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[09/13/10 - 11:58 AM]
A Teacher, a Student, a Software Engineer and a Bartender Are the "Masterchef" Top 4 Finalists
FOX details the Wednesday, September 15 finale of its summer series.

[via press release from FOX]

A TEACHER, A STUDENT, A SOFTWARE ENGINEER AND A BARTENDER ARE THE "MASTERCHEF" TOP 4 FINALISTS

Home Cooks Sheetal Bhagat, Lee Knaz, David Miller and Whitney Miller Vie for Title on Final Showdown Wednesday, September 15, on FOX

Sheetal Bhagat from Chicago, IL; Lee Knaz from Venice, CA; David Miller from Newton Centre, MA; and Whitney Miller from Poplarville, MS, are the MASTERCHEF Top 4 finalists. On Wednesday, Sept. 15 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), these home cooks will go head-to-head one last time as judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot determine which hopeful truly has the passion and potential to transform his or her culinary dreams into reality.

On the two-hour season finale, the remaining Top Four chefs compete in the first challenge and the judges waste no time eliminating two home cooks. Then, the final two are challenged to prepare a delicious three-course meal. With their family members cheering them on, they must use all of their culinary skills to create a mouth-watering appetizer, a delicious main course and a fabulous dessert. Only the strongest competitor will embark on a life-changing journey - earning the title of MASTERCHEF, winning the $250,000 grand prize and publishing his or her own cookbook.

The Top 4 finalists reveal their favorite MASTERCHEF moments and what they learned from the show:

Sheetal Bhagat
Age: 37
Occupation: Teacher
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Mystery Box Challenges Won: 1
Invention Tests Won: 0
Field Challenges Won: 3

Favorite MASTERCHEF moment: "If I had to choose, it-d be during the fishing challenge when we were waiting to present our dishes to the three food critics. Back in the kitchen, Gordon, Joe and Graham started sharing stories about their own experience with food critics and tales about opening their own restaurants. I felt so connected to them at that moment, and it was great to see that side of them and hear their experiences they-ve had in the culinary world."

What she learned from the show: "The thing that stands out most was when we had to handle, cook and take apart a crab. I didn-t even know where to begin, and I had a big fear of failure, but I overcame that fear and it was one of the biggest hurdles I had to conquer while I was there, but I-m so glad that I was able to do it."

Lee Knaz
Age: 27
Occupation: Bartender
Hometown: Venice, CA
Mystery Box Challenges Won: 1
Invention Tests Won: 1
Field Challenges Won: 1

Favorite MASTERCHEF moment: "My favorite MASTERCHEF moment would have to be winning the romance challenge when I cooked the beef tenderloin with port-plum reduction sauce. It was such an exciting and proud moment, and I thought it elevated me to the level where I was considered to be a frontrunner in the competition. After having only one year of cooking experience, to be getting recognition from three culinary greats - Gordon, Joe and Graham - was just amazing."

What he learned from the show: "The main thing I learned on the show was how to work under pressure and be able to perform and think on my feet while improvising all at the same time - it-s totally different than cooking in my own kitchen. I was in a professional environment and cooking for the judges who all have amazing culinary backgrounds. It gave me the confidence in my abilities as a chef and proved to me that I was going in the right direction to follow my culinary dreams."

David Miller
Age: 29
Occupation: Software Engineer
Hometown: Newton Centre, MA
Mystery Box Challenges Won: 0
Invention Tests Won: 0 Field Challenges: 3

Favorite MASTERCHEF moment: "By far my favorite moment was when we did the fishing challenge and were given one hour to complete our dishes and present them to three top food critics. In the end, I won the challenge and received an 11.5 stars out of 12 from the critics. It was such a humbling and an unbelievable experience. I almost can-t even describe it to you now because it still thrills me to this day. It was an amazing moment, and I still can-t contain my excitement."

What he learned from the show: "I learned so much from the show, but the biggest thing I took away is that there is so much talent hiding in people-s kitchens. Being on the show with so many passionate and brilliant people and enduring such an intense competition was just thrilling."

Whitney Miller
Age: 22
Occupation: Student
Hometown: Poplarville, MS
Mystery Box Challenges Won: 1
Invention Tests Won: 1
Field Challenges Won: 1

Favorite MASTERCHEF moment: "My favorite moment was when I won the very first mystery box challenge. Being the youngest competitor in the competition I felt I really had to prove myself to the judges and the other competitors. So, when I won, I felt like I had made my mark on MASTERCHEF and really had a chance to make it far in the competition. It was a super-exciting moment."

What she learned from the show: "I was introduced to a variety of new ingredients that I had never used in any dishes, like gooseberries and passion fruit. That passion fruit really threw me for a loop, and it challenged me to try new things and broadened my horizons. I will certainly continue to incorporate new ingredients throughout my dishes for many years to come."

Recipes inspired by the MASTERCHEF Top 4 are featured in the "MasterChef Cookbook" published by Rodale Books, on stands now. For more information, please visit www.fox.com/masterchef.

MASTERCHEF is produced by Reveille, Shine TV and One Potato Two Potato and is based on format created by Franc Roddam and Shine TV. Shine International handles distribution for the MASTERCHEF format. Elisabeth Murdoch, Franc Roddam, Mark Koops, Howard T. Owens, Robin Ashbrook, Gordon Ramsay, Adeline Ramage Rooney, Pat Llewellyn, JD Roth and Todd Nelson serve as executive producers.





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