Gordon Ramsay‘s daughter Tilly is a chip off the ol’ butcher block! So she’s a perfect addition to the judges’ panel for this four-episode special event, MasterChef Junior: Home for the Holidays — but there’s no free pass with Pop.
“He treats me the same way he treats me at home,” she says with a chuckle. “He makes fun of me, but he knows I can give it back. That’s why he does it.” Gordon agrees, saying: “Tilly and I have a special bond, so we had a lot of laughs together.”
A cookbook author and chef in her own right, the 22-year-old is thrilled to be working alongside MasterChef regulars Daphne Oz and Aarón Sánchez. “Daphne is a role model, the way she’s gotten into the food industry and how well she’s doing,” Tilly says. “And Aarón…he and Dad make me laugh. They’re like two brothers who just annoy each other the whole time.” That good humor helps offset the bittersweet side of the show, in which nine preteen home cooks prep all sorts of seasonal dishes — and face elimination if they leave the judges cold.
“We all find it hard [to eliminate kids], obviously,” she notes. “They’re so passionate and working so hard, we don’t want them to go home.” In the first half of the two-episode opener, the grade school gourmets create cultural dishes inspired by their family traditions, and the results are impressive. (How many 8-year-olds can make Chinese New Year dumplings?!)
Even though three wind up having to hand in their golden aprons, Tilly and the team make sure the kids are alright before they go. “We remind them it’s amazing how far they’ve come. They’ve made it into the MasterChef kitchen and beaten thousands of people!” Plus, they can expect some special prizes. Says Gordon: “We wanted them to leave with smiles on their faces, especially over the holidays.”
In the second hour, there’s a pie-making challenge as sweet as the Ramsays’ own holiday plans. “Our Christmases are so lovely,” Tilly reveals. “We spend it together, and we all dress up in our matching onesies.” Wait…is the fiery personality behind Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen the king of cozy jumpers? “A hundred percent! He’s the first to put it on and he is the last to take it off. That’s how much he loves it.” Guess Home really is where his heart is.
MasterChef Junior: Home for the Holidays, Sunday and Monday, Dec. 10–11, 8/7c and 9/8c, Fox