Aarón Sánchez Tells Us What To Expect From The Upcoming Season Of MasterChef Junior - Exclusive

"MasterChef Junior," a spinoff of the series "MasterChef," is back for its ninth season. The show features a group of 12 kids, ranging in age from eight to 13, who face celebrity chef judges Aarón Sánchez, Gordon Ramsay, and Daphne Oz. Contestants take on fierce culinary challenges as they compete to take home the "MasterChef Junior" trophy and $100,000. We spoke with judge Sánchez in an exclusive interview, in which he told us what to expect from the upcoming season of "MasterChef Junior," which premieres via FOX on Monday, March 4, at 8/7c and will be available on Hulu.

Sánchez describes the beautiful dynamic of the show, which brings out the best in the children and nurtures their love for food, and he tells us this season is going to be fantastic with more exciting challenges than ever. He also promises "real-life situations that are going to really challenge their grit and their ability." The first episode sees the contestants creating entire dishes based on emojis. Later episodes of the series will have the kids cooking at the Magic Castle in LA and preparing a meal for the Harlem Globetrotters. As before, each contestant risks elimination if they don't rise to the occasion.

A new judge means big change

The biggest change in the upcoming season is the addition of a new judge: Tilly Ramsay — the daughter of noted chef, firebrand, and "MasterChef Junior" judge Gordon Ramsay. As food-world royalty, Tilly has appeared in multiple cooking shows over the years, forging a career for herself as a chef and influencer. Currently, she is set to host the upcoming Amazon show "Dish It Out," for which she'll receive a box of mystery foods from a variety of international chefs, and she'll turn that into a meal on-air. 

Tilly may be new to this season of "MasterChef Junior," but she is no stranger to the show. She first appeared on "MasterChef Junior" as a guest back when she was just 12 years old. A decade on, Tilly is now the youngest member of the judging team, and Aarón Sánchez says that she brings a youthful exuberance to the show. Gordon is known for his high standards and prickly demeanor, but Sánchez notes that this all changes with Tilly on set. He tells us that she "brings out a side of chef Gordon that's fun, you know what I mean? She pokes at him, you know what I mean? Gives him grief. So it's really nice to see chef Gordon kind of become a little bit of that softie in front of his daughter." With all that the new season has to offer, we anticipate an exciting competition.