MasterChef Episode Recaps

Auditions #1

Auditions #1

Aired: 6/4/12

Thousands of home cooks from all walks of life have traveled from around the country for the chance to become America's next MasterChef. They are bartenders, pilots, doctors, stay-at-home moms, students, stockbrokers, and more, all coming together because they share a passion for food. Only a few will be chosen to work with three of the best chefs in the business - Chefs Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, and Joe Bastianich. Those who make it will face the toughest challenges in the series' history. In the end, only one will be crowned America's next MasterChef.

In the first round, 100 home cooks get the chance to present their best dish - one that could change their lives forever. Just a few will win an apron and earn a spot in the next round. The crowd goes wild when Gordon Ramsay, Graham, and Joe enter the room. Chef Ramsay encourages the contestants to feel very proud that they have successfully made it to the finals, when thousands of others have tried and failed. Then he asks them, "Do you have what it takes to make it to the top?"

Joe announces that someone standing in this room will earn $250,000. Graham warns them that although cooking is not the quickest way to fame and fortune, the winner will be awarded his or her own cookbook featuring their own personal recipes. Then Gordon unlocks the box containing the "MasterChef" trophy saying, "This is the key to the reality of your dreams."

With that, the 100 cooks begin to prepare the food they hope will start them on the journey to becoming the next MasterChef. They have one hour to create a signature dish worthy of an apron and a spot in Round 2 of the competition.

First up is 19-year-old Michael, a college freshmen from Austin, Texas, who believes that his appetite to win makes him a real contender. His parents are not supportive of his pursuit of being a chef, so he's trying to prove them wrong. He presents Chinese dumplings with scallion salad. Gordon says, "They're phenomenal." Joe and Graham agree, and Michael gets the first "MasterChef" apron of the season and one of Gordon's "most confidant yeses ever." Joe tells him that if the rest of his cooking and technique is as good, he'll win the whole thing.

While Michael's food is first-class, the next group of chefs have dishes in a class all of their own. These five cooks are sent home without aprons, after failing to impress the judges.

Next up to the judges' table is Monte Carlo, an unemployed, single mom from Los Angeles with a son named Danger; she's hoping for an opportunity to start over. She makes them a Puerto Rican shepherd's pie and twice-fried green plantains. Although she runs out of time and does not complete the sauce she wanted to serve with the dish, Graham tells her, "It's a little sweet, but pretty delicious." The judges are divided, but she gets through on a two-to-one vote.

New Jersey high school student Samantha has been cooking since she was ten years old. Now at age 18 she hopes to impress the judges with her mini quadruple-layered carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. The judges love her dessert but are unsure if a young woman can handle the stiff competition. Ultimately, Gordon tells her to come back next year because he doesn't think she's ready. While Samantha's dreams are put on hold, the three chefs following her walk away with "MasterChef" aprons.

Next up is 26-year-old Ryan, who learned about food while living in Manhattan and dining at fancy restaurants, only to realize he could do it better at home. He now presents his red wine pressure-cooked short ribs. Gordon says no. Grahams says yes. Joe breaks the tie, putting his trust in Ryan and giving him an apron.

A group of unique home cooks follow. One has a fake accent, the second is a former cheerleader, another interviews serial killers, and the last does impressions. All of them are sent packing.

Josh, a 24-year-old basketball player from Mississippi, has moved from shooting hoops to cooking. He hopes to win at the judges' table with his shrimp etouffee. Gordon tells him, "You cook like a pro." Graham calls his dish a "slam dunk," and Josh moves on to the next round.

Shami comes to "MasterChef" from Seattle, but her cooking is grounded in her African roots. She prepares a traditional dish from Zimbabwe called sadza. Despite the passion they sense in her cooking, the judges decide she is not "MasterChef" material.

With several more chefs earning aprons, the total of cooks moving forward reaches 11. The next contestant up hopes to make it an even dozen. Audrey from Texas serves cake with fondant caricatures of each of the judges as toppers. Though the desserts collapse, Joe says, "It's the best thing we've eaten today," and she moves on.

Christine, a graduate student from Houston is the last chef to present her dish on Day 1 - and the first-ever blind contestant to audition for the show. She serves Vietnamese catfish, but she does not plate her rice because she was not satisfied with it. She brings the judges to tears with her heart and resilience. Joe tells her, "Your eyes beam with pride and happiness, and you have a lot to be proud if." Christine is awarded the last apron of the day.

Below are the hometowns, names and professions of the top home cooks who were flown to Los Angeles to compete on MASTERCHEF:

Adam Camacho
Fall River, MA - Mechanical Engineer

AJ Rossi
Boston, MA - Director of Sales

Al Matousek
Levittown, NY - Teaching Assistant

Aleithea Ellis
Chicago, IL - Student

Alessio Vella
Long Beach, NY - Sales Manager

Alysha Augustus
Savannah, GA - Homemaker

Arnaud Bourgeois
Woodbury, CT - Pilot

Amy Holmwood
Bethesda, MD - President of Life Insurance Company

Andrew Rosenthal
West Palm Beach, FL - Plastic Surgeon

Anis Jabbes
Mesa, AZ - Server

Anna Rossi
Boston, MA - Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

Audrey McGinnis
Frisco, TX - Homemaker

Barry Plunkett
Westminster, CO - Software Sales Executive

Becky Reams
Stillwell, KS - Food Photographer

Bobby Manheim
Rowell, GA - Primate Therapy for Special Needs Children

Brian Kho
Royal Oak, MI - Business Student

Bubba Strickland
Blackshear, GA - Singer

Carrie Portman
Hidden Hills, CA - Senior Real Estate Account Executive

Charles Vidales
Miami, FL - Interior Designer

Cheryl Manzi
Cranston, RI - Admissions Representative

Christine Ha
Houston, TX - Graduate Student

Courtney Carey
Harlem, NY - Professional Opera Singer

Craig Victor
Santa Monica, CA - Call Center Assistant

David Mack
Davie, FL - Caviar Sales Director

David Martinez
Glencoe, IL - Educational Administrator

Derek Distin
Sun Prairie, WI - Medical Device Sales Representative

Dolores Royale
Miami, FL - Real Estate Investor

Dwayne Slate
Page, AZ - Reposession Agent

Elisa Veal
Chicago, IL - Administrative Assistant

Elizabeth Etzel
Baltimore, MD - Real Estate Agent

Felix Fang
Hollywood, CA - Food Runner

Frank Mirando
Holtsville, NY - Stockbroker

Gabe Fowler
Earlville, NY - Journalism Student

Greg Tomaras
Chicago, IL - Field Service Engineer

Gregg McDonnell
Bakersfield, CA - IT Manager

Heber Dunaway
New Orleans, LA - Music Teacher

Helene Leeds
Baldwin, MD - Health Coach

Hollie Schoppman
Page, AZ - Convenience Store Owner

Jaeger Stoltz
Seattle, WA - Hair Stylist

James Lee
Ada, MI - Retired Police Officer

Jason Clouse
Scottsdale, AZ - Contractor

Jason Maur
Monroe, CT - Attorney

Jack Hazan
Brooklyn, NY - Children's Wear Assistant

Jeff Cohen
Laguna Niguel, CA - Wealth Manager

Jessica Glenn
Portland, OR - Book Publicist

Jessika Morgan
Manahawkin, NJ - Nutrition Sales

Joe Maiellano
Arlington, VA - Political Consultant

Joel Ringrose
Miramar, FL - U.S. Army Station Commander

Jordan Fein
Miami, FL - Credit Services Director

Joshua Marks
Jackson, MS - Contract Specialist for U.S. Army

Josue del Castillo-Rios
Clackamas, OR - On-Air Radio Personality

Julie Mitterando
Cohasset, MA - Emergency Physician

Justin Weiss
Brentwood, CA - Business Analyst

Kaimana Chee
Silver Spring, MD - Director of IT Training

Kate D'Hondt
Palm Beach Gardens, FL - Bartender

Kelly Ryan
Studio City, CA - Professional Speaker

Kim Maloof
Katonah, NY - Homemaker

Krystal Mandap
Cincinnati, OH - Food Sales Representative

Ladda Cooper
Aventura, FL - Restaurant Co-Owner

Larry Hing
San Francisco, CA - Lawyer

Laura Frederick
Page, AZ - Retired Teacher

Lindsay Tarquinio
Marietta, GA - Non-Profit Co-Founder

Luca Manfe
Astoria, NY - Restaurant Manager

Matthew Duffy
Arlington, VA - IT Manager

Melanie Lowry
Encino, CA - Account Executive

Michael Chen
Austin, TX - Meteorology Student

Michael Petroff
Woodside, NY - School Aide

Michelle Gollot
Biloxi, MS - Food Services Sales Consultant

Mike Hill
Powder Springs, GA - Contractor

Monti Carlo
Los Angeles, CA - Homemaker

Nandini Anant
West Orange, NJ - Homemaker

Nichelle Wright
New York, NY - Dancer

Nicholas Smith
Page, AZ - Marine Mechanic

Patti Negri
Los Angeles, CA - Witch

Penny Suzuki
Deerfield Beach, FL - Firefighter and Paramedic

Pete Nevers
Nantucket, MA - Carpenter

Preethy Kaibara
Phoenix, AZ - Family Physician and Attorney

Raiza Costa
Brooklyn, NY - Artist

Rami Rassas
Dallas, TX - Used Car Salesman

Regan Forston
Northridge, CA - Ventriloquist

Renne Berthiaume
Page, AZ - Office Manager

Ryan Umane
New York, NY - Unemployed

Samantha de Silva
Miami, FL - Design Consultant

Samantha McNulty
Florham Park, NJ - High School Student

Scott Little
Annandale, VA - Interactive Producer

Shami Marangwanda
Kirkland, WA - Recruiter

Sherine Taylor
Windsor Mill, MD - Benefits Counselor

Sonya Welch
Jacksonville, FL - Administrative Assistant

Stacey Amagrande
Apple Valley, CA - Farmer's Market Manager

Tali Clavijo
Chicago, IL - Musician

Tanya Noble
Austin, TX - Student

Taylor Wilder
Corona, CA - Sales Associate

Thomas Wright
Boynton Beach, FL - Criminal Lawyer

Tianna Wood
Newwark, DE - Inventory Control Specialist

Trevor Janus
Los Angeles, CA - Composer

Vanessa Larsen
Cluco, CA - Hair Stylist

Victoria Redstall
Studio City, CA - Author

Vladimir Djurkovic
Chicago, IL - Assistant Manager

Zelick Gimelstein
Miami, FL - Design Consultant

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