It’s the end of the summer, and the question on every culinary foodie’s mind is, “Who won MasterChef?” The two-part finale aired on Wednesday night and the MasterChef Season 7 winner has been revealed to be Las Vegas DJ Shaun O’Neale. Judges Gordon Ramsay and Christina Tosi were joined by celebrity chefs Daniel Boulud and Wolfgang Puck.
The other two finalists who competed in the finale were David Williams, a Las Vegas poker player, and Brandi Mudd, an elementary school teacher from Kentucky. Leading up to the finale, Shaun had been an early favorite in the competition, winning challenge after challenge. The title was definitely his to lose but other two contestants fought until the very end, and it was not an easy victory. Here’s how the finale unfolded according to Entertainment Weekly:
Shaun: Halibut Cheek With Vadouvan Carrot Puree, Pickled Mushrooms and Uni Foam
David: Beet Cured Salmon With Soft Boiled Egg, Filo Dough, Salmon Roe and Caviar
Brandi: Braised Pork Belly With Apricot BBQ Sauce and Squash-Parsnip Puree
The opening round was an immediate setback for Shaun. His attempt to go technical and high end left the judges unimpressed. By trying to do too much, he ended up with an unfocused dish. Meanwhile, Brandi nailed her pork belly. David also impressed the judges despite a small argument on the necessity of his filo pastry.
Shaun: Spice-Rubbed Venison With Cipollini Onions, Smoked Plums, Black Truffle and Fiddlehead Ferns
David: Cabbage Wrapped Guinea Hen With Foie Gras, Morel Mushrooms and Yellow Wine Cream Sauce
Brandi: Seared Duck Breast With Andouille-Greens, Blackberry Demi-Glace and Ramp Hush Puppies
Brandi failed to impress Christina with her presentation skills, even though Gordon and Daniel loved her duck. David suffered a mishap when he served Gordon an undercooked guinea hen. He redeemed himself slightly with a massively impressive wine sauce. Shaun put the fiasco of the appetizer round behind him, as he served up a marvelous forest plate. He managed to learn from his earlier mistakes and wowed the judges with his venison.
Shaun: Salted Caramel Tart With Dark Chocolate Ganache and Raspberry Coulis
David: Stuffed Cherries With White Chocolate Glaze, Cherry Compote and Cookie Crumble
Brandi: Cornmeal Madeleine With Bourbon Caramel Sauce, White Chocolate Mousse and Glazed Peaches
While Brandi impressed the judges with her presentation, she practically took herself out of the competition when Gordon found her Madeleines to be too heavy. Her choice to use cornmeal proved to be her undoing. Meanwhile, David served up Las Vegas on a platter with his cherry dish. While it looked amazing, Gordon thought that there were too many elements on the plate. Shaun found a way to shine in the dessert round by reeling in his flamboyant instincts. He settled for a simple but difficult to perfect caramel tart. Dessert guru Christina Tosi was impressed, and that sealed the deal for the DJ.
Shaun O’Neal is the MasterChef Season 7 winner. He won US$250,000, a book deal and a spot in the MasterChef Caribbean cruise this November.