While taping the highly anticipated eighth season of MasterChef Junior, new judge Daphne Oz got to see a whole new layer to costar Gordon Ramsay. “You get this beautiful side of him as like, father of five, a real expert in terms of shepherding kids along to explore their passions and love for food,” she tells Closer exclusively. 

The former host of The Chew went on to say that Gordon, 55, encourages the contestants to “create something beautiful.” The show allows children, ages 8 to 13, to explore their culinary interests in a series of challenges until one of them is awarded the $100,000 prize. 

“I have to say he definitely keeps you on your toes,” Daphne, 36, maintains. “There’s no slacking allowed.” The British restaurateur still dishes out critiques to the kids on this spinoff series, but in a way that allows them to take away new skills and useful advice from each challenge. 

Daphne Oz Talks Working With Gordon Ramsay on ‘MasterChef Junior’
Courtesy of Daphne Oz/Instagram

“He’s not saying, ‘You don’t deserve to hear a truthful evaluation of what you made,’ but maybe, ‘I’ll share it with you in a way that’s a little more gentle than I would with an adult,’ which I think is incredibly empowering and really cool to see that the kids respond with so much gratitude,” The Dorm Room Diet author says. “They’re not intimidated by that. They’re like hanging on his every word, and eager to learn and just little sponges soaking up every little bit of knowledge.” 

Daphne is a mother of four kids, Philomena, Jovan, Domenica and Giovanna, whom she shares with her husband, John Jovanovic. The television personality admits that she is still trying to find the perfect balance between motherhood and work, but enjoys every moment she can with her beautiful family. 

“My career is different than a lot of careers in that it can be cyclical or I’m in a phase right now where it’s extremely intense,” she explains. “I definitely don’t have the balance that I would ideally have, but I recognize that first of all, I love what I do, and I love getting to share that passion with my kids, and I know it makes them happy to see their mom be happy and to get to like learn about these cool things that I get to do.”

The blonde beauty is also the host of The Good Dish alongside longtime friends, Gail Simmons and Jamika Pessoa. “It’s just such an incredible privilege to be a part of people’s lives in that regular way and I cherish it,” Daphne says about the daytime program. 

The Good Dish airs weekdays, nationwide. Check your local listings. MasterChef Junior returns with season 8 on Thursday, March 17 at 8 pm ET/PT on FOX.