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[06/14/11 - 09:01 PM]
Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot Announce the "Masterchef" Top 18
Only one finalist will be crowned the winner and walk away with the $250,000 grand prize.

[via press release from FOX]

GORDON RAMSAY, JOE BASTIANICH AND GRAHAM ELLIOT ANNOUNCE THE "MASTERCHEF" TOP 18

Lawyer, Truck Driver, Musician, Salesman, Architect and Neural Engineer Among Finalists

Competition Continues Monday, June 20, on FOX

After scouring the nation for the best amateur cooks in the nation, the judges of MASTERCHEF have chosen this season's Top 18 finalists: Jennifer Behm, Erryn Cobb, Christian Collins, Christine Corley, Esther Kang, Jennie Kelley, Tracy Kontos, Max Kramer, Angel Moore-Soukkay, Giuseppe Morisco, Adrien Nieto, Derrick Prince, Mark Raffaelli, Alejandra Schrader, Alvin Schultz, Anthony Scruggs, Suzy Singh and Ben Starr. Only one finalist will be crowned the MASTERCHEF winner and walk away with the $250,000 grand prize.

The competition continues next week as the Top 18 enter the MASTERCHEF kitchen for the first time, Monday, June 20 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX, and compete in the first challenge. The contestants have one hour to prepare a dish using only the surprise ingredients contained in the mystery box, and the winner of this challenge gets to pick the ingredient that everyone else must cook with for the elimination challenge.

On Tuesday, June 21 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT), the judges split the contestants into two teams and take them to a downtown Los Angeles cafeteria to cook for hundreds of people, where each team must cook a five-course meal. Elimination is on the line as the losing team is forced to complete a pressure test where one contestant will be sent home.

Below are the MASTERCHEF Top 18:

Jennifer Behm
Age: 34
Occupation: Realtor
Hometown: Wilmington, DE
First Dish She Mastered: "Grilled Cheese. I love making them with all sorts of yummy ingredients such as avocados, tomatoes, prosciutto, mushrooms, shrimp and so much more!"

Erryn Cobb
Age: 26
Occupation: Public Relations
Hometown: Chicago, IL
First Dish He Mastered: "My Mustard-Marinated Grilled Chicken. The chicken became the main event at all the post-football barbeques in college. We would have all of our teammates over, and as soon as the chicken came off the grill, it was gone!"

Christian Collins
Age: 31
Occupation: Stay-at-Home Dad
Hometown: Gloucester, MA
First Dish He Mastered: "Braised Short Ribs. They are a two-day process, but taking this lesser cut of meat and working it into satisfying, savory goodness is gastronomic gratification."

Christine Corley
Age: 27
Occupation: Single Mom
Hometown: Sopchoppy, FL
First Dish She Mastered: "A simple grilled chicken, tomato, garlic, shallot and parmesan cheese pasta dish that I make all in one pan. After making it so many times, I've started adding different ingredients like artichokes, eggplant and spinach - it's delicious!"

Esther Kang
Age: 28
Occupation: Lawyer
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
First Dish She Mastered: "Korean Pancakes. They are a very easy snack that can be made with many different combinations of vegetables and proteins."

Jennie Kelley
Age: 37
Occupation: Musician
Hometown: Dallas, TX
First Dish She Mastered: "A lobster mac-and-cheese with orzo pasta, Gruy�re, Fontina and peas. I have many tricks for this seemingly simple dish, such as using the same water for the lobster and the pasta and undercooking the pasta just slightly."

Tracy Kontos
Age: 32
Occupation: Sales Consultant
Hometown: Coral Springs, FL
First Dish She Mastered: "At age 12, I learned how to make a B�chamel Sauce and started experimenting with cheeses and spices. And now I can confidently say I make the meanest mac-and-cheese this side of the Mississippi."

Max Kramer
Age: 18
Occupation: Student
Hometown: New York, NY
First Dish He Mastered: "Filet Mignon with White Truffle Macaroni."

Angel Moore-Soukkay
Age: 37
Occupation: Property Manager
Hometown: Columbus, OH
First Dish She Mastered: "I am the master of the egg roll. Getting the technique down was kind of difficult, but practice makes perfect and now I make all different kinds of egg rolls."

Giuseppe Morisco
Age: 38
Occupation: Granite Salesman
Hometown: Chicago, IL
First Dish He Mastered: "Risotto alla Pescatora. My hometown is right on the Adriatic Sea, so every kind of seafood you can imagine was a huge part of the cuisine. For me, there is nothing better than a dish that reminds me of the place where I have so many beautiful memories."

Adrien Nieto
Age: 28
Occupation: Server
Hometown: Ventura, CA
First Dish He Mastered: "Eggs - as many ways as possible. It's hard to beat something that goes beyond the realm of breakfast!"

Derrick Prince
Age: 33
Occupation: Web Designer Currently Resides: Long Island, NY
First Dish He Mastered: "A French omelet - the kind that doesn't require a spatula or flipping utensils. It's all in in the way you flick the pan back and forth to fold that fluffy sheet of eggs over onto itself and cover the filling."

Mark Raffaelli
Age: 35
Occupation: Real Estate Broker Currently Resides: Chicago, IL
First Dish He Mastered: "A boneless chicken breast stuffed with ricotta, spinach, pancetta and shallots topped with a mushroom Barolo sauce. It's to die for!"

Alejandra Schrader
Age: 37
Occupation: Architect
Hometown: Playa del Rey, CA
First Dish She Mastered: "Hallacas, a Venezuelan staple for the holiday season that is similar to tamales. My specialty is spiced chicken and pork with chayote, peppers and root vegetables."

Alvin Schultz
Age: 28
Occupation: Retail Manager
Hometown: Houston, TX
First Dish He Mastered: "My mom's Vietnamese Egg Rolls. There's so much technique involved in making the perfect egg roll, and I'm happy to say that friends and family can't tell which are mine and which are my mom's!"

Tony Scruggs
Age: 51
Occupation: Truck Driver
Hometown: Grant Park, IL
First Dish He Mastered: "Eggs. My mom always let me cook when I was young, and they were a cheap way to keep me both busy and fed!"

Suzy Singh
Age: 27
Occupation: Neural Engineer
Hometown: Chicago, IL
First Dish She Mastered: "Applesauce. It's a tradition in my family. My aunts chopped and peeled the apples, my uncles tended the pot and I would stand on my stepstool and taste the mixture to make sure we had it just right."

Ben Starr
Age: 33
Occupation: Travel Writer
Hometown: Dallas, TX
First Dish He Mastered: "Buttermilk Biscuits. My mom believed that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, so we would have scrambled eggs, sausage and buttermilk biscuits every single morning."

MASTERCHEF is produced by Reveille 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, Howard T. Owens, Robin Ashbrook, Gordon Ramsay, Adeline Ramage Rooney, Pat Llewellyn, Ben Adler and Liz Cook serve as executive producers. Become a fan of the series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/masterchef and follow the series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/masterchefonfox (@masterchefonfox).





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