PASADENA, Calif. – Gordon Ramsay is usually seen on shows like “Hells Kitchen” hurling expletives and ranting in a rage, but on “MasterChef Junior,” the fiery cook extraordinaire finds himself being just a big old softie.
On the Fox cooking show, Ramsay tones down his temper to work with young cooks that range in age from 8 to 13.
He said his experience as a father has shaped how he relates to the contestants.
“It’s easier being a dad, and also having three girls. I think sometimes I am a little more sensitive,” Ramsay admitted to FOX411. “It’s about helping them through those doldrums, those little areas where they feel like it’s not going well for them.”
On the series, the tiny chefs take center stage and create enviable cooking concoctions, but their creations aren't flawless. When they make a mistake and get upset, it tugs at Ramsay’s heartstrings.
“For me, it’s hard to watch them get upset about [their culinary] mistakes,” he said. “I didn't start cooking until I was 19… Eight, nine, 10 years of age, even by the time [the contestants] get to 18 they would have been cooking for 10 years. I need to help them realize their potential.”
Still, Ramsay is OK with the fact that the kids on “MasterChef Junior” often end up in tears.
“I think crying is important. Not crying, not showing that emotion, bottling it up could lead to more dangerous things,” Ramsay told the crowd at TCA Winter Press Tour on Saturday.
He said the show purposely doesn’t focus on the kids after their elimination.
“We’re not interested in showing the reaction when they see their parents and they are even more upset,” he insisted, but he added,“I think crying is healthy."
Ramsay said the kids learn important life skills on the show that benefit them in the long run.
“I think English and math are pivotal but I think cooking is equally important because… three times a day you need to eat,” the notoriously tough judge said.
The third season of “MasterChef Junior” premiered on Fox on Jan. 6. The show is a spinoff of “MasterChef,” which features adult professional cooks fiercely competing for the top title.
“MasterChef Junior” airs Tuesdays on Fox.