The pint-sized chefs are back! FOX’s hit reality-TV competition series “MasterChef Junior” will return with an all new cast Tuesday. Following in the footsteps of Season 1 winner 12-year-old Alexander Weiss, 16 new kids, ages 8 through 12, will compete to win the title of America’s newest MasterChef Junior and the $100K cash prize. Chefs Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, and restaurateur Joe Bastianich will return as judges. Before Season 2 premieres Nov. 4, meet the contestants:
Abby, 8, of Winchester, Virginia, says she has a knack for cooking Spaghetti Carbonara but creating homemade pasta is not her strong suit. The youngest contestant counts her mom as her cooking inspiration and hopes her spot on the series will inspire other kids to learn to cook.
Sam, 9, of Resada, California, enjoys making steak and Swiss buttercream. He says professional chefs and different cultures inspire him to be more creative in the kitchen. He hopes his passion for cooking will inspire other kids to want to learn culinary skills.
Oona, 9, of New Haven, Connecticut, is a master at making egg yolk-filled raviolis but struggles when it comes to cooking alu nuage, also known as “eggs in snow.” She credits her parents for inspiring her love for the culinary arts.
“I hope one day people will taste my food and say, ‘WOW,’” she said in her FOX Q&A.
Coco, 10, of Aquilla, Texas, says baking, specifically Crème brûlée, is her speciality, but that she also knows her way around a cast iron skillet. She credits her cooking skills to her Granny.
“She drives me to be creative because we live way out in the country. You can’t just run to the grocery store so we have to come up with some pretty creative ways to feed a lot of hungry ranch boys with what we have in the pantry,” she said.
Jessica, 10, of Grand Prairie, Texas, says pasta is her favorite thing to make and she isn’t afraid to get messy in the kitchen. The tween credits her mother as her inspiration and says she hopes her time on the show will encourage others to be creative with food.
Josh, 10, of Forest Hills, New York, is a professional when it comes to cooking comfort foods but finds it difficult to cook under pressure, especially for judges. He credits his passion for eating, cookbooks and cooking shows for his cooking creativity.
Logan, 10, of Memphis, Tennessee, enjoy cooking BBQ but admits he struggles when it comes to creating seafood dishes because his cooking teacher, his mom, is allergic. The contestant says he loves food because of the unity it can create.
“I love food. It never goes out of style. It brings people together,” he said.
Nasir, 10, of Chicago, Illinois, enjoys cooking fish but not chicken. "You have to cook it perfectly or you can very, very sick," he said. Nasir says his ultimate drive to cook comes from his stomach which he calls “Herman.”
Berry, 11, of Beverly Hills, California, counts her first dish she ever learned to cook, mushroom risotto, as her favorite. While she considers her knife skills on point, Berry says said she doesn’t enjoy cooking with meat. Unlike most contestants who credit their parents with helping them learn how to cook, the contestant said she learned the culinary arts at a young age because her family was “terrible” in the kitchen.
Adaiah, 12, of Danbury, Connecticut, enjoys putting her own twist on classic dishes especially when she can use a whisk, which she count as one of the most important tools any chef can own. Adaiah says she hopes the show will teach viewers to follow their dreams.
“I thing I hope to inspire people with my cooking is that you can do anything you put your mind to and that you are never too young to do what you love," she said.
Isabella, 12, of Manhattan, New York, likes the simplicity of penne pasta with vodka sauce and has trouble when it comes to baking cakes. She considers time management her downfall and feels most comfortable cooking with a pan. She credits Gordon Ramsay as her inspiration.
Levi, 12, of Highland Park, Illinois, loves the complexity of a New York Strip Steak with a red wine reduction but struggles with baking, especially making éclairs. Like Isabella, he says famous chefs, like Gordon Ramsay, inspire him.
“Seeing all the amazing food he makes inspires me to do even better,” he said.
Mitchell, 12, of Paso Robles, California, loves to cook scallops but has trouble when it comes to cooking basic foods, like ground beef. He said he learned to cook because of his desire to know what he was putting into his body and his athletic background.
Sean, 12, of Santa Ana, California, likes to make duck tacos but can't seem to craft the perfect ravioli. He claims his creativity in the kitchen is driven by his desire to make others happy with his food.
Natalie, 12, of Stevenson Ranch, California, loves making healthy food, fast. She hopes her time on the show will allow parents to let their kids be more active in the kitchen at home.
“It is really frustrating that no schools wants to admit kids and parents get afraid to let their children get close to the stove or use real knives. I want people to be able to see that we are smart and talented,” she said.
Samuel, 12, of Greenbrae, California, says when he’s cooking to impress, he likes to make a four-course tasting menu but when he is with his family, a mushroom and pea risotto is his go-to dish. He credits the endless array of flavors and combinations available as his cooking inspiration.
“There is always something new out there, and to find it is a joy in and of itself,” he said.
Season 2 of “Masterchef Junior” premieres Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. EST on FOX. Check out a sneak peek of the first episode below: