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Meet the New MASTERCHEF Contestants; Season 5 Premieres Tonight

Meet the New MASTERCHEF Contestants; Season 5 Premieres Tonight

Host and award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay, restaurateur Joe Bastianich and acclaimed chef Graham Elliot return for Season Five of the culinary smash hit MASTERCHEF, premiering tonight, May 26 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

More hopefuls than ever before auditioned at MASTERCHEF's open casting calls in Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; Houston, TX; Kansas City, MO; Los Angeles, CA; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; and Phoenix, AZ to prove they have what it takes to make a mark on the culinary world. Only one talented home cook will join Season Four winner Luca Manfe; Season Three winner Christine Ha, the first-ever blind contestant; Season Two winner Jennifer Behm; and Season One winner Whitney Miller in the elite group of MASTERCHEF titleholders.

This season will feature 30 contestants representing 14 states from all walks of life - including an advertising executive, a petroleum landman, a stay-at-home-dad, an admissions counselor, a high school student and a church music director - all with the hopes of turning their culinary dreams into reality.

Below are the hometowns, names and professions of the Top 30 Home Cooks who participated in the MASTERCHEF auditions:

State/Hometown

Name

Profession

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

In the premiere episode, 30 of the best home cooks in America will travel to Los Angeles to present their signature dishes to the distinguished judging panel: Ramsay (Gordon Ramsay Steak, Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, Gordon Ramsay BurGR), Bastianich (Del Posto, Osteria Mozza) and Elliot (Graham Elliot Bistro). The judges will taste for flavor, creativity and presentation. In order to earn a coveted white apron and move to the next round, the home cooks must have an immense passion for food and be determined to out-cook their rivals.

Once the Top Finalists are revealed, they will be put through their paces in a series of challenges designed to test their palates, food knowledge, passion and culinary skills. This season, the contestants will work in teams to prepare a hearty meal for more than 500 hungry servicemen and women on an army base, create an unforgettable three-course meal for a summer wedding, visit a local diner to prepare American classics, cook a romantic dinner for 14 couples, serve game-day favorites for hungry football fans and take command of a legendary Hollywood restaurant. With each new challenge, the pressure will mount as the Top Finalists compete for the coveted title of MASTERCHEF, a cookbook deal and the $250,000 grand prize.

MASTERCHEF is produced by Shine America and One Potato Two Potato and is based on the format created by Franc Roddam and Shine. Shine International handles distribution for the MASTERCHEF format. Elisabeth Murdoch, Eden Gaha, Paul Franklin, 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 @MASTERCHEFonFOX and join the discussion with #masterchef.

About One Potato Two Potato

Renowned for award-winning original programming, the company produces high-quality TV shows on both sides of the Atlantic, including the smash-hit HOTEL HELL, which was the highest-rated new network show of summer 2012 and whose second season returns to FOX in July; the blockbuster MASTERCHEF and new hit MASTERCHEF JUNIOR, both for FOX; major food competition series "Food Court Wars," the second season of which is currently airing; "Best New Restaurant," a new cable series premiering soon, as well as massive U.K. hit "Gordon Ramsay Behind Bars" and "Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape," for Channel 4; and "My Kitchen," for UKTV's Good Food Channel.

About Shine America

Shine America is the U.S. division of Shine Group, an award-winning global production and distribution organization with 30 production companies across 12 countries. Shine America is a leading television studio that creates inspired and compelling programming, including current unscripted series MASTERCHEF (FOX), MasterChef Junior (FOX), "The Biggest Loser" (NBC), "Minute to Win It" (GSN),"The Face" (Oxygen) and upcoming Riot (FOX). Scripted series include Peabody Award-winning "The Bridge" (FX), as well as upcoming dramas GRACEPOINT (FOX) and "Utopia" (HBO).

Shine America incorporates several divisions, including unscripted format label Ardaban, which develops and distributes original content to the U.S. marketplace, including series "Beat The House" (HGTV) and "The One That Got Away" (TLC). The global Shine 360? division builds brands through the leveraging of its intellectual property and creating integrated marketing opportunities for advertisers. Shine Group's distribution arm, Shine International, distributes Shine America's extensive library of programming and formats to more than 150 countries.

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