Fox's hit television show featuring celebu-chef Gordon Ramsay, restaurateur and winemaker Joe Bastianich, and Michelin-starred chef Graham Elliot will return for its fifth season in May. The show, which searches for the country's best home cooks, will feature 30 contestants from 14 states competing to win the title of MasterChef, a cookbook deal, and the $250,000 grand prize.
The Season 5 contestants include Phoenix-resident Natanya Spears.
The new season of MasterChef will premiere on Monday, May 26, on Fox. During the first episode, 30 contestants will travel to Los Angeles, where they will present their "signature dishes" to the judging panel. The judges will taste for flavor, creativity, and presentation.
Other challenges throughout include preparing a meal for more than 500 servicemen and women on an Army base, making a three-course meal for a summer wedding, and taking over a legendary Hollywood restaurant.
Spears, 37, is the only contestant from Arizona and works as a construction coordinator. The show held a casting call at the Embassy Suites Biltmore in Phoenix last September. Other contestants hail from Alabama, California, Florida, Idaho, Texas, Ohio, New York, and Louisiana.
You can view the complete contestant list on the next page.
For more information check out the MasterChef Facebook page.
Alabama Birmingham, Elise Mayfield, e-learning administrator
Arizona Phoenix, Natanya Spears, construction coordinator
California Irvine, Gordon Houston, law student graduate Los Angeles, Daniel McGuffey, video game designer Malibu, Leslie Gilliams, stay-at-home dad Palo Alto, Ahran Cho, high school student Tarzana, Amy Pezeshkifar, graduate student Yorba Linda, Ruth Schreber Sanchez, stay-at-home mom
Florida Orlando, Francis Biondi, server
Idaho Star, Chandis Siwek, dietician intern
Illinois Chicago, Rickie Perez, food truck manager
Kentucky Lexington, Dan Wu, unemployed Pikeville, Corey Charles, winery manager
Louisiana Mandeville, Astrid Lavenia, food sales New Orleans, Christian Green, sales representative Thibidaux, Michael Williams, student
Michigan Detroit, Stephani Syfax-Shepherd, server
New York Brooklyn, Elizabeth Cauvel, advertising executive New York City, Francis Legge, music video director Queens, Jaimee Vitolo, bakery assistant Yonkers, Christine Silverstein, investment director
Ohio Columbus, Whitney Bray, call center representative Wilmington, Tyler Viars, hunting sales manager Youngstown, Kira Novak, medical recruiter
Pennsylvania Meadville, Gavin Edmondson, admissions counselor Philadelphia, Courtney Lapresi, aerial dancer
Texas Beaumont, Cutter Brewer, petroleum landman Houston, Willie Mike, church music director San Angelo, Victoria Scroggins, bartender
Wisconsin Muskego, Jordan Kaminski, college student
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.