Three Things We Can All Learn from MasterChef Junior (That Don't Involve Cooking!)
by Thao Nguyen
Anyone who’s been unlucky enough to try my cooking knows that I would be a shoo-in for Worst Cooks in America. But despite my grossly underrated skills in the kitchen, I’m a sucker for any food-related reality show. My current favorite is MasterChef Junior, not because the food produced on there is particularly better than on other culinary shows, but because it teaches lots of lessons many of us could gain from.
Every episode is chock-full of adorable kids who show us that they’re a lot better at us when it comes to cooking and when it comes to being a decent human being. Check out the list below to see all the things we can learn from the contestants of MasterChef Junior.
1. Competition doesn’t have to be ugly. I’m reduced to tears several times an episode by the amazing support these kids give each other. They’re all vying for the same prize, but they all genuinely want their fellow competitors to win. There’s no trash talking behind the scenes, no manipulation or sabotage. It’s just good, clean competition. The kids all give each other pep talks, and if one of them gets hurt or overwhelmed, the others stop what they’re doing to console the struggling chef. None of the competitors are afraid to admit that another chef has outcooked them either. There is genuine love and respect all around. That’s something we can all do a little better; instead of tearing others down to get to the top, support each other and grow together.
2. Lose with dignity and grace. The last five minutes of every MasterChef Junior episode turn me into an ugly, sniveling mess. There’s snot and tears everywhere. At least two chefs are sent home every week, and it is heartbreaking - there’s not a dry eye in the entire kitchen. None of the competitors wants to see their friends go home, which is beautiful and a testament to my previous point. But the most amazing thing is how the losing competitors exit the show. They’re always full of hope for the future and a genuine gratitude to have participated. They never complain or point fingers at others for losing. Instead, they earnestly cheer on the remaining competitors and excitedly discuss how they plan to continue their dreams once they get home. Losing is hard, but it doesn’t have to be ugly!
3. Find wonder in the little things. Far too often, we are quick to hide our excitement and awe about the things we are passionate about for fear of coming off uncool. But the enthusiasm and eagerness the little chefs show on a weekly basis is inspirational. Whether they’re loudly exclaiming over the ingredients in the mystery box or giddily jumping over the suspense of their new challenge, it’s impossible not to smile while watching their awestruck reactions to everything. We could all benefit from finding more joy in everything we do, and we can look at the happiness these kids have as inspiration.