'MasterChef Junior' and Gordon Ramsay's World's Biggest Cupcake nightmare
A crowd gathered on a grassy area near the fountain at the center of the upscale retail mecca to see if Ramsay -- who is judging the kids-only version of the competition, along with restaurateur Joe Bastianich and chef Graham Elliot -- and his crew could produce a 3,000-pound confection and make their way into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Unfortunately, when it came time to unveil the big baked good, it was a bust.
"It collapsed in on itself," Ramsay tells Zap2it. "Three thousand pounds, that's a heavyweight. These attempts, sometimes people practice and then fake it. We went for it, and we were open and honest about it. Go big or go home, at the end of the day."
But, the kids (all contestants on this new "MasterChef" installment are between eight and 11) and Ramsay turned lemons into lemonade and instead executed an attempt at the world's smallest cupcake -- a signature Sprinkles red-velvet cupcake almost the size of a penny.
The crowd then enjoyed free mini-cupcakes from Sprinkles (whose owner, Candace Nelson, is a judge on Food Network's "Cupcake Wars").
"It's nice," said Ramsay, "taught them a lesson. Big is not always best,and, hey, 3,000 pounds. They know it's not how you start, it's how you finish ... and Friday night, it starts."
But last week, it was Ramsay's 13-year-old daughter, Holly, who unwittingly taught him a lesson about sneaking in where he doesn't belong.
"I did something very naughty last week," Ramsay said. "I went to the first school disco for my daughter. No parents were allowed, so I said, 'Can I do the food?' They said, 'Yes.' I put on a wig and a pair of glasses. I hid in the kitchen. I ran back down the stairs at one minute past 10, to pick her up. She was right on time.
"But then, she got in the car. [I said] 'How was the disco, Holly?', as if I hadn't been seeing her for the last three hours. She said, 'It was great, but the food was crap, Dad.'
"I was gutted. I was so upset."
Along with some new cooking skills, Ramsay thinks his "MasterChef Junior" kids also went away from the competition with something more.
"To me," he said, "the most important thing was, they got to take away the discipline. I think they can apply that discipline to other areas of their lives. You know what it's like, kids falling off the rails, getting into different areas they shouldn't go.
"Cooking is about parameters and staying within that parameters."
Sometimes, even skill and discipline can't win the day, and you might wish for a little magic.
"Yeah," said Ramsay, "we had a cupcake nightmare. Where was Hollywood when you needed it?"
"MasterChef Junior" premieres Friday, Sept. 27 on FOX.