Rachael Ray's Kids Cook-Off

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Rachael Ray's Kids Cook-Off TV Poster Image
Young chefs match wits in family-friendly cooking contest.

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Educational Value

The show doesn't try to teach viewers about cooking per se, but kids will pick up some basic knowledge of different types of foods and how they can be prepared as well as cooking techniques. 

Positive Messages

The kid cooks enjoy experimenting with foods and creating culinary masterpieces. Win or lose, they take pride in their work and are motivated to keep learning and improving their craft. Rachael and her guest hosts offer encouraging feedback and sound advice throughout the show. The diverse cast includes both boys and girls, dispelling gender stereotypes in the kitchen. Some tasks challenge the kids in new ways, and they do criticize their competitors in the confessionals, but overall the tone is light.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The contestants are an amazing bunch, not only in their skills but also in their motivation to excel in their craft. They take criticism well and embrace this opportunity to learn. They do talk about each other in confessionals, but it's mostly along the lines of, "I can't believe he did that!" or "What was she thinking?" in regard to their cooking methods. Ray and the other pro chefs always temper their critiques with praise for the kids' efforts. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Rachael Ray gets plenty of publicity from her involvement in the show, as do the guests who accompany her. The contest's winner will get his or her own Web show, so fans will want to tune in for that.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rachael Ray's Kids Cook-Off pits kid chefs against each other in a competition that will net the eventual winner cash and a Web show of his or her own. The contestants are put through a series of challenges that test not only their culinary skills but also their ability to handle pressure, work together, and think on their feet. Even though things don't always go perfectly, there's always something to be learned by the process. Ray and the guest hosts are positive mentors, offering advice and helpful feedback in an encouraging manner. Even if your kids aren't foodies themselves, they will enjoy watching these impressive chefs in action, and it's a good reminder that if you set your mind to something, anything is possible. 

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What's the story?

RACHAEL RAY'S KIDS COOK-OFF is a reality competition in which up-and-coming culinary masters face off in a series of cooking challenges moderated and judged by professional chef and TV personality Rachael Ray and her guest hosts. Eight kids ranging in age from 11 to 13 roll up their sleeves and get to work under Ray's watchful eye, preparing some of their signature dishes and creating new ones on the fly to complete timed tasks presented by the hosts. One competitor is eliminated each week, culminating in the crowning of a Kids Cook-Off Champion, who wins a cash prize and the rights to a Web series. 

Is it any good?

Young foodies and culinary novices alike will like watching these pint-size kitchen masters at work, and the fact that they're so young really inspires a can-do attitude about cooking at any age. Even if your kids don't know their bruschetta from their brie, there are plenty of beginner skills and knowledge they can pick up from watching. Of course, the show's value isn't limited to a young audience, either. Unless you're an accomplished chef yourself, you'll no doubt pick up a thing or two from these impressive kids.

Although Ray and her guests play down the competitive side of the show, it is by nature a contest that only one person will win. It's tough to watch the kids fret over mistakes they make that might cost them a chance at their dream, and you really feel for them while they await the judges' reactions. But Ray and her guests always balance their criticism with encouraging feedback and make sure the kids stay focused on what they've done well, so the overall mood is positive and celebratory. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about healthy eating. Which of the dishes featured in the show are healthy? Which are not? What are some ways your family can improve your eating habits? 

  • What is the difference between a hobby and a passion? Which category would define the contestants' attitude toward cooking? Do your kids enjoy a pastime to the same degree? 

  • Kids: If you could be mentored by a role model, whom would you choose? What would you hope to learn from him or her? How would you handle it if you disagreed with his or her advice? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love food

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