- Long Island MasterChef contestant Frank Mirando hosted a viewing party for the "Top 16 Compete" episode of MasterChef at Jonesey's Food & Drink in Westhampton Beach on Monday, June 18, 2012. Guests dined on mini-entrees created by Mirando while watching the episode where contestants work in teams lead by Mirando and David Martinez
during a competition at military base Camp Pendleton in California. After Mirando's team lost the challenge the crowd loudly reacted in disapproval but he redeemed himself after perfectly cooking an apple pie during the elimination challenge.
Fresh Mozzarella-Roasted Beet-Horseradish Crostini. (Photo: Nicole Barylski)
Mirando decided to sign up for MasterChef after watching the show last year and noticing constants were having trouble cooking things that seemed simple to him. He figured he would at least give it a shot and almost a year later after forgetting about signing up for the competition he heard about an open call in Manhattan. He brought food to the open call which the producers loved and after a few casting interviews, Mirando was chosen for the competition and sent to California.
For him the hardest part of the competition was being away from his family, not being able see or talk to them and the comforts of home. Contestants are constantly under pressure and being pushed to their limits emotionally and psychically. This pressure helped Season Three constants form a camaraderie which the production team had never seen on a competition that had such high stakes with $250,000 and a cookbook deal on the line. Mirando believes Christine, the blind constant, was a big part of the constants bonding so closely because they had to be there to help her at certain times.
When Mirando first met Judge Gordon Ramsey
, his heart was in his throat and it was a nerve-racking experience. He said, "Gordon is very serious and confident, you have no idea what to expect from him." As the show went on and he got to know Ramsey better, Mirando became very comfortable with Ramsey due to their similar witty personalities.
Tuna Tartare on a cucumber topped wasabi, mayo and soy sauces. (Photo: Nicole Barylski)
His inspiration for the dishes he created during the competition was from the ingredients given for each challenge. Mirando has a passion for cooking with really fresh food and raw ingredients. He was often inspired by items in The MasterChef pantry which had the most amazing array of fruits, vegetables, cheeses and spices and also tried to make the key ingredient of the challenge the star of his dish.
Mirando hopes to share his passion through his blog Foodenomics. He hopes to show that by cooking with ingredients that are in season and local you can create simple inexpensive dishes. For him eating at the dinner table is the old school
facebook, "when family comes together you talk about the day they argue and bond at the table". For Mirando while eating together you learn communication skills which you use for life.
While it initially took some persuasion from family and friends, Mirando was glad he competed in MasterChef and went further than he expected. It was the most amazing experience of his life, where he learned a lot and met the best people. Eventually Mirando hopes to open an eatery with artisanal sausages and homemade toppings depending on the season served with local beers.
For more information on Frank Mirando visit his blog, frankmirando.com
or MasterChef's website www.fox.com
Nicole is the Deputy Editor of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com