Nearly a decade ago I was fortunate to visit the MasterChef kitchen in Sydney for Junior MasterChef.
Back then I interviewed Executive Producer Nick Colquhoun about the safety installed for the show as opposed to the adult mothership.
I thought it might be timely to revisit some of those steps.
This is what applied in 2011:
Psychological evaluations: “If there are signs they wouldn’t cope because they don’t have the self-confidence and it might affect them if they don’t win a challenge, then based on that advice we might not put them into the competition.”
Accommodation: The children and a parent or guardian are all accommodated in serviced apartments (1 child, 1 parent per two bedroom apartment) including with a recreational area and pool.
No parents on shooting days: “They are waiting at the accommodation for the kids to come home. It’s a big impost on the parents because some of them have to take time off work. If they’re from interstate they’re all of a sudden living in a serviced apartment for the period of time that the kids are in the competition. But it’s the sacrifice the parents make, just as they would for a sport.”
3 full time chaperones (who have all had police checks): “They pick them up in the morning, bring them onto set, manage them during the day, spend time with them during the day, then go back with them at the end of the day.”
Cooking: “Every single bench has a ‘Bench Watcher’ and their sole job is to watch the kids on the bench and step in if there is any sort of risk. If they see a kid struggling with a pot of hot water they’ll immediately step in.”
Cooking utensils: “They can never use deep fryers unless in an exceptional circumstance when someone else will manage it for them. (Safety Consultant Roger Graham) decides the implements they use. We have special knives made of plastic so that if a kid drops it there’s no weight in it and it bounces off their shoe.”
Ovens: Induction ovens are used with hotplates that only get hot when something is placed on it, and they cool down just as quickly.
Resident psychologist on set for all challenges, who de-briefs children when they exit the series.
Eliminations: “It’s designed for four, so that it’s not just one kid. So on a challenge, six will compete and four will go home, back to their school, family, and friends having had a great experience.” Eliminations are followed by parties, to celebrate a child’s achievements.
Editing: “We’re mindful that every kid has fair representation and is featured. They’ve told their mates they’re going on Junior MasterChef so we have to make sure there is a balance in the coverage.”
You can read the original article here.