Drummer, High School Teacher, Petroleum Landman, Fashion Stylist and Social Worker among Finalists Competition Continues Wednesday, May 27, on FOX

Tonight on the Season Six premiere of MASTERCHEF, 40 of the best home cooks in America travelled to Los Angeles to present their signature dishes to the distinguished judging panel: Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and new judge Christina Tosi. Following a powerful series of head-to-head battles to earn a coveted white apron, the judges announced which hopefuls would advance in the competition. The MASTERCHEF Season Six Top Finalists are: Justin Banister, Darah Carattini, Charlie Chapman, Veronica Cili, Dan Collado, Olivia Crouppen, Shelly Flash, Katrina Kozar, Stephen Lee, Christopher Lu, Mateo McConnell, Nick Nappi, Derrick Peltz, Kerry Prince, Jesse Romero, Amanda Saab, Claudia Sandoval, Hetal Vasavada, Ailsa Von Dobeneck, Tommy Walton, Brianna Watson and Sara Zacek.

The competition continues on Wednesday, May 27 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX, as the Top Finalists face their first mystery box challenge of the season. Each contestant is shocked to find 20 very familiar ingredients that they left behind in their own home kitchens. They are each asked to prepare a phenomenal dish worthy of serving the judges in the MASTERCHEF kitchen. The winner of the Mystery Box Challenge will receive a significant advantage in the season’s first elimination test, during which contestants must make their versions of an apple pie. At the end of the episode, the MASTERCHEF journey will end for two home cooks.

Watch/share a first look at the Top 22 Finalists: https://youtu.be/bCWgSrSTNL4

Below are the Top 22 Finalists and the signature dish that earned them a MASTERCHEF apron:

JUSTIN BANISTER                          Age: 18       

Hometown: New Caney, TX            Occupation: High School Student  

Signature Dish: Potato Gnocchi with Goat Cheese, Marinara and Basil Pesto

DARAH CARATTINI                        Age: 30         

Hometown: Irvine, CA                   Occupation: Amusement Park Guide

Signature Dish: Seaside Sonata

CHARLIE CHAPMAN                       Age: 25

Hometown: New Orleans, LA         Occupation: HVAC Technician

Signature Dish: Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce


VERONICA CILI                               Age: 58     

Hometown: Key West, FL               Occupation: Beauty Consultant   

Signature Dish: Pear and Fig Custard Pie

DAN COLLADO                                Age: 29

Hometown: Chicago, IL                   Occupation: Engineer/Model  

Signature Dish: Rosemary-Romano Veal Rib Chop

OLIVIA CROUPPEN                          Age: 25   

Hometown: Thousand Oaks, CA       Occupation: Fashion Stylist      

Signature Dish: Ahi Tartare with Basil Lemongrass Aioli and Pickled Cucumber, Green Mango and Radish

SHELLY FLASH                              Age: 32     

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY                Occupation: Kitchen Assistant

Signature Dish: Escovitch Chicken with Mashed Sweet Plantains

KATRINA KOZAR                              Age: 34    

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI               Occupation: Administrative Assistant

Signature Dish: Pan-Seared Salmon with Penang Curry Sauce and Peas with Jasmine Rice

STEPHEN LEE                                Age: 47     

Hometown: Palm Springs, CA        Occupation: Urban Gardener

Signature Dish: Pork Tenderloin and Couscous with Vegetables

CHRISTOPHER LU                         Age: 30      

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA         Occupation: Restaurant Manager    

Signature Dish: Chicken Scaloppini with Strawberry Balsamic Agrodo

MATEO MCCONNELL                      Age: 38     

Hometown: Atlanta, GA                  Occupation: High School Teacher

Signature Dish: Hanger Steak Tacos on Homemade Corn Tortillas with Salsa Verde

NICK NAPPI                                     Age: 31    

Hometown: San Mateo, CA              Occupation: Dishwasher Sales Rep

Signature Dish: Herb Crusted Lamb Pops with Brown Butter, Sundried Tomato Gnocchi


DERRICK PELTZ                             Age: 28     

Hometown: Fort Myers, FL            Occupation: Drummer

Signature Dish: Pistachio Crusted Lamb Lollipops

KERRY PRINCE                               Age: 37     

Hometown: Greensboro, NC           Occupation: Human Resources Rep  

Signature Dish: Fried Catfish Tacos with Pickled Slaw, Avocado Crema and Sweet Spicy Salsa

JESSE ROMERO                             Age: 29

Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA          Occupation: Petroleum Landman

Signature Dish: Fried Soft-Shell Crab with Andouille Corn Maque Choux and Bourbon Cream Sauce

AMANDA SAAB                               Age: 25

Hometown: Seattle, WA                  Occupation: Social Worker

Signature Dish: Lamb Kefta with Sumac Aioli and Jalapeno Dusted Potatoes

CLAUDIA SANDOVAL                        Age: 31

Hometown: La Mesa, CA                   Occupation: Events Manager

Signature Dish: Camarones Barbones Al Mojo de Ajo over Mexican White Rice

HETAL VASAVADA                           Age: 27   

Hometown: Bloomfield, NJ                Occupation: Start-Up Developer

Signature Dish: Puff pastry, Caramel Apple Dessert with Cardamom Whipped Cream

AILSA VON DOBENECK                    Age: 28   

Hometown: Norfolk, VA                      Occupation: Assistant Railroad Manager

Signature Dish: Bobotie

TOMMY WALTON                               Age: 53

Hometown: Chicago, IL                      Occupation: Fashion Designer

Signature Dish: Ballotine of Pork Tenderloin

BRIANNA WATSON                              Age: 24

Hometown: Worcester, MA                   Occupation: Hairstylist 

Signature Dish: Grilled Delmonico Steak Over Garlic and Butter couscous with Rustic Artichoke and Broccolini Pesto

SARA ZACEK                                          Age: 29         

Hometown: Bailey’s Harbor, WI              Occupation: Mobile Home Park Manager

Signature Dish: Blueberry Crostada

Later this season, the hopefuls visit an amusement park to create amusement park-themed meals; cook for Las Vegas jugglers, magicians and dancers; visit a cattle ranch to prepare meals for ranchers and cowboys; and face the infamous restaurant takeover. With each new challenge, the pressure will mount as the home cooks compete for the coveted title of MASTERCHEF, a cookbook deal and the $250,000 grand prize. MASTERCHEF will also reach a milestone this season, celebrating its 100th episode of the series.

MASTERCHEF is produced by Endemol Shine North America and One Potato Two Potato, and is based on a format created by Franc Roddam and Endemol Shine. 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 @MASTERCHEFonFOX and join the discussion with #masterchef. Follow the judges on Twitter: Gordon Ramsay - @gordonramsay; Graham Elliot - @grahamelliot; Christina Tosi - @christinatosi.

About One Potato Two Potato

Renowned for award-winning original programming, One Potato Two Potato produces high-quality TV shows on both sides of the Atlantic, including the smash-hit HOTEL HELL, the blockbuster MASTERCHEF and irresistible spin-off MASTERCHEF JUNIOR, all for FOX; new cable food series, “Best New Restaurant,” which premiered in January and competition series “Food Court Wars.” In the U.K., “Gordon Ramsay Behind Bars” and “Gordon Ramsay’s Great Escape,” for Channel 4; food biography and nostalgia series “My Kitchen,” for UKTV’s Good Food Channel; and “Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch,” starring Tilly Ramsay for U.K. children’s channel CBBC. OPTP has also produced two instructional cookery series featuring Gordon Ramsay, “Ultimate Home Cooking” and “Ultimate Cookery Course,” both of which have sold all over the globe. 


About Endemol Shine North America

Endemol Shine North America delivers world-class content and compelling storytelling to multiple platforms in the U.S. and across the globe. Endemol Shine North America is part of Endemol Shine Group, the newly launched global content creator, producer and distributor with a diverse portfolio of companies in the U.S. that are behind some of the most prominent hit television formats and series in the world. Its Endemol Shine Latino division oversees all Spanish-language sales and development in both the U.S. and Mexico. And subsidiary production companies include Authentic Entertainment, Original Media, True Entertainment and 51 Minds Entertainment. In addition, Endemol Shine North America has a strategic partnership with Ryan Seacrest Productions.

Endemol Shine Group’s companies in North America are behind hit series, including “Below Deck” (Bravo), “Big Brother” (CBS), “The Biggest Loser” (NBC), BULLSEYE (FOX), “Fake Off (TruTV), “Hell on Wheels” (AMC), “Ink Master” (Spike), “It Takes a Church” (GSN), “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” (E!), “Kingdom” (DirecTV), “Knife Fight” (Esquire),  MASTERCHEF (FOX), MASTERCHEF JUNIOR (FOX), “Restaurant Startup” (CNBC), “Swamp People” (History), “The Island” (NBC), “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” (Bravo), “Steve Harvey” (NBCU),”T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle” (VH1), “Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge” (CMT), “Wipeout” (ABC) and many more. 

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For episodic photos and more information on MASTERCHEF, please visit http://www.foxflash.com/div.php/main/page?aID=1z2z2z308.]