'MasterChef' crowns Courtney Lapresi fifth-season champion
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/16/2014
MasterChef crowned Courtney Lapresi its fifth-season winner during Monday night's finale broadcast of the Fox culinary competition for amateur home cooks.
"I've never given up. I've been through the ringer. I've made so many sacrifices, and this validates all of them. This trophy means no more student loans, my mom gets a kitchen and I have a secure future in cooking. My mom looking at me winning this title means so much to me. I've had highs and lows. I've come so far and I've made her, my father and my siblings so proud of me," Courtney said after her victory was revealed.
For winning MasterChef, Courtney, a 25-year-old gentleman club's employee from Philadelphia, PA, will receive $250,000, her very own published cookbook and the title of "MasterChef."
Courtney defeated runner-up Elizabeth Cauvel, a 31-year-old advertising executive from Brooklyn, NY, after they were each required to cook a three-course dinner and execute it onto three identical plates to be tasted and critiqued by MasterChef judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot.
"Ugh! Why didn't I put the lamb in sooner?!" Elizabeth said of her entree which was too rare for the judges' liking. "I'd be $250,000 richer, but you know what? Courtney deserves it. I did things that I didn't think I was ever capable of doing. I'm really proud of myself."
Courtney created crispy pig's ear with dandelion and fennel salad for her appetizer, sumac duck breast with spring vegetables and farro for her entree, and cherry meringue with chocolate and almonds for her dessert.
Elizabeth cooked grilled octopus with chickpea and chorizo salad for her appetizer, spiced rack of lamb with red quinoa and carrot puree for her entree, and grapefruit semolina cake with poached plums and pistachios for her dessert.
Ramsay noted the judges' decision wasn't easy and it was a very close-call, as "it came down to the tiniest of details."