob more than 5 months for the new season which is a good break:)

  7. I’ve read a lot of mean spirited comments on this site towards Junior Masterchef – just look at the first comment here for an example. I kind of want the show to do well mainly just so that the people who write these comments get proved wrong. One of the worst comments is in the link above, third comment down. I’m surprised it actually got published.

    1. Think the show will be fab, but people are entitled to their opinion, especially in a show where the storytelling invites passion for certain individuals. There’s nothing in the comments here that is out of step with Comments Policy, but I will be mindful of online comments regarding minors over the course of the series.

  8. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. I myself don’t think I could stand an hour of kids crying and brat nosed kids cooking better than me lol

    I think it will premier high but drop off to around 1.2-1.3. Still good numbers though.

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