Sep. 27, 2013 at 12:02 PM ET
It’s no secret that celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has a potty mouth.
His rants against hopefuls on his cooking shows “MasterChef” and “Hell’s Kitchen” — and even his restaurant makeover series “Kitchen Nightmares” — are legendary, as the Brit regularly melts down when things go sideways.
And now, he’s hosting a G-rated junior version of “MasterChef,” where the contestants range in age from 8 to 13. The big question is how the King of Mean will be able to contain his vitriol around little ones.
While he probably won't call one of the moppets a "(bleeping) donkey," he obviously doesn’t hold back much either, as a clip shows him telling a young competitor, “I’m not here to wipe your bottom. You’re a big boy.”
One unlikely little chef who seems able to go fork to fork with Ramsay is 9-year-old Sarah, who could swipe the sassy tiara right off Honey Boo Boo's head.
“I have seen almost all of Gordon Ramsay’s shows,” she told TODAY. “But I wasn’t really frightened about it because he can’t be really mean because, like, we’re kids.”
She was also quick to rat Ramsay out in front of TV critics this summer when the chef was grilled about how much he had to contribute to the curse jar on set.
When Ramsay uncharacteristically tried to weasel out of a question about whether he had slipped on the show, he babbled, “My wife is an ex-school teacher. I think, like any sport, any situation under pressure, when some bad words come out, they get bleeped. I don’t think I swore once across ‘MasterChef Junior.’ "
Sarah was quick to correct him and revealed that in fact, he slipped not once, but twice.
When asked if he was engaged in an anger management therapy, Ramsay tried passing it off as a question for Sarah. “Seriously?” the little girl said, looking at her mentor. “Really? Answer your question!” (Later, like a modern day Deep Throat, she approached TODAY and offered to dish on the famous chef, saying, "Well, I’ll tell you off the record. Turn off your recorder ...”)
The 9-year-old might not be afraid of Ramsay, but her fellow hopefuls might be a little intimidated by her. In the preview clips, the cutie screams at a teammate during a challenge, “Whip IT! Whip it like a MAN!”
Kids, indeed, say the darndest things.
While Sarah obviously has no problem speaking her mind, she and her fellow contestants are still just kids. And at some point, these children have to be told they just aren’t good enough to continue on in the competition. Ramsay, who has three daughters and a son ranging in age from 11 to 15, said he spoke to the young chefs as if they were his own. He pointed out that it’s important to let kids know not everyone can win at everything.
“I think being firm and fair is something that we cannot be short of in any country, and (we need to be) brutally honest, “ Ramsay told TODAY.
In short, "MasterChef Junior" won’t be a trophy-for-everyone kind of series. The winner gets $100,000, and the losers get shown the door.
“We let them down gently. We managed their expectations. But, listen, they’re kids. So, you know, we weren’t blowing smoke up their backside and telling them they’re going to become superstars,” Ramsay said of how he and his co-judges Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot handled eliminations. “We kept it pretty much real. But you’re going to see some talent that is better than the overall competition this year, and that is straight up. So I rest my case on that one.”
"MasterChef Junior" premieres at 8 p.m Friday on FOX.