The Daily Stream: MasterChef Junior Will Make You Feel Like You Could Burn Cereal

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Series: "MasterChef Junior"

Where You Can Stream It: Hulu

The Pitch: Do you want to feel like you have zero skills in the kitchen, but also feel optimistic about the future of our society? Considering the way the world is right now, it's really nice to look at the contestants on "MasterChef Junior" and realize that, even if our civilization falls, someone is going to be around to make us yummy food. I started watching "MasterChef" when I ran out of other cooking shows. I swear to you, everything I know about cooking (and that isn't a whole lot) is from watching other people do it on TV. I cannot do it myself, but it's so lovely to watch other folks create temporary art in the form of something I can eat. It's just the most soothing thing. I got addicted to competition series like "The Great British Baking Show" because of how nice everyone is, and "MasterChef" was a natural extension of that. With a few exceptions, everyone is so supportive of each other, and it makes me happy. Finding out that there was a version where children from the ages of eight to 13 called "MasterChef Junior" made me immediately tune in. 

Why it's essential viewing

I'm trying to remember what I did at eight years old, and I can absolutely tell you, it was not making a souffle or deglazing a pan with wine. Some of these kids are so tiny that they can't see over their own cooking stations. I'm looking at you, teensy Ivy from season eight. What these little chefs can do is frankly astonishing. 

With some instruction (but not a lot) from celebrity judges Gordon Ramsay,  Aarón Sanchez, and Daphne Oz (this season, former judges included Christina Tosi, Graham Elliot, and Joe Bastianich), these itty bitty people in aprons get skills tests, team challenges, pressure tests, and the final elimination challenge each week to see who can handle the pressure, how creative they can be, and how skilled. 

Most adults don't have the kind of poise and teamwork that these small humans display. It isn't just about their cooking skills, which leave my mouth hanging open in shock every week. It's how they comfort each other when they have a bad cook, how they work together on team challenges, and honestly, how their tiny little arms can carry a food processor to the table, when I'd probably have trouble lifting one myself.

Tiny people, big flavors

What's even sweeter about this program is watching the judges and the way they give criticism. Seeing Gordon Ramsay in dad mode is the sweetest, by the way, particularly after watching "Hell's Kitchen." (He gets a bad rap, but when he gets angry at the adults, it's always justified.) They don't pull punches and pretend that every little item at a kid even looks at is just the yummiest. They give real critiques in a kind way. These kids are going to be able to use what they learned for the rest of their lives.

They're competing for a prize, but I would argue that what they get from the judges is far more than that. They have skills they can use in any career, no matter what they end up pursuing. As the weeks go on, and the judges get to know these kids more and more, even they tear up as each kid is eliminated. 

It gives me a little hope for the future, which is a big deal right now. I hope you find some solace in watching it.