‘MASTERCHEF’ Returns May 31st for Eight Season

Host and award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay, world-renowned pastry chef Christina Tosi and James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur Aarón Sánchez welcome 40 of the nation’s best home cooks to the MASTERCHEF kitchen on the Season Eight premiere of MASTERCHEF, airing Wednesday, May 31 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

In the season premiere, the Top 40 travel to Los Angeles to compete in the Battle for a White Apron challenge, during which only 20 will move forward in the contest for the MASTERCHEF title, a cookbook deal and the $250,000 grand prize.

Hopefuls auditioned at MASTERCHEF’s open casting calls in Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Los Angeles, CA; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Oklahoma City, OK; Orlando, FL;  Portland, OR; San Diego, CA;  San Francisco, CA; and Washington D.C. to prove they have the culinary skills to be the next MASTERCHEF.

Only one talented home cook will join MASTERCHEF winners Shaun O’Neale (Season Seven), Claudia Sandoval (Season Six), Courtney Lapresi (Season Five); Luca Manfe (Season Four); Christine Ha (Season Three), the first-ever blind contestant; Jennifer Behm (Season Two); and Whitney Miller (Season One) in the elite group of MASTERCHEF titleholders.


This season features 40 contestants from all walks of life, representing 18 states – including a debt collector, dentist, PE teacher, Harvard student, swimsuit model and two ministers – all with the hopes of turning their culinary dreams into reality.

Below are the hometowns, names and professions of the Top 40 Home Cooks who will participate in the MASTERCHEF Battle for a White Apron:

State/Hometown Name Profession


Pacific Beach Lauren Lawless Sales Rep
Redding Brien O’Brien Magazine Ad Sales


    Clearwater Paola Annoni Patel Dentist
    Miami Heather Dombrosky Registered Nurse
    Land O’Lakes Danny Flores Steel Supplier
    Tampa Jeff Philbin Marketing Director 
  Honolulu Paige Jimenez Swimsuit Model
  Pahoa Tom Ward Draftsman


  Chicago Caitlin Meade Nutritionist
  Eboni Henry Addiction Counselor


    Chalmette Jennifer Williams Debt Collector
  New Orleans Janice Scott Tour Guide
  Kelseay Reed Events Planner
  Vacherie Lesci Oubre Phys. Ed. Teacher


  Cambridge Adam Wong Harvard Student
  Medford Daniel Pontes-Macedo Substitute Teacher
  Newton Jason Wang High School Music Teacher
  Springfield David Smith Wedding Singer


  Ann Arbor Julia Huldin Food Truck Promoter
  Detroit Yachecia Holston Minister
New Jersey
  North Arlington Michael Lertchitvikul Former Startup COO

New York

  Bensonhurst Dino Luciano Ignacio Dancer
Brooklyn Mia Rivera Grocery Clerk


  Cincinnati Jenny Cavellier Special Needs Therapist
Josh Cooper Political Consultant


  Oklahoma City Gabriel Lewis Fast Food Server
Ty Hamilton Model


  Myrtle Beach Shasta Dring Bartender
Portland Mark Togni Stay-at-home Dad


Pittsburgh Caitlin Jones Dancer

Puerto Rico 

Carolina Nilka Barbosa Human Resources



South Carolina
  Newberry Necco Ceresani Marketing Manager


  Austin Taylor Waltmon Digital Marketer
Carthage Reba Billingsley Stay-at-home Mom
Lipan Mike Newton Ranch Owner


  Alexandria Aakash Trivedi Client Manager


    Yakima    Shawn Niles     Pastor

Washington, D.C.

  Angel Anderson Spice Store Owner
  Jessica Heath Former Model
  Sam Reiff-Pasarew Creative Writing Teacher