The witch in Hansel and Gretel was right: Children really are the best secret ingredient. Kidding—but they are what made the first season of MasterChef Junior such a Friday night delight, and now the kids are back (a whole new group of kids, that is) with judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich, and Graham Elliot overseeing the proceedings.
Now on a new night (premiering Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 8 p.m.), the Fox cooking competition will introduce 16 junior chefs from across the country—and EW has your first look at the one eight-year-old, two nine-year-olds, four 10-year-olds, two 11-year-olds and seven 12-year-olds (you got all that?) vying for the $100,000 grand prize.
“When we were casting, there were kids who were coming to try out who hadn’t ever picked up a frying pan or a knife until season one,” producer Robin Ashbrook tells EW. “I’m very pleased that this time around because we were able to go to more cities casting the show, and we’re learning recipes from all over the country. Season two is so much bigger. It’s bigger in the sense that we have a really diverse and representative cast of America. It’s bigger in the sense that the talent is still definitely there. But there are still challenges where we expect kids to be able to filet a salmon after a Gordon demo. If we’re doing our job properly, it’ll make you laugh, cry, smile, and above all, make you want to cook.”