The latest season of the popular cooking competition “MasterChef” is entitled “United Tastes of America,” and it is beginning with tryouts in several cities around the country. Hosted by renowned chef, restaurateur, and food personality Gordon Ramsay, the first two episodes featured amateur cooks from the Northeast and the Midwest competing for an apron and a spot on the show.
The Western region took center stage on Wednesday(7 June 2023), with contestants from places like California, Alaska, and Hawaii attempting to wow regular judges Ramsay, chef Aarón Sánchez, and restaurateur Joe Bastianich, as well as guest judge Susan Feniger of Los Angeles.
Considering Portland’s rep as a hub for innovative chefs, which was recently polished by Southeast Portland’s Kann being named 2023’s best new American restaurant by the James Beard Awards, it was a little surprising that no Portland chefs appeared throughout the “MasterChef” episode.
The MasterChef Twitter account officially posted and wrote: Sass like that should change anybody’s mind …
— MasterChef (@MASTERCHEFonFOX) June 8, 2023
Considering that earlier in the evening Bastianich had said to a Maui chef who goes by the name Madame Donut, “You’re cooking against maybe cooks from Southern California, Portland, Oregon, and then you have Hawaii. Which is cool, but it’s not the first place I think of when I think fo food, quite frankly.”
James Barfield, a home cook from Portland, didn’t make an appearance until the episode’s final minutes. Ramsay and Feniger asked Barfield about his motivations for auditioning as he prepared a dish of Northwest crab cake with tartar sauce and sautéed zucchini.
Barfield stated, “My mom taught me to cook,” before adding that her mother had passed away. When Barfield was a kid, Ramsay wanted to know what kind of lessons his mother had taught him.
“That I could do anything,” Barfield declared.
Feniger proposed calling his dish Glorious Gloria Crab Cakes when Ramsay inquired about it and found that Barfield’s late mother’s name was Gloria. Barfield, 31, introduced himself to the judges and shared that he was from Portland.
As Bastianich put it, “Where does the passion for cooking come from?” Barfield’s sobs were audible as he spoke about his late mother and twin brother, who couldn’t attend the audition with him but still urged him to give it a shot at winning a “MasterChef” apron.
“You’re clearly a passionate guy,” Ramsay said. “But, what’s your dream?” For Barfield, the ultimate career goal is opening a soup stand because “I love making soups.”
After that, his food was put to the test by the judges. The crab cake, as Sánchez put it, was “taking over my palate in a beautiful way.” Feniger praised the seasoning but noted that the crab cakes may have benefited from greater heat to get a crispier texture.
Finally, Ramsay employed his tried-and-true bluff by acting as though he was torn about whether or not to vote “yes” on Barfield with the other judges. After a dramatic pause, Ramsay remarked to Barfield, “That is one of the best crab cakes I’ve ever tasted. “, noting that the quality of the food on this season’s “MasterChef” had increased. My response is an unequivocal yes.
Ramsay embraced a teary-eyed Barfield and presented the Portland chef with a “MasterChef” apron before leaving. Regional Fox station Barfield was also talked to by KPTV on his time on “MasterChef.”
You can also view the video related to master chefs below:
The following links will be useful in expanding your knowledge of Portland:
- A Man Who Shot at Police in Northeast Portland Was Given a 15-year Term.
- Portland Guy Gets 7 Years for Hit-and-run That Gravely Injured 72-year-old Woman.
Next Wednesday, Southern chefs will put their skills to the test as auditions continue.
The website for the show states that this season’s tasks for the chefs include a trip to the State Fair, a Mystery Box competition, a cookoff at Dodger Stadium, and a tag team event in which they must create “a Michelin-star quality three-course meal.”
A total of $250,000 will be on the line for this season’s “MasterChef” champion.