That (bleep)ing Gordon Ramsay has another (bleep)ing series on (bleep)ing FOX. The noted chef who has starred in more TV shows than the entire Kardashian family combined is one of the hosts for a new cooking competition program that will begin 8 p.m. Sept. 27.
He’s cursed, screamed, cursed, yelled, cursed, shouted and cursed his way through a number of cooking competition programs, but this time, things will be different. “MasterChef Junior” features contestants between the ages 8-13. Ramsay will again be joined by Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich who will put the young chefs through a series of challenges that would make most adults give up any thoughts of going into a kitchen.
These kids have probably heard ever colorful word Ramsay likes to sprinkle through his conversation like salt in a sauce, but profanity-laced rants in front of kids isn’t going to make for acceptable network television. Ramsay says like any sport, any situation under pressure, some bad words come out. On TV, they get bleeped.
“I don’t think I swore once across ‘MasterChef Junior’,” Ramsay says.
Sarah, a precocious 9-year-old from Culver City, who is sitting next to Ramsay, gives the chef a funny look. Ramsay sees her and admits that he cursed once during the show.
“Twice,” Sarah says.
“Twice,” Ramsay says. He adds, “And we know the ‘F’ word means ‘food,’ right?”
Sarah gives him another funny look and then says, “No.”
His language was toned down but the competitors went into the event with full knowledge there was no way they were going to be treated with kid gloves. Even if he got tough, that wasn’t going to bother the young chefs. Sarah had seen almost all of Ramsay’s shows and despite seeing Ramsay’s ferocious side, she wasn’t really frightened.
“He can’t be really mean because, like, we’re kids,” Sarah says.
Ramsay — and the other judges — have plenty of experience with kids because they all have offsprings. That’s how they related to the young cookers.
“I have three girls and a boy ranging from 11 right through to 15. I think, more than anything, it was about having a chance to mentor them as well, and spend quality time coming into their education as well, training, and then going through all those kind of challenges,” Ramsay says. “So it wasn’t about rich kids with multimillionaire parents. It was about proper individuals that some of them even take lessons during the week like normal people would go for sports lessons baseball lessons, swimming lessons.
“Right at the very beginning, the standard of food was extraordinary.”
That makes sense as young chefs generally have a big advantage in that their palates have not been affected by drinking and smoking.
Ramsay actually has more of a history with young chefs than with the older variety. His first TV job was as one of the judges on the British version of “MasterChef Junior.”
It was obvious from the chefs that showed up at the Television Critics Association meetings that language problems or not, the majority of the youngsters came through the competition with no obvious signs of mental or verbal torture. Even using a more delicate language, the show is all about telling all but one person that they have failed. In the case of a child, a negative response could make the difference between maintaining a love of cooking and turning off the flame.
Ramsay’s approach was to look at the show the same way as all of the others.
“This is a competition searching for some of the best talent in this country. I think pressure is healthy, and it is no different to a coaching session, whether it’s basketball or training to be an Olympic swimmer. It’s exactly the same. So, of course, you vary the level of pressure in accordance to the kind of talent you’re working with,” Ramsay says. “Even with my four children, even if they never follow my footsteps and they’re not deciding to go down that route as a career, learning to cook for yourself, for me, is so important to set them up for rest of their lives to understand how to eat properly.
“So the pressure was increased on a weekly basis. As they got better, we got tougher. As they got better, we increased the pressure. I think the proof is in the pudding because you will see something that you’ve never witnessed before on prime-time television with this amount of talent in a room and how good they became and how proud they made themselves, their parents, their schools, and what they stand for in this country with good foods. You’re going to be pretty shocked.”
Maybe even (bleep)ing shocked.