Asians on TV 唐人做電視

Asians in MasterChef America Season 2 Top 38

NPY is such a reality TV addict and he’s got me onto it, too! With a great many food competitions on specialty channels I don’t think I’m subscribed to, I’m not really onto the bandwagon. But NPY told me about MasterChef last year and we watched every episode together–apparently even though NPY is not much of a foodie and doesn’t cook, the MasterChef competition format can engross him.

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After three episodes of highlights of the 100 invited amateur chefs, the top 38 chefs who all received MasterChef logo aprons are revealed.

Esther Kang is a former entertainment finance attorney who quit law to pursue her cooking passion. So far, she seems to have a dessert shop online and with mobile locations around L.A., Batch From Scratch, and she blogs about her MasterChef experience. She prepared a Korean spicy braised cod with daikon radish that Gordon Ramsey says looks better than it tastes. Esther pled her case which makes me so nervous but as with another contestant who actually got down on her knees near the judges, they saw something in her and let her through.

Monica Chung. Writing this on the date of the third episode and with no YouTube clip and sparse information online, I can only remember she is a classical pianist from New York City. I do remember that she made a bibimbap and I thought that was way too simple. The different components are cooked separately and have flavour and there is special homemade sauce to pour over. But it turned out it was good enough for the judges to go through and make the Top 38.

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Alvin Schultz is a 28-year-old retail manager from Houston, TX. He brought molecular gastronomy to MasterChef with a perfectly evenly soft-boiled egg prepared with a homemade immersion circulator. His dish, Loco Moco, was described as “braised beef short rib with egg on sticky rice” and was delivered in a crispy wonton shell. I am familiar with loco moco from Su-lin’s blog post as a casual and unique comfort Hawaiian dish. Judge Graham Elliot says, “I wish I had two mouths to eat this!” When Gordon Ramsay awards Alvin with a MasterChef apron, he calls Alvin a “freak genius” followed by, “You can’t be that creative and not work in the industry.” (All this detail, I got because there is a YouTube clip for his Top 100 dish.) He’s pretty adorable and NPY and I laughed when in his delight he chest-bumped an older woman that may have been his mother! Alvin runs the Eat. Drink Experience! website.

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27-year-old neural engineer Suzy Singh made me laugh with her impression of her mother who is none too happy about the uncertain pursuit to be a MasterChef, “You vwant to be a servant?! I’m highly, highly disappointed in you.” She made an ambitious dish of seabass and tumeric leeks/shallots en papillote, garam masala-rubbed roasted tomatoes, and sweet lassi. She was apologetic for her missteps although the judges did not echo them and instead gave them three votes to go on and Joe even predicted her as a finalist!

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Seby Joseph only briefly flashed by on the screen during the third episode and we only know that he is a high school student. Actually, he maintains his own website from which I learned he is 18-years-old and from McAllen, TX. But he did live in the Indian state of Kerala and comes from a town wonderfully named Thiruvananthapuram. I have no idea what dish he prepared for the judges and from his website, you can figure out he did not win. Because they only briefly mentioned him amongst a batch of other Top 38’s, perhaps he did not make it very far either.

4 thoughts on “Asians in MasterChef America Season 2 Top 38

  • I do not really believe that Esther Kang is really a Lawyer. I think that she is only a law student. I saw an article from the Daily Trojan newspaper dated 2009 written by an Esther Kang. I hope that Chef Ramsay throws her out of the competition for her lying. I think that she is really a law student. It would be impossible for her to be an practising attorney and still be writing articles for the Daily Trojan newspaper. So how could she be a practising attorney?

  • Catch Star Girl

    Hi Diana,
    I did a quick search and I think there are many Esther Kang’s out there and the one on MasterChef is/was actually a lawyer. She appears in several law directories and seems to have graduated in 2008 and practiced entertainment law. There is another Ester Kang, it seems, who is a current student at Harvard Law (the MasterChef Esther went to a California law school). And then the Esther Kang who writes for Daily Trojan is yet another Californian but when you look at her profile at her website ( she most definitely does not look like the MasterChef contestant. Who knew that was such a common first and last name!

  • Uh…and, she could have graduated in 2009 and still be an attorney for 2 years, mathemagician.

  • wow. What a very racist basis for profiling certain contestants on a game show.

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