Masterchef Preview: Meet The Top 14

By Kelly West 4 years ago discussion comments
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If you watched Masterchef last night on Fox then you saw that the Top 30 was whittled down to 14 aspiring chefs. We have a video and some details on the remaining contestants for you to check out.

Before we get to that, just a reminder that starting next week Masterchef will air on Wednesday nights. In case you missed the first couple of episodes, Masterchef follows a group of people who love to cook (but don't do it professionally in any capacity) as they compete against one another. Below is the featurette showcasing the fourteen contestants who will move on in the competition and further down is some background information on them.



Below are the Top 14 home cooks on MASTERCHEF: Sheetal Bhagat
Age: 37
Occupation: Teacher
Hometown: Chicago, IL

Cooking inspiration: My mom had the biggest influence on me. Everything she made used fresh ingredients; there was nothing canned or processed. I have carried her philosophy of healthy eating using only pure fresh ingredients into my cooking today.

Tony Carbone
Age: 31
Occupation: Server
Hometown: Boston, MA

Cooking inspiration: My mother and grandmother. They spoiled me with great food growing up, so I knew that when I got older if I wanted to keep eating as good as I did growing up, then I'd need to learn to cook like them.

Jake Gandolfo
Age: 38
Occupation: Construction Worker
Hometown: Santa Cruz, CA

Cooking inspiration: My mother and Julia Child. Some of my earliest memories are of standing on a stool and canning vegetables from the family garden with my mom while watching “The French Chef” on television.

Sharone Hakman
Age: 28
Occupation: Financial Advisor
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Cooking inspiration: I’d have to say I inspired myself. When I was a kid, my mother was not part of our lives, and my dad was always working to support us. When my grandma wasn’t around, I had to go into our fridge and make something out of nothing. I taught myself how to create dishes at a very young age. This “survival” mode was how I started out, but cooking then became a creative outlet that I haven’t been able to stop since.

Jenna Hamiter
Age: 23
Occupation: Homemaker
Hometown: Euless, TX

Cooking inspiration: My 85-year-old grandmother, who is a successful homemaker with nine children and 25 grandchildren. She’s has always been the gracious hostess, turning out spectacular desserts and parties for decades. I am thankful and privileged to still enjoy moments with her in the kitchen.

Kim Dung “Slim” Huynh
Age: 22
Occupation: Student
Hometown: Harvey, LA

Cooking inspiration: My mom. As a child, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen trying to see over the stove to find out what she was cooking.

Faruq Jenkins
Age: 30
Occupation: Bartender
Hometown: Glendale, CA

Cooking inspiration: My mother and grandmother. My fondest memories of the holidays are staying up late and waking up early to help cook. The time I was able to spend with them in the kitchen was priceless.

Mike Kim
Age: 34
Occupation: Server
Hometown: Redondo Beach, CA

Cooking inspiration: While my parents were instrumental in inspiring me to cook, fishing also played an important role. I started deep-sea fishing when I moved to California, and as I encountered a plethora of the freshest fish imaginable – from Yellowtail to Pacific Sheepshead and more – my understanding, passion and inspiration for cooking reached a whole new level.

Lee Knaz
Age: 27
Occupation: Bartender
Hometown: Venice, CA

Cooking inspiration: I grew up in a family of non-cooks, but growing up in Israel I would watch hours of cooking shows. My first memories are of satellite-broadcasted French channels that would air cooking shows with Joël Robuchon and Jacques Pépin. I didn’t understand a word they were saying, but I was completely fascinated by them.

David Miller
Age: 29
Occupation: Software Engineer
Hometown: Newton Centre, MA

Cooking inspiration: My mother. I always loved helping her in the kitchen – whether it was doing prep work, making gravy or doing dishes. As a teenager, I was vegetarian, and my mom accommodated that – she loves making people happy through food.

Whitney Miller
Age: 22
Occupation: Student
Hometown: Poplarville, MS

Cooking inspiration: My great-grandmother. My family would eat lunch at her house every Sunday when I was younger. I spent hours watching her make homemade biscuits, seafood gumbo, lemon meringue pies and countless other Southern favorites.

Tracy Nailor
Age: 42
Occupation: Doctor
Currently Resides: Atlanta, GA

Cooking inspiration: My mother is the person who taught me the fundamentals of cooking. When I create a dish or prepare a family favorite, I am carrying on her legacy and honoring her memory by doing something she loved. I am grateful we were able to share that time.

Avis White
Age: 47
Occupation: Elderly Caregiver
Currently Resides: Vacherie, LA

Cooking Inspiration: My grandmother always instilled in me the importance of family. She also felt it was important that I knew how to cook, clean, pay bills, and take care of myself at a young age. The one thing she wanted me to be really good at was cooking and baking, so she spent countless hours teaching me how to do just that. I am so grateful for those life lessons because it has made me the great cook that I am.

Sheena Zadeh
Age: 26
Occupation: Marketing Executive
Hometown: Anaheim, CA

Cooking Inspiration: My first urge to cook came from watching cooking shows on television, but I was truly inspired to cook when I saw the smile on my dad's face the first time I put dinner on the table for my family.

Additionally, recipes inspired by the MASTERCHEF Top 14 will be featured in the upcoming “MasterChef Cookbook” published by Rodale Books, set to be released on September 1. For more information, please visit www.fox.com/masterchef.


Masterchef will return on its new night and time on Wednesday, Aug. 18 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on Fox.
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