Junior MasterChef, the competition to find the best young cook in the country, is set to return to our screens later this Autumn on CBBC. And alongside seasoned veteran, John Torode, we have a new presenter in shape and form of Irish food writer and photographer, Donal Skehan. And Danny Kingston aka Food Urchin & father of 4 year old twins, is very keen on seeing how this new series pans out. Read on to discover why
Because I’ve had enough of the hallucinogenic adventures of Big Cook, Little Cook with tiny, ginger men flying around on wooden spoons; too many ‘magic’ mushrooms went into the dish upon its conception methinks. Plus the repetitive mantra of “Roll up your sleeves, give your hands a wash, with slippy, dippy soap, splish, splash, splosh" on I Can Cook has become far too irritating lately; I would gladly smash up Katy Ashworth’s guitar, given half the chance. And as for Annabel Karmel’s Annabel’s Kitchen………… well let’s…… let’s not go there.
What I suppose I am trying to say is that I wouldn’t mind watching something a little bit more serious these days, food wise, and with the twins I mean. After all, our journey in the kitchen together has gone beyond smiley-faced pizzas; we all peeled some lamb’s tongue the other day. And I also think that they are fed up with watching their father rant like a loon at the box.
“You know what Annabel; you can take that broccoli and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine!”
So what should we expect from this latest series? Well, no doubt there will be the same warm yet slightly sardonic approach from judge Mr Torode, gently enthusing and chiding at the same time, as per his usual demeanour on the adult series. Though if he does overstep the mark with any criticism of a child’s attempt at say panna cotta or remoulade, I would urge them to respond with “Bog off, Cardy-boy.”
I also expect to see some sort of wunderkind grace our screens at some point; a precocious talent that will cause mouths to drop with their interpretation of Lemon infused Goat’s Head with Milk Poached Daikon and Camomile Starfish Goujons, for instance. Or something like that. I must admit, I didn’t see the last series of Junior MasterChef so maybe I am setting the standards a little too high. The age group of the competitors is between 9 and 12 after all. And OK, the aforementioned dish is completely stupid too.
However, I am intrigued to see to what the kids come up with. And it will be interesting to see what newcomer Donal brings to the table. With his boyish, good looks and cheeky banter, he has been described as ‘Ireland’s answer to Jamie Oliver’. Well a book deal after just 6 months of blogging and a television show on RTE certainly suggests talent and passion.
But will he be up for the challenge of sampling and judging food cooked by youthful hands? Will he be happy to bite down into grey, palid pastry, that’s been worked for hours and hours and give it the thumbs up? Will he accept that sometimes, just sometimes, lego bricks will find their way into bubbling pots of curry? Will Donal, should he ever get the chance to display his cooking skills, be understanding if one (or two) of the contestants take his home-made mayonnaise from the fridge and smear it all over the walls and their faces? In my experience, this is what happens when you cook with kids you see. Still, like I said, we are past that stage and I am eager to see just how accomplished the competition is on Junior MasterChef.
Because next year; I plan on entering the twins.
They will be 5 by then.
Do your children or any youngster in your family enjoy cooking? What sorts of dishes to you like to make with them?