HYDE PARK — Evan Robinson has seen chef Gordon Ramsey make children around him cry, and looking back on it, he said he thinks it was pretty fun.
Evan, 11, has been watching a more naive 10-year-old version of himself make it to the final six on Fox’s "MasterChef Junior," secretly knowing who was motivated by host Ramsey’s tirades into victory, but he’s not telling.
The show finished shooting almost a year ago and Evan is now able to look back on the three-month competition filmed in Los Angeles from the comfort of sixth grade at South Loop Elementary.
“He’ll push you to get what he wants,” Evan said of Ramsey.
And Ramsey, known for his tirades, isn’t that much gentler on the children version of the competitive cooking show than he is on the adult version.
Evan got enough of it to stay motivated while others broke down into tears. In the episode that aired Thursday, Evan got it pretty directly when his sushi platter failed to live up to expectations.
“It’s like a nightmare on a slate,” Ramsey told Evan.
That embarrassment was lit, filmed and beamed out to homes across the country.
Evan admits he was initially nervous when the cameras started rolling.
“When the cameras first got on us, I would stop what I was doing,” Evan said.
He said it took time to learn to talk while he’s cooking.
His mother, Veronica Robinson, said being part of "Masterchef Junior" was all his idea. She said Evan was persistent about making sure she was taking him to auditions and sticking with it as he slowly progressed to getting a slot on the show, which started airing in February.
Evan said wasn’t particularly interested in the TV part, but he wanted to be in a cooking competition and get a chance to meet famous chefs.
He said he does watch TV differently now. He said he can tell in someone’s eyes on a reality show giving a confessional whether they are getting cut from the show.
Being on the show seems to have supercharged Evan’s interest in cooking.
Veronica said they are always trying new restaurants so Evan can ask to see the kitchen and meet the chef.
“I definitely want to stick in the culinary industry,” Evan said.
He said the show has opened up a lot of new opportunities for him, but he won’t say yet whether that’s because he ended the competition as a champion.
The next episode airs May 4.