Gordon Ramsay Serves Up Career Opp for ‘MasterChef’ Contestant With Christina Tosi
MasterChef judge Gordon Ramsay is gearing up to select the Season 10 winner of the popular Fox Network competition. While viewers may often see Ramsay bellowing at aspiring cooks, it turns out the culinary king also has a soft side. Ramsay recently hooked up a contestant with a promising opportunity with baking pro and fellow MasterChef judge Christina Tosi.
Third time’s a charm
Season 10 competitor Fred Chang is no stranger to the MasterChef audition process. It took him a few attempts to finally receive the coveted white apron. “I actually auditioned for MasterChef three years in a row,” Chang revealed to Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “I auditioned for Season 8 when I was a college student in Boston, then I auditioned for Season 9 as an accountant in LA, then I auditioned for Season 10 as a revenue analyst. I was debating on whether or not to try out again, but as my mom told me, the worst they can say is no, and it worked out this time.”
Chang wisely followed his mother’s advice and ended up making it to the Top 10. The contestant wowed judges with his flair for baking and artistic plating skills, and was a fan favorite for his kind demeanor and team player attitude. In Episode 17 of the season, the contestants were challenged to prepare a dish consisting of langoustines, a filet mignon, and black truffle. Unfortunately for Chang, his filet was undercooked, resulting in his elimination.
The landmark season is proving to be a hit with viewers. Chang chalks up the show’s popularity this time around to the genuine camaraderie of the contestants, sharing that the first group of 36 bonded immediately, with the top 20 forming solid friendships. “It wasn’t necessarily us against each other – it was us against the food and the challenges. We all went into the same mentality of ‘it’s not about sabotaging each other or throwing each other under the bus, it’s about trying to cook good food, and let the best man win,'” Chang said. “I think that’s what you see on camera, that we’re all good sports about wanting to make the best food, and not wanting to make drama in TV.”
Even though he’s no longer in the competition, Chang keeps close contact with many of his fellow contestants, and is even going into business with another Top 10 finalist. Chang is teaming up with Bri Baker, who became renowned on the show for her plating prowess, in creating eclectic pop-up dining events. Their first venture was a success, selling out all 16 available seats. “We had a venue in a skyscraper in LA, so our guests got to have a view of LA at night,” Chang shared. “We served five courses, as well as two additional add ons. It was a lot of fun… For the most part, everything went smoothly.”
Chang and Baker started planning their business partnership during the competition, and now are going to be roommates. “We like to work together and collaborate. We can really combine forces and make pretty food that covers quite a few different regions of the world,” Chang said. “We are actually planning to move in together when she moves out to LA in a few months. We were laughing about it the other day, that our dynamic seems so unusual, where you have this modern poised southern belle in Bri, and the quirky Asian nerd in me. Somehow it comes together and we don’t necessarily know why, it’s just that we both have personalities that don’t stir up a lot off drama or conflict.”
Ramsay keeps his word
When the judges delivered the news to Chang that his time was up in the MasterChef kitchen, culinary icon Gordon Ramsay extended a monumental offer to the young chef, promising to introduce him to Milk Bar owner and renowned pastry chef Christina Tosi for further training.
Turns out Ramsay is good to his word, where Chang already started his project with Tosi’s brand. “I’m doing an internship on the weekends for two months,” Chang said. “I’ll be shadowing their operations at their Milk Bar location in LA, and for the second half I’ll be working in their Milk Bar lab where they do their research development. Gordon helped set it up.”
Though Ramsay is known for his hotheaded outbursts, Chang revealed he saw a more fatherly side to the culinary icon. “Working with Gordon was a lot of fun. He would always be so excited to cook for us, and to teach us new cooking techniques,” Chang shared with Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “You can tell he loves cooking, and loves teaching people and feeding people. In his demos you can see that positivity radiating through. It was really eye-opening and inspiring for me to see that.”
Chang commented that all three judges — Ramsay, along with Aarón Sanchez and Joe Bastianich — were very encouraging toward the home cooks. “The relationships between the judges and contestants was very supportive. Some judges tended to be more like mentors. For me, I got along with all three perfectly fine. Gordon looked after me a lot, and Micah [another Top 10 contestant] as well,” Chang said. “In the individual challenges, you’d see the more fatherly side of Gordon where he just wants you to do well and to mentor you. I saw all three judges as mentors – they gave me such great advice and they helped guide me to making better food.”
With his internship at Milk Bar, more pop-up events with Baker, his recipe blog where he works on research and development for new dishes, and dreams of opening a bakery, Chang is determined to follow in the footsteps of his MasterChef mentors.