Credit: Fox
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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.”

FRONT ROW (left to right)

Oona, 9

Hometown: New Haven, CT

Signature Dish: Creamy tomato soup with homemade croutons and smoked paprika

Mitchell, 12

Hometown: Paso Robles, CA

Signature Dish: Seared scallops over mashed potatoes with a tomato and green bean salad

Sean, 12

Hometown: Santa Ana, CA

Signature Dish: Coffee-crusted filet mignon, creamed spinach and ancho mushroom sauce

Abby, 8

Hometown: Winchester, VA

Signature Dish: Southwest chicken lettuce wraps

Natalie, 12

Hometown: Stevenson Ranch, CA

Signature Dish: Salmon with vegetables

Josh, 10

Hometown: Forest Hills, NY

Signature Dish: Sliders with chipotle aioli sauce

Jessica, 10

Hometown: Grand Prairie, TX

Signature Dish: Ground beef tacos with pico de gallo

Sam, 9

Hometown: Reseda, CA

Signature Dish: Omelet with guacamole and a strawberry rose garnish

BACK ROW (left to right)

Berry, 11

Hometown: Beverly Hills, CA

Signature Dish: Moroccan chicken

Logan, 11

Hometown: Memphis, TN

Signature Dish: Marinated flat iron steak with green grapes

Isabella, 12

Hometown: New York, NY

Signature Dish: Spaghetti carbonara with bacon

Samuel, 12

Hometown: Greenbrae, CA

Signature Dish: Beet carpaccio with a mache salad and walnut oil vinaigrette and crumbled goat cheese

Adaiah, 12

Hometown: Danbury, CT

Signature Dish: Salmon with lemon butter on a bed of kale and lemon stir fry

Nasir, 10

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Signature Dish: Blue cheese stuffed burger with soy ginger pineapple and bacon

Coco, 10

Hometown: Aquilla, TX

Signature Dish: Chicken-fried deer steak

Levi, 12

Hometown: Highland Park, IL

Signature Dish: Pan-seared Scottish salmon with maple glaze and arugula, apple and fennel salad

Episode Recaps

MasterChef Junior

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