The 36 contestants were then given an hour to prepare a "stunning entree" using two pounds of ground beef and any ingredients available in the MasterChef pantry.
Afterward, the judges -- who observed the home cooks and sampled their dishes throughout the hour -- divided the contestants into three groups of twelve.
One group was then told they were automatically advancing as finalists and a second group was informed they were being eliminated, leaving the fates of the remaining group's members to be determined after the judges examined their dishes further.
In the end, six of the group's twelve members were advanced by Ramsay, Bastianich and Bowles -- completing MasterChef's third-season finalists.
The 18 home cooks who will continue to compete in the competition as finalists are:
- Stacey Amagrande, a 29-year-old farmer's market manager from Apple Valley, CA
- Monti Carlo, a 36-year-old homemaker from Los Angeles, CA
- Michael Chen, a 19-year-old college student studying meteorology from Austin, TX
- Tali Clavijo, a 29-year-old musician from Chicago, IL
- Samantha de Silva, a 27-year-old design consultant from Miami Beach, FL
- Felix Fang, a 24-year-old food runner from Hollywood, CA
- Christine Ha, a 32-year-old graduate student from Houston, TX
- Mike Hill, a 40-year-old contractor from Powder Springs, GA
- Helene Leeds, a 35-year-old health coach from Baldwin, MD
- Scott Little, a 38-year-old interactive producer from Annandale, VA
- Dave Mack, a 27-year-old food sales director from Davie, FL
- Josh Marks, a 24-year-old U.S. Army Contract Specialist who currently resides in Jackson, MS
- David Martinez, a 32-year-old educational administrator who currently resides in Glencoe, IL
- Frank Mirando, a 28-year-old stockbroker from Holtsville, NY
- Tanya Noble, a 21-year-old sociology student from Austin, TX
- Becky Reams, a 26-year-old food photographer from Stilwell, KS
- Anna Rossi, a 28-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative from Boston, MA
- Ryan Umane, an unemployed 26-year-old from New York, NY