Junior MasterChef: the sweet side of Mr T

I would fondly like to imagine I could have been on Junior MasterChef, had it been around in the 70s. My copy of My learn to cook book had food splatters on many pages; not just the recipes for coconut ice and ice cream sundaes. I baked the family Christmas cake every year (I don’t think it ever got eaten. I’m not sure the icing was penetrable without the use of power tools). I even cooked the family roast in my teens. Best not to linger on the unmitigated disaster of the gravy though. Not worth the salt of my tears, to misappropriate a Norma Waterson line.

But chicken laksa? Goats’ cheese and caramelised onion tart? Smoked salmon risotto? None of that. Some of the youngsters on the new series of Junior Masterchef have been coached perhaps a little too much by eager family and friends.

The Junior series is based in the same kitchens as adult MasterChef but with a jolly makeover, involving brightly coloured stuff around the place, and beanbags instead of sofas for the contestants to sit on. John Torode is avuncular and cuddly. He begins by giving the young people a masterclass in making Toad in the Hole before letting them have a go at cooking it. He then judges their efforts with Nadia Sawalha, who has the remarkably perky, up-beat temperament of a crisp meringue.

They clearly create a positive environment, because the contestants cook well and seem really proud of their achievements, as indeed they should. No-one knocks their batter to the floor, as I would have done, or leaves out a key ingredient, like the time I omitted flour from chocolate-chip cookies, which essentially meant I made a sweet, chocolate oven omelette, that not even the dog would touch.

Thanks to Shine Ltd for pic of Amber

I was, however, shocked when Mr Torode told the contestants to prick their sausages before cooking them ‘so they don’t explode’. Rubbish! He clearly needs to watch a bit of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall or Nigel Slater to catch up a bit. Not the modern method at all – you only needed to do that with rubbish bangers full of cheap filler.

When the kids cooked their own dishes, it got a lot more fancy than Toad in the Hole. Except for Amber, who cooked food that seemed to fit her character and age better than some of the others. Amber, India Fisher tells us (yes, she’s still narrating) recently cooked up £800 at a Jewish charity fundraiser. She has a similar shape to me at her age and I really warmed to her. At one point she says earnestly to camera: “I needed to get my onions a bit more floppy” bless her. She cooked tasty fried potato latkas, lovely herby meatballs and a smashing looking chocolate, cream and raspberry roulade. Not fancy, but they require skill, and she clearly knows her way around the brightly coloured kitchen implements.

Anyway, they all did really well, but the lovely Amber won, which made my day.

Posted by Inkface


Filed under Cooking shows, Kids TV

27 responses to “Junior MasterChef: the sweet side of Mr T

  1. I had that very same cookery book – wish I knew where it was now. It had a great recipe for flapjacky type things (if I remember correctly). You have brought on a massive wave of nostalgia – thank you!
    Oh and the programme sounds fab…

    • inkface


      I might still have that book. If I can dig it out I’ll send you the flapjack recipe!

  2. Ambers Mum

    I had that book too ! and thank you for the comments about “my Amber” – I will print it off and show her.

    • The Winters

      Darling Amber she is the best cook this side of London. She has made loads of dishes for us and each one more delicious than the last. A truly gorgeous girl inside and out.

  3. inkface

    How lovely! I wish her the very best of luck.

  4. Qwerty

    Ooh I could just scoff a potato latke right now.

  5. Michele, Mark, Josh and Max

    Amber, we are so, so proud of you and you brought a smile to our faces when we saw you on tv yesterday. You are such a special girl and a brilliant cook. Teach me please !!!! xxx

  6. pauseliveaction

    My sister had that book as well. It did have a recipe for coconut ice.

  7. pauseliveaction

    I didn’t see this show but Amber and her family sound lovely. Is it like the adult Masterchef where they go on to the next round? Good luck to Amber if so.

  8. Dan B

    There should be only one winner of this show, I can only see Amber going from strength to strength! I’d be proud to have a daughter like Amber!

  9. inkface

    I think we’ve become the Amber fan club, which is fine by me. I’d love her to win!

  10. Dan B

    Yeah! Go Amber Go!

    Big chef, little Chef move aside there is a new gal in town…..Amber should have her own show. I know my kids would love watching Amber cook her favourite recipes! Amber is a revelation in a world where everything gets manufactured nowadays!

  11. jacobsclan

    Amber was a natural star and so lovely that someone took the time and trouble to acknowledge that!!! Amber is a very special little girl and that shines through …….she deserves to go all the way xx

  12. Jacob Lolberger

    loved the show! those little mini masterchef maestros. Interested to see how the show progresses. Don’t be surprised if that girl Amber turns out to be a celebrity chef in 10 years time! They will be showing clips of her first tv appearance on the chat shows when she’s famous

  13. Spanish fan club

    We watched the little charmer Amber from Spain. With her seeming lack of vanity and yummy cooking, we are sure she will go far. Her smile was sweet and unaffected, and we Spanish fans think she should have her own show. Instead of the barefoot contessa, she should be the bow in the hair contessa!

  14. gggg

    Great show,
    Amber was fantastic and fully deserved to win. Love the little hair bow. She’s a star!
    Jameels curry looked nice too

    • inkface

      I agree. Jameel was smashing chap, and my mouth was watering at his chicken curry and mango lassi.

      • Jameel

        I’ve seen this page after about three years of the show being aired! Thanks for the lovely comments!
        Jameel 🙂

  15. Callum Lee

    Enjoyed the show! Amber was great a inspiration for the young generation, she definitely deserves to win.
    I hope you go all the way!

  16. afanofamber

    Amber is a true star. I have had the pleasure of eating her food and believe me its AMAZING. I wish Amber every success. She will make it and I hope I will be at the opening night of her restaurant! XXXX

  17. Well done, Amber was fantastic and the food looked scrummy x


    Amber is such a lovely girl with a lovely nature and her cooking is superb. She must take after her mother because my cooking leaves a lot to be desired.

  19. holly miller

    i love watching the show i wish i could cook like them but i have to say i could if i put my mind to it but i think Skye should have gone to the next round sorry to ever went though in her round you were good to lol x

  20. holly miller

    we love amber x

  21. smiley dots!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    i think amber is awesome and ive never seen kids that can cook as wel as that!
    by the way does anyone know the toad in the hole recipie?
    i quite like the normal masterchef
    i love junior masterchef
    but i absolutley adore amber!!!!!!!!!!!
    lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂