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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kids BBQ Championship is a reality competition that pits eight young grillers against each other for a cash prize, a Food Network magazine spot, and winner status. Each episode challenges contestants to prepare a meal related to a theme (luau, campfire) under a time restriction. The process tests the kids' abilities to work under pressure, think creatively about ingredients and cooking techniques, and present an appealing product. Hosts and guest judges sample the kids' work and offer feedback (both negative and positive) before eliminating one contestant each week. Some kids get emotional when things don't go as planned or when they're sent home, but overall the series features very friendly and self-affirming competition, as well as some impressive skills from these young grill masters.
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What's the story?
KIDS BBQ CHAMPIONSHIP challenges the country's eight most accomplished young grill masters to a test of the taste buds for the ultimate title of barbecue champ. Hosted by Eddie Jackson and Camila Alves and featuring new guest judges every episode, this six-week competition pits cooking styles and signature dishes against each other and the clock as contestants vie for a $20,000 prize, a magazine feature, and champion bragging rights. Each week will see the show heating up as competition is whittled down by eliminations.
Is it any good?
You don't have to be an aspiring griller yourself to be impressed by this pool of contestants who would put most average backyard flame tenders to shame with their skills. No matter the challenge -- Hawaiian luau to campfire roundup -- these kids can butcher, season, and sizzle with the best of them, and they use every challenge as a chance to experiment and learn something new. In that way they're excellent role models for kids regardless of their interest (or lack thereof) in cooking; they take chances and submit to critique from the experts so they can get better at what they love. The process isn't always easy, but there's something positive to take away from every experience. In so doing, they prove what one contestant names as his reason for being there: "To show that kids can do amazing things."
If your kids (or you, for that matter) are foodies, though, Kids BBQ Championship can inspire you to step outside your comfort zone and mix it up a little at the grill. This isn't an instructional show, but you can pick up plenty of tips from the contestants and the judges on everything from experimenting with ingredients to monitoring the flame to achieve your desired results. This broadly appealing series is a fun pick for curious families and could inspire young chefs in your own house.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the food and techniques the contestants on Kids BBQ Championship use. Did any of their combinations surprise or impress you? Based on what you saw, which dish do you think you'd like the most? Is there any wrong way to cook?
What role does family heritage play in the kids' signature flavors or techniques? Which food traditions do you have in your home? Why is food such a central aspect of social events? Can this be a bad thing?
What are the benefits of competition? How does it feel to come up short of a goal you've set for yourself? Does losing make you want to give up, or does it inspire you to try again? Are these contestants good role models for their behavior in this competition?
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