Daphne Oz is joining the next season of MasterChef Junior as the newest judge in the mix. She joins Gordon Ramsay and Aaron Sanchez. In advance of the premiere, which drops on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox, Oz spoke to PopCulture.com about her experience filming MasterChef Junior and what she learned from Ramsay in regards to judging the young contestants.
Oz has worked on a number of cooking projects before, including Beat Bobby Flay and Cooks vs. Cons. But, MasterChef Junior presents a different challenge for her as she has to judge the youngest chefs among us, with ages ranging from 8 to 13 years old. Considering that this is new territory, Oz learned a thing or two from Ramsay about how to approach judging in an entirely different way for the young contestants. She explained that the Hell's Kitchen star showed her that "he doesn't change the advice he would give, he just maybe gives it in a different way to a younger contestant."
Oz, being a mom of four children, said that this was a concept that she held in the utmost importance as this is how she would want someone to teach her own kids. She said, "That's something that I really held dear on this show. I want to talk to these kids and encourage them and bring their passion along and help them grow in a way that I wish an influential adult in my kids' life would talk to them if they were ever in that position." Even though the judges might handle things a bit differently with the MasterChef Junior contestants, Oz said that they'll still make sure to tell it like it is if there is something wrong with a dish, as "it wouldn't be helpful to them to turn a blind eye to that."
"But, you don't do it in a way that's going to crush their desire to continue to experiment and continue to push the boundaries," she added. The Emmy winner continued to say that, above all, they want to be able to encourage that "spark" in the contestants so that they will continue to grow in their cooking journeys. After all, it is a family show and one that those in Oz's own circle are eager to tune into.
"I've never been a part of a show where more friends have reached out and said, 'my kids can't wait to watch this show. Like when is it on?' Because it's just good fun, and always high energy, always high intensity," Oz added. "We put the kids in some incredibly insane challenges this season. But, it always comes out with this incredibly uplifting note of like win or lose, you're learning so much with these kids along the way, which is phenomenal." MasterChef Junior airs on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.