'MasterChef' crowns Jennifer Behm second-season champion
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/17/2011
MasterChef crowned Jennifer Behm its second-season winner during Tuesday night's two-hour finale broadcast of the Fox culinary competition for amateur home cooks.
"This is a thousand dreams come true. My family taught me to never give up a dream -- if you want it and you work hard. Anything is possible. It doesn't matter what the naysayers say. I'm proof of that," Jennifer, a 34-year-old real estate agent from Wilmington, DE, said after her victory was announced.
As MasterChef's second-season winner, Jennifer will receive $250,000 and the title of America's Next MasterChef.
Jennifer defeated Adrien Nieto, a 28-year-old server from Ventura, CA, to win MasterChef's second-season title.
"The pain I feel losing sucks, but Jennifer's a big competitor. So, I'm happy for her. She deserved to win MasterChef. I came here an amateur cook, but I'm leaving here pretty much a chef and I'm definitely going to continue cooking and pursuing my dream," Adrien said.
Jennifer and Adrien advanced to MasterChef's final cookoff after they defeated Christian Collins, a 31-year-old stay-at-home dad from Gloucester, MA, in a semifinal elimination-test cookoff, which required them to each select an ingredient and prepare their best dish in 60 minutes utilizing octopus, veal or mushrooms.
The order of which the amateur cooks got to choose their ingredient was based on what place they had finished in during the season's last Mystery Box challenge, which required the contestants to cook an "important stunning" chicken dish in 60 minutes. Adrien -- who had come in first place in the Mystery Box challenge -- picked octopus, second-place finisher Christian opted to cook with veal, and Jennifer was therefore left with mushrooms.
Adrien's pan seared octopus with saffron rice and watercress salad was a success when taking into account its level of difficulty, Christian's veal with a vegetable medley and mashed potatoes was cooked extremely well, and Jennifer's mushroom and egg ravioli with mushroom ragu was a nicely done technical yet traditional version of the ravioli.
Gordon then announced Adrien and Jennifer's dishes were a bit superior to Christian's, advancing them both to the final cookoff.
"We love that determination -- that spirit. You've produced some magic. Follow that dream," Gordon told Christian.
"I'm a little shocked that I'm not in the final two. It's been a long journey from the very first auditions all the way up until today. If you don't come into this competition believing that you can make it to the end, then you're not going to win MasterChef. You can be arrogant to a point, but you have to humble yourself in certain situations regardless of how great you know you are," Christian said following his ouster.
For their finale faceoff, Jennifer and Adrien were each given two hours to prepare three dishes -- an appetizer, an entree and a dessert -- of their own choosing for the judges.
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Jennifer prepared pan seared scallops with quail egg, creamed corn and pea puree; stuffed quail with creamy potatoes and spinach; and a braised pear with poached apples and mascarpone for the judges. Adrien countered with spot prawn taquitos with avocado sauce, masago and microgreens; beer braised short ribs with cauliflower-parsnip puree and rainbow chard; and a flourless chocolate cake infused with blood orange, passion fruit and chipotle.