The Truth About The MasterChef Junior Audition Process

If you've ever watched MasterChef Junior, you probably know how ridiculously talented the kids that compete on there are. You've also probably wondered what they had to do to end up on the show in the first place, which is why we're here to clear some things up.

According to the MasterChef Junior casting site, getting onto the show isn't as easy as you might think. As it turns out, the process is pretty similar to what adult contestants have to go through to land a spot on the show. Prospective MasterChef Junior contestants have to attend an initial open call audition, have a film crew follow them around at home for a second audition, and then fly out to California for a third audition if they end up being a finalist — and this is all while maintaining their cool under pressure and practicing a whole lot of patience.

What it's like to attend a MasterChef Junior open call audition

The first step that prospective MasterChef Junior contestants must take is to register for an open call audition or submit a home video online. The casting site states that attending an open call audition is the preferred method of applying, but if it's not possible, the home video method will be accepted, which brings us to the next step of the process: the audition.

When attending an open call audition, the contestant must bring their own apron and one prepared dish made exclusively by the child to be served to the judges. (It's important to note, however, that not everyone who registers and attends the open call auditions actually gets the chance to audition.) 

According to The Randolph Leader, when 8-year-old Kate Hendon auditioned for the seventh season of the show, there were nearly 300 other kids auditioning. For part of the audition, each of them had to cook an egg and use a knife to cut food to prove that they could be trusted, Hendon recalls. In addition to proving their ability to be responsible with sharp objects, there's a Q&A portion of the audition to get to know the prospective contestants better and see if their personalities are a good fit for the show.

The second part of the audition

The audition doesn't end at the open call, though. After, prospective contestants must return home (with a film crew) and cook up whatever they want for a half hour in front of the camera. "She had to find her own recipe and do whatever she wanted to do from start to finish in 30 minutes," Kate Hendon's mother told The Randolph Leader. "And they didn't give any guidance. Dessert, breakfast, anything, it was just open. Whatever you want to do."

The step that follows the "home audition" includes a psychological evaluation (which is surprisingly common for reality shows), background checks, a home video tour (to get an idea of the child's interests), follow-up interviews, and requests for more information from the show's producers. Throughout the entire audition process, the prospective contestants don't know whether or not they've been selected to compete. "It was a lot of videoing and pictures that they wanted us to send in, and we still didn't know anything. We were just sending all this stuff," Hendon's mother added.

What happens right before you're selected to compete

If a prospective contestant ranks in the final 48, their next stop is flying out to Los Angeles for the final audition. The downside? The entire trip has to be completely confidential and no one can know where the potential MasterChef Junior contestant is. "It was really hard because of course everybody wanted to know why Kate wasn't at school, why she wasn't coming to dance. People were concerned that something was wrong," Kate's mother told The Randolph Leader.

The final audition narrows down the group of 48 to just 24 finalists who will ultimately move on to compete on the show. The process is a series of more interviews, more cooking, and more camera tests. The morning after, the soon-to-be winners are asked to meet in a room with no knowledge of whether or they've been chosen. 

"We get the call and they say we want you come down to this room in the morning at this time, but we didn't know," Kate told The Randolph Leader. "This may have been the losing people. It may have been the people that made it. We didn't know." Fortunately for Kate, she was one of the 24 kids who were selected to move forward onto the seventh season of the show. (By the way, in case the entire process of auditioning and waiting isn't stressful enough, the kids on the show still go to "school" while filming.)