Dino Luciano, the eccentric dancer from New York, walked away as the "MasterChef" on Wednesday night's finale, a prize that included $250,000.
Eboni Henry, the Navy wife and caterer who lives in Virginia Beach and one of three finalists, wasn't her usual sassy self. In fact, she was almost docile and visibly nervous as she and the other finalists, Luciano and Jason Wang, a music teacher from Massachusetts, stood before the judges.
TV personality and restaurateur Joe Bastianich, who hosts "MasterChef Junior," joined celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay, Christina Tosi and Aarón Sánchez as hosts and judges.
Not that there isn't already enough drama, but the producers intensified it all with sweeping camera shots and abrasive music that cut through scenes like an aural scythe. Surrounded by an audience that included past contestants and family members, the finalists cooked under watchful eyes and plenty of cameras. This surely added pressure befitting a finale.
Each contestant competed in three courses: appetizer, entrée and dessert. In a circle that included three cooking stations, Henry and the other finalists sweated through the courses, each with missteps along the way. For Henry, undercooked duck was certainly a low point, while her chocolate cake drew praise from the judges.
But the finalists, all self-taught home cooks, evolved quickly this season. Each absorbed the judges' comments, improving by the next challenge, while sprinkling elements of their personalities and cultural backgrounds in their dishes. ___
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