Gordon Ramsay dodged repeated attempts to get him to address how sweet he was to the kids in the sizzle reel shown to TV critics for his new Fox series Masterchef Junior. This competition, open to kids 8 to 13, debuts next month. In the sizzle reel, he’s more Mary Poppins than Gordon Ramsay, which surprised the critics. But every time he got asked about it, which was a lot, he began to tap dance away from the question, chatting about his having four children of his own, about how the show “wasn’t about rich kids with multi-millionaire parents” (nobody had suggested it was) and that some of the children are taking cooking lessons during the week. Exasperated TV critics finally took to asking the kid competitors if they were afraid of Ramsay. “I’ve seen almost all of Gordon Ramsay’s shows but I wasn’t frightened – he can’t really be mean because we’re kids!” said precocious 9-year-old Sarah of Pacific Palisades, CA. Sara is Season 1’s cutie – she was seated next to Ramsey during the Q&A session for maximum photo op. Another critic took a stab, asking Ramsay if there was a “Curse Word Jar” and how much he had contributed. “My wife is an ex-school teacher,” Ramsay began to tappity tip tap. “I don’t think I swore once [on this show],” he said.
“Twice,” corrected little Gavin, of San Francisco, holding up two fingers.
“And we know the F word means ‘food,’ right?” Gordon jumped back in. The seven children on stage giggled.
One of the TV critics who’d obviously seen accidents on Ramsay’s adult cooking competitions, wondered what precautions were taken to protect the kids, who were working with gas flames and knives. Exec producer Robin Ashbrook said every single work station had a medic. “We never lost any hands, or fingers,” Ashbrook said proudly.
“The only cut I got was from paper,” Gavin offered, helpfully.
Troy, of Thousand Oaks, CA, got asked what was his favorite dish of the competition and what did he want to be when he grew up. Beef Wellington, and a chef – “or a coroner,” he responded.
“What’s that?” asked Precocious Sarah.
“Someone who looks after dead bodies,” Ramsey explained.
Sarah’s eyes grew very wide, and she gasped and covered her mouth.