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[06/11/12 - 10:02 PM]
Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot Announce the "MasterChef" Top 18 Finalists
Only one finalist will be crowned the winner and walk away with a cookbook deal and the $250,000 grand prize.

[via press release from FOX]

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 Tomorrow, June 12, on FOX

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 tomorrow, Tuesday, June 12 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), on FOX 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.

On Monday, June 18 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), 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: www.twitter.com/MC3Stacey www.facebook.com/MC3Stacey
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Monti www.facebook.com/MC3Monti
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Michael www.facebook.com/MC3Michael
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Tali www.facebook.com/MC3Tali
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Samantha www.facebook.com/MC3Samantha
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Felix www.facebook.com/MC3Felix
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Christine www.facebook.com/MC3Christine
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Mike www.facebook.com/MC3Mike
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Helene www.facebook.com/MC3Helene
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Scott www.facebook.com/MC3Scott
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Dave www.facebook.com/MC3Dave
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Josh www.facebook.com/MC3Josh
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: www.twitter.com/MC3David www.facebook.com/MC3David
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Frank www.facebook.com/MC3Frank
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Tanya www.facebook.com/MC3Tanya
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Becky www.facebook.com/MC3Becky
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Anna www.facebook.com/MC3Anna
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: www.twitter.com/MC3Ryan www.facebook.com/MC3Ryan
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.

About Shine America:

Shine America is a world leader in producing and distributing compelling scripted and unscripted television and digital content, building brands through the leveraging of its intellectual property and creating integrated marketing opportunities for advertisers. Shine America is known for popular and award-winning original series including "The Biggest Loser," "Tabatha Takes Over," "Shear Genius" and "The Buried Life"; adaptations of Shine Group formats MASTERCHEF, "One Born Every Minute" and "Parental Control"; long-running scripted hits "The Office," "Ugly Betty" and "The Tudors"; and over 20 groundbreaking original online series on MSN, Yahoo!, YouTube premium channels and other platforms, many of these produced in partnership with global brands such as Toyota, Kraft Foods, Subway and Microsoft. Through its distribution arm, Shine International, Shine America distributes its extensive library of programming and formats to more than 150 countries.

About One Potato Two Potato:

One Potato Two Potato was co-founded by Gordon Ramsay and Optomen Television in 2008 to exclusively create and produce worldwide content for Ramsay ventures across all media including television, digital and publishing. Renowned for award-winning original programming, the company produces high-quality TV shows on both sides of the Atlantic, including HOTEL HELL making its debut late summer 2012 and the smash hit MASTERCHEF, both for FOX, as well as "Gordon Ramsay Behind Bars" and "Gordon's Great Escape" for Channel 4 in the U.K. and "My Kitchen," for UKTV's Good Food Channel. Ramsay's groundbreaking and hugely popular Channel 4 series, "Cookalong Live," aired as a special on FOX and has since become a successful format around the world. OPTP is also currently in development on several exciting unscripted and scripted projects, within and beyond the food genre, for network, cable and digital platforms in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. OPTP distributes its hugely popular TV programming and formats to more than 200 territories via Optomen International. The company became part of the All3Media group in 2010. Find out more about One Potato Two Potato at www.onepotatotwopotato.tv.





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