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The Best Show Ever: Junior MasterChef Australia!

February 14, 2011

Junior MasterChef AustraliaI’m not just saying it’s the best reality show or the best cooking competition, I’m saying it’s THE BEST SHOW EVER!  Nothing on television has delighted me more, excited me more, interested me more, inspired me more, or brought me to tears quite like this memorable, clean and ingenious television series.

To anyone who hasn’t seen it yet (and you are missing a lot I’m telling you), Junior MasterChef Australia is a cooking competition where the amateur chefs are only between 8 to 12 years old (–well 13 in the case of Jack, one of the contestants who probably celebrated his birthday during the season, but I’m just assuming)!  Unbelievable talent and skills were demonstrated in the kitchen by these amazing and passionate kids…  I never expected there existed a generation of cooking geniuses, but here they are!

My interest in cooking went only as far as watching people cook good food or compete in a televised kitchen (or in a Throwdown with Bobby Flay).  Although I’ve told my family and friends many times before that I am interested in cooking and that I really really want to learn, I realized now that I’m a load of baloney!   I have just been schooled after watching JMCA about what it means to really really want to learn, and the interest and the passion that must naturally go with it!  The little cheflings on the show are just light and light years away from my non-existent skills in the kitchen, and yet they feel they still have a long ways to go!  And normally, the knowledge of kids being that good over something that frustrates me would make me feel pathetic, however, watching the kids in JMCA week after week inspires me and encourages me more and more to cook!

Now I’m in my thirties… I don’t think starting to learn now will get me into professional cooking, not when I’ll need a minimum of 10,000 hours practice to really make me a good cook (something these kids have already accomplished in their young lives!).  But at least I should be able to cook something for my family and friends without making them ill!

This blog goes to all the 5,500 kids who signed up for Junior MasterChef, most especially to the Top 12: Alex, Cassidy, Anthony, Isabella, Jack, Emily, Nick, Siena, Pierre, Lucy, Sam, and Sofia.

Thank you for giving me something to look forward to every week, for embracing your passion at a very young age and coming out in a show that inspires adults like myself (who have no clue in the kitchen) to want to pursue learning how to cook.  I am so impressed with how much you know about cooking and baking, and I am so impressed with how much you have grown throughout the show… especially Jack, my new fave!  You came from behind throughout the season from being part of the bottom in the standings, to being in the Top 2!  Absolutely impressive!

And to Cassidy and Pierre, I was rooting for you guys even when you were still in the Top 50… to Pierre because you are such a sweet and humble kid even if you have every right to boast about your skills which are very impressive!  And to Cassidy who is so adorable and honest and amazing, and has a really sweet father who would cry at the bleachers every time you came through to the next round!  Every time your father cried, I cried!

To Sofia and Isabella (–congratulations, by the way!) you two sisters are what family is all about–supporting and loving!  Episode 16 just crushed my heart and I was crying all throughout the end of the show, but it was really just beautiful to watch!  And by the way, this is why I really loved JMCA over any other MasterChef shows with adults fighting over the position!   Sofia and Isabella, I hope you open a branch of IsSofia, your restaurant, in the Philippines!

To Siena, I have one thing to say to you, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example…” — 1 Timothy 4:12a.  Being the youngest in the Top 12, you gave no reason for anyone to look down on you, and you reached the Top 4 to prove it!  Really great job!

And Lucy, you have a really good attitude I admire and respect.  You are very encouraging with your teammates and you know how to get along with people.  You will go a long way with your beautiful character!  Hope you stay as sweet as you are!

All the kids in JMCA displayed more professionalism and passion for their crafts without bringing other competitors down or taunting them (although, Anthony, you came really close to doing that, but I’m glad you changed towards the end of the team challenge against Pierre!).  Unlike in the adult MasterChef where it usually gets more cutthroat towards the Final 6, JMCA showed that the kids even developed a deeper bond together!  Everything about JMCA was just better than any other cooking competition; the team dynamics demonstrated by kids in the team challenges, the interviews in between cooking, the different types of challenges and learning sessions… it was really all about the collaboration of young (and older) people who love to cook and who respect and love other people like them.  To be honest, all the kids in JMCA were even more mature and more honorable than the grown ups who acted like kids in all other cooking competitions.  That’s why I can’t get enough of JMCA!

I don’t care if I’m only watching reruns of JMCA (or if I watch them over and over), I love to  watch these kids cook and compete against each other!  I love how they love each other.   And I just love the makers of Junior MasterChef… Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this amazing show!

Looking forward to your next season!  God bless!

  1. Amanda permalink

    Hi Monica….I’m Cassidy’s mum. I just wanted to say thank you for your kind words and lovely feedback. It has been the most amazing experience and Cassidy has loved every moment of it. We have been lucky enough to meet and become friends with the other 11 kids and their families and we as a group of parents are so very proud of them not only for what they did but more importantly for how they were on the show. We are delighted that they have inspired children and adults across the world. They really are an amazing group of kids. thank you.

    • Hi Amanda! I’m star struck! =D I really wasn’t expecting this, you just made my day! =D I can’t believe someone who is so close to the show read my blog–and you’re even Cassidy’s mom!!! Oh my, how is Cassidy doing? Please give her my regards and best wishes, even to the rest of the kids and families of the top 12 you might still be in contact with =) I’m such a big fan of all of you, not just of the kids of JMCA but also to all parents who have been raising them to be wonderful human beings =) God bless you all!

  2. Amanda permalink

    Cassidy was very excited to read your blog and I can tell you Monica that Cassidy is great. Still cooking!!! She turned 13 last week and I think nearly all her presents were cooking related. We gave her a food processor. What 13 year old wants one of them for their birthday! Cassidy did a cooking demonstration last weekend with Siena (we live very close to each other) and we speak regularly with all the families to catch up on what is happening and say hi to each other. Have passed on your message. Where do you live?

    • Oh wow, belated happy birthday Cassidy! =D I’m not at all surprised that you asked for a food processor =P And Amanda, thank you for letting me know how things are going with everyone and for sending my regards =) It’s good to know all the families are keeping in touch and that you share activities together. This is surreal for me, I can’t believe I’m now somehow connected to everyone on the show! I hope you don’t mind if I ask you guys to add me to your Facebooks =P My full name is Monica Mae Climaco and in my FB profile picture I’m with my boyfriend and a “#PrayForJapan” banner (I’m a bit weary about publishing my e-mail in comments! =P). To answer your question I’m based in the Philippines, living with my family in the province of Rizal. Last year we were badly hit by a storm and a controversial release of too much water from 3 of our major dams. This caused so much flooding in several provinces including Rizal, which we were not prepared for because that never happened before. We had to vacate to a neighbor’s house that had a second floor because our home was just a bungalow. Those were very hard times especially since the people received no support from our government and we pretty much had to rely on ourselves (and the grace of God) to get back on our feet. We are doing so much better now of course, but I just remembered all these because recently I know it also flooded in Australia… were you anywhere near the location of the flooding? Did you have relatives who were affected by it? Do you also have friends in Japan? It’s so painful to see such tragedies even if it they’re not yours…

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