Top 18 “MASTERCHEF” Finalists Announced

MASTERCHEF: Restaurateur and wine maker Joe Bastianich (L), chef Gordon Ramsay (C) and chef Graham Elliot (R) on an all-new MASTERCHEF

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By Fox 50 Staff

 

GORDON RAMSAY, JOE BASTIANICH AND GRAHAM ELLIOT
ANNOUNCE THE “MASTERCHEF” TOP 18 FINALISTS
 
Stockbroker, Homemaker, Contractor, Health Coach and Series’ First Blind Contestant Among The Top 18
 
Competition Continues Tonight at 9pm on FOX 50
 
After a nationwide search drew nearly 30,000 hopefuls, the Top Amateur Cooks were flown to Los Angeles for a chance to become America’s next MASTERCHEF. Following a grueling round of auditions and culinary boot camp, the MASTERCHEF judges have chosen this season’s Top 18 finalists: Stacey Amagrande, Monti Carlo, Michael Chen, Tali Clavijo, Samantha de Silva, Felix Fang, Christine Ha, Mike Hill, Helene Leeds, Scott Little, Dave Mack, Josh Marks, David Martinez, Frank Mirando, Tanya Noble, Becky Reams, Anna Rossi and Ryan Umane. Only one finalist will be crowned the MASTERCHEF winner and walk away with a cookbook deal and the $250,000 grand prize.
 
The competition continues tonight, at 9:00pm, on FOX 50 as the Top 18 enter the MASTERCHEF kitchen for the first time and compete in their first mystery box challenge. The contestants have one hour to prepare a dish using only the surprise ingredients, and the weakest dish will send one contestant home. Later, the judges will challenge the remaining hopefuls to cook an outstanding risotto dish in an elimination round that will end the competition for one more amateur cook.     
 
Tune in next Monday June 18 at 9:00pm as the judges put the remaining 16 contestants through the ultimate culinary boot camp when they visit military base Camp Pendleton, CA. The amateur cooks will split up into two teams to prepare a healthy and balanced meal for 201 servicemen and women. Elimination is on the line as the losing team will complete an intense pressure test that will send another contestant home.  
 
Below are the MASTERCHEF Top 18:
 

Stacey Amagrande
Age: 29
Occupation: Farmer’s Market Manager
Hometown: Apple Valley, CA
 
Keep up with Stacey at:
      

Favorite Dish To Cook: “Soups, stews and curries.  Dishes with many ingredients, that require slow cooking.

Monti Carlo 
Age: 36
Occupation: Homemaker
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
 
Keep up with Monti at:
    

Favorite Dish To Cook: “Oxtail Stew! It’s a slow cook recipe, so it takes all day to prepare, but the way your house smells about two hours in is outrageous!”

Michael Chen 
Age: 19
Occupation: College Student (Meteorology) 
Hometown: Austin, TX
 
Keep up with Michael at:
 

Favorite Dish To Cook: “My signature dish – dumplings! It’s such a simple concept, but I love how anybody can have a role in helping to make them. I’ve made dumplings with 70-year-olds and five-year-olds.”

Tali Clavijo
Age: 29
Occupation: Musician
Hometown: Chicago, IL
 
Keep up with Tali at:
 

Favorite Dish To Cook: “Foam, sous vide and explosive spheres. I love to transform and reinvent simple foods into modern masterpieces.”

Samantha de Silva
Age: 27
Occupation: Design Consultant
Hometown: Miami Beach, FL
 
Keep up with Samantha at:
 

Favorite Dish To Cook: “Black truffle and pancetta brioche bread pudding topped with a poached egg. I adore the earthiness of the truffle, mixed with the rich saltiness of pancetta and the wonderful creaminess of the egg yellow. Truly decadent! ”

Felix Fang
Age: 24
Occupation: Food Runner
Hometown: Hollywood, CA
 
Keep up with Felix at:
 

Favorite Dish To Cook: “I don’t have just one favorite thing to cook! But I enjoy exploring new cuisines and trying unfamiliar techniques. I make a lot of kettle corn because it’s a fast, cheap and tasty treat.”

Christine Ha
Age: 32
Occupation: Graduate Student 
Hometown: Houston, TX
 
Keep up with Christine at:
 

Favorite Dish To Cook: “Vietnamese eggrolls. My mom used to make them for special occasions, and they were my favorite thing to eat growing up. As for sweets, I love making ice cream and I have been experimenting with various creative flavors, like honey lavender.”

Mike Hill
Age: 40
Occupation: Contractor
Hometown: Powder Springs, GA
 
Keep up with Mike at:

Favorite Dish To Cook: “French toast – a Sunday tradition in my house. My daughter and I get up early on Sunday, go shopping and make French toast together. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

Helene Leeds
Age: 35
Occupation:  Health Coach
Hometown: Baldwin, MD
 
Keep up with Helene at:
 

Favorite Dish To Cook: “Salads and raw superfood brownies and cheesecakes. Yum!”

Scott Little 
Age: 38
Occupation: Interactive Producer
Hometown: Annandale, VA
 
Keep up with Scott at:
 

Favorite Dish To Cook: “Pork shoulder, because the amazing flavors are so versatile. You can create tons of different hearty dishes from it.”

Dave Mack
Age: 27
Occupation: Food Sales Director
Hometown: Davie, FL
 
Keep up with Dave at:
 

Favorite Dish To Cook: “Tomato-based sauces that are good enough to eat like soups. While road-tripping for three months, I picked fresh, ripe tomatoes and made the best chunky marinara sauce.”

Josh Marks
Age: 24
Occupation: U.S. Army Contract Specialist
Currently Resides: Jackson, MS
 
Keep up with Josh at:
 

Favorite Dish To Cook: “My signature dish – étouffée. It’s versatile enough to make anyone like étouffée. I enjoy trying different variations, like shrimp, chicken or crawfish. I’m drooling just thinking about it!”

David Martinez
Age: 32
Occupation: Educational Administrator 
Currently Resides: Glencoe, IL
 
Keep up with David at:
 

Favorite Dish To Cook: “My favorite thing to cook is always something I haven’t made before.  I love the challenge of making something new for weeks until I get it perfect.” 

Frank Mirando
Age: 28
Occupation: Stockbroker
Hometown: Holtsville, NY
 
Keep up with Frank at:
 

Favorite Dish To Cook: “Long-braised pork tomato sauce, a.k.a. Sunday sauce. It’s the meal that has brought my family and most other Italian American families together every week for generations.”

Tanya Noble
Age: 21
Occupation: Sociology Student
Hometown: Austin, TX
 
Keep up with Tanya at:
 

Favorite Dish To Cook: “A good piece of pan-fried chicken. Perhaps it’s my southern roots (I was born in Texas after all!), or perhaps it’s something about how deliciously crispy the skin gets, but either way, I love it!”

Becky Reams
Age: 26
Occupation: Food Photographer
Hometown: Stilwell, KS
 
Keep up with Becky at:
 

Favorite Dish To Cook: “Anything that is regional, local and in season. I try to cook regionally by cooking with local seafood, produce and sustainably-raised meats.”

Anna Rossi
Age: 28
Occupation: Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
Hometown: Boston, MA
 
Keep up with Anna at:
 

Favorite Dish To Cook: “Local and seasonal food. I love preparing food that is intentional, that has a story and celebrates our community and where we live.”

Ryan Umane
Age: 26
Occupation: Unemployed
Hometown: New York, NY 
 
Keep up with Ryan at:
 

Favorite Dish To Cook: “My special meatloaf. It’s quick, easy, delicious, economical and lasts me all week.”
 
MASTERCHEF is produced by Shine America and One Potato Two Potato and is based on a format created by Franc Roddam and Shine. Shine International handles distribution for the MASTERCHEF format. Elisabeth Murdoch, Eden Gaha, Robin Ashbrook, Gordon Ramsay, Adeline Ramage Rooney, Patricia Llewellyn and Ben Adler serve as executive producers. 
 
“Like” MASTERCHEF on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MasterChef. Follow the series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MASTERCHEFonFOX and join the discussion at #masterchef.
 

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