Junior MasterChef Australia is an Australian competitive cooking game show devised as a spin-off from MasterChef Australia and based on the original British show of the same name created by Franc Roddam, in which child chefs (aged 8-12) compete in weekly challenges which test their food knowledge and preparation skills until a winner is crowned as the "Junior MasterChef".
The series aired in Australia on Network Ten from 12 September, 2010 to 23 November, 2011. There are 37 hour-long episodes in two seasons.
Junior MasterChef Australia premiered in South Africa on M-Net (simulcast in HD) on Thursday 27 September 2012, at 18h00. It moved to M-Net Series Reality for the second season in 2013 and later aired on M-Net Series Zone (from Season 2). See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Season 2 premiered on M-Net Series Zone on Saturday 11 January 2014, at 18h30. New episodes broadcast weekly. There are 20 episodes in the second and final season.
From 5,500 young cooks who auditioned from around Australia, 50 amazing young chefs made it through for a chance to become one of the Top 12 in Junior MasterChef Australia.
With the challenges being as big as what their older counterparts faced; the competition level among these Junior MasterChefs is just as high as they face Pressure and Invention Tests plus Team Challenges – all for precious award points from the judges.
After each challenge, the Top 12 contestants are awarded points for their plated piece. The best dish of the challenge will earn 6 points, second will get 4 points and third will get 2 points.
Everyone else who plated up a dish will receive 1 point. Bonus points may be awarded at the judges' discretion.
Like MasterChef Australia, the Junior contestants will be under the watchful eye of judges Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris, Matt Preston and newcomer to the table – Anna Gare.
Under their guidance, the Junior MasterChefs will learn, grow and take their skills to the next level and maybe even become the very first Junior MasterChef Australia.
Junior MasterChef returns with some of Australia's best and brightest young cooks ready to strut their culinary stuff in the MasterChef kitchen.
50 kids from around the country will compete with one goal in mind: to become Australia's next Junior MasterChef. And this season, the bar has been raised with more spectacular challenges than ever before, a visit from the Prime Minister and even a surprise international adventure.
Returning to keep a watchful eye on the Junior MasterChefs will be celebrity cook and TV personality Anna Gare, iconic MasterChef judges George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan and top chef Matt Moran, who replaces Matt Preston.
The new season kicks off with Australia's Top 50 Junior Cooks battling it out in Top 50 Week at The Dome in Sydney's Olympic Park. Eager to make it to the Final 20, the kids cook-off in extraordinary challenges alongside celebrity chefs Kylie Kwong, Adriano Zumbo and Peter Gilmore as well as baking the ultimate cake for the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.
Once the Top 20 has been determined, they will make their way to the famous MasterChef kitchen where they will compete in all the favourite MasterChef classic challenges we know and love: Mystery Boxes; Pressure Tests; Invention Tests, as well as a bunch of new surprise challenges in and outside the MasterChef kitchen – that includes an overseas location.
This season the kids are once again judged via a points system, with the three best dishes awarded points. Those who produce the best dish will receive six points, second will get four points and third will get two points. The remaining kids are awarded one point for being there - and putting their heart and soul into their cooking.
The more points they can get, the safer they will be, and it's worth fighting for - the winner will receive a $15k trust fund, second place $10k and third and fourth place $5k each.
2010 saw millions of Australians captivated as kids from all around the country demonstrated their extraordinary culinary skills and left the nation astounded with what they could whip up in the kitchen.
But this year it is being taken to a whole new level – once again the kids will show Australia that when it comes to cooking age doesn't mean a thing...
All kids from Top 50 onward are rewarded with a Junior MasterChef cooking prize pack that includes top of the range pots and pans, a mix master and the experience of a lifetime.
Prepare to be amazed!
Note: the show moved from M-Net to M-Net Series Reality for Season 2. The first season did not air on M-Net Series Zone.
Season 1 (17 episodes)
Channel: M-Net | Premiere: 27 Sep 2012 | Finale: 25 Oct 2012 | Mon-Thu, 18h00
Season 2 (20 episodes)
Channel: MS Reality | Premiere: 9 Jul 2013 | Finale: 19 Nov 2013 | Tue, 20h30
Channel: MS Zone | Premiere: 11 Jan 2014 | Finale: 24 May 2014 | Sat, 18h30