‘MasterChef Junior’: Gordon Ramsay calls Season 9 ‘most competitive’ ever

"Lettuce" celebrate: Gordon Ramsay’s popular, pint-sized reality cooking competition series "MasterChef Junior" will return to FOX Monday for its ninth season.

"I am so excited it’s back," Ramsay said in a first-look video teasing the upcoming season, which will debut on March 4.

This season, the celebrity chef’s daughter Tilly Ramsay will also join the judging panel. In December, she was a judge on FOX’s holiday special "MasterChef Junior: Home for the Holidays."

"It’s really nice interacting with the kids, because I’m not that far off in age to them," the 22-year-old shared. "Every year I think the competition intensifies. They’re not scared of a single thing."


Contestant Lilo and Gordon Ramsay in the "Eating Emoji" season premiere episode. (Credit: Greg Gayne/FOX)

Acclaimed chefs Aaron Sanchez and Daphne Oz will also return to the show as judges. 

The series gives 12 talented kids between the ages of 8 and 13 the chance to showcase their culinary abilities and passion for food through a series of delicious challenges. 

For their first challenge, the junior chefs will each be given an emoji cookie and have one hour to prepare a dish that represents the emotion behind it. The chef with the best dish will not only be safe from elimination but will also win a trip to Las Vegas.

RELATED: ‘MasterChef Junior’: Daphne Oz dishes on FOX’s holiday special

And, the winner of this season will receive the title of the next "MasterChef Junior" champion, taking home a trophy and a $100,000 grand prize.


 L-R: Gordon Ramsay, Tilly Ramsay, Daphne Oz and Aarón Sánchez in the "Eating Emoji" season premiere. (Credit: Greg Gayne/FOX)

According to Ramsay, "MasterChef Junior" will be the "messiest, craziest and most competitive" season ever. 

"These kids are taking cooking to the next level," he said, adding, "They are literally toe-to-toe with me."

Watch the season premiere of "MasterChef Junior" on Monday, March 4 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.

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