Chef Aarón Sánchez dishes behind-the-scenes details on the show's new season, premiering May 30.
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We all know Gordon Ramsay’s reputation: Gruff, demanding, prone to shouting—but with an admittedly good sense of humor and the ability to laugh at himself every once in a while. With the new season of MasterChef premiering on May 30, that familiar take-no-prisoners attitude will be returning to your television screens, for better or for worse. Ramsay's fans (and his many detractors, who have recently criticized him for his bullying behavior in the kitchen) might be curious to know what he’s really like once the cameras switch off. Chef Aarón Sánchez is once again joining the judging panel this season, and he revealed what it’s really like to work with Ramsay on the show

“I’ve been very blessed to have him as a colleague,” Sánchez told Food & Wine. “He cares about his family immensely. He’s around them at all times when he’s not shooting or working at the restaurants.”

Ramsay has proved that he’s a much more supportive mentor to kids—his daughters often cook with him, and on MasterChef Junior he’s far more encouraging that he is tough. However, Sánchez promises that you’ll see that supportive side of Ramsay on MasterChef, too.

“You have an extremely limited amount of time with them on other shows. They’re in the door and they’re out of the door and you don’t really have a chance to mentor the way that we would like,” Sánchez, who has served as a judge on Chopped in the past, said. “We really nurture these competitors over multiple weeks. We’re teaching multiple skillsets.”

This season, the MasterChef team will be working with a range of amateur cooks: School teachers, lawyers, and people who work in finance, among others, are all competing this season. Sánchez compares the atmosphere on the show to “a marathon” (rather than a sprint), during which the judges will “give [competitors] the tools and the lessons to cook professionally.”

Even the most dedicated mentors need a break every once in a while, though, and Sánchez reveals that during breaks in filming, he and Ramsay often enjoyed a beer (preferably Miller Lite) and conversation together.

“We had a good time,” he says with a laugh, and then becomes more serious. “Gordon is extremely wise, unbelievably talented, and unbelievably caring.”

Maybe after six successful season of MasterChef Junior, Ramsay has decided to soften his approach to coaching the would-be chefs this season. He’s much more likable when he’s a good mood anyway.

MasterChef premieres on May 30 at 8 p.m. on Fox.