Meet The 14 Contestants Of Telemundo's "MasterChef Latino" Ready To Compete This Sunday, January 21
January 15, 2018 - Following its grand premiere last night on Telemundo, MasterChef Latino wrapped up the first episode with the selection of the 14 contestants, who love to cook and will compete in the prestigious cooking competition hosted by TV star Aracely Arámbula, beginning this Sunday, January 21 at 8pm/7c. Each week, viewers will get to see their struggle to win the challenges and overcome the various tests, while witnessing the joy of their victories and the pain of their dramatic failures. Finalists will have to show they are the best and prove to the three judges, chefs Benito Molina, Claudia Sandoval and Ennio Carota, why they deserve to become the first "MasterChef Latino" of the United State and receive a grand cash prize of $100,000.
This 37-year-old Puerto Rican firefighter declares he’s "very competitive" and says that when he plays, it's to win! An ex-marine with two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, he is the designated cook of the New York Fire Station where he works. There he prepares elaborate gourmet recipes for his colleagues. Divorced and the father of a little girl he calls "the apple of my eye," he’s inspired by his grandmother’s kitchen, where he helped her prepare Puerto Rican “pasteles” from the time he was eight years old. Angel dreams of owning a tapas restaurant and promises to give everything he has to achieve his dream.
The 54-year-old Mexican mom and farmer is a strong competitor who does not "shrink" from the problems of life. Ariadna, who is a cancer survivor, relies on her faith in God and her positive attitude to move forward, and that’s the "secret weapon" she brings to the competition. Coming from a large and loving family, she learned the basics of gastronomy while studying Hospitality and Tourism in Mexico. She currently resides in Stockton, California, where she has an orchard where she grows vegetables and fruits, and dreams of creating a workshop in her home where she can give cooking classes to those society labels "problem kids."
This 43-year-old wife, mother and amateur chef is a strong competitor who’s one hundred percent determined to take home the title of "MasterChef Latino." Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Caddy learned to cook since she was 6 years old, when her mother gave her a mini-oven and a pot. She graduated in Architecture, a profession she did not practice, and later tried acting. She currently resides in Manhattan and is focused on fulfilling her goal of becoming a chef. To accomplish this, she specializes in the "Latino gourmet healthy" style, which offers healthier and more nutritious versions of traditional dishes.
DORA LUZ ROJAS
If this 41-year-old Mexican mom from Modesto, California, brings to the kitchen of "MasterChef Latino" the strength and spirit of survival that she has demonstrated in life, she will be one of the strongest competitors. Dora, who worked in the moving industry for twelve years driving a truck and lugging furniture, and who currently cleans houses, has already achieved two of her dreams: to help her three daughters succeed, and to buy her own house. The third, being a professional chef, is what brings her to this competition. Dora learned to cook from her mom, from TV and from books. She describes herself as determined, declares that no one can intimidate her, and assures us that she’s not afraid to experiment in the kitchen.
A radio announcer by day and king of the kitchen in his home at night, "El Bronco" is an extroverted and passionate character who is determined to win "MasterChef Latino." Thirty-five years old and originally from Tamaulipas, Mexico, he learned to cook from his grandmother, then emigrated from Mexico to the United States with only his guitar and $80 dollars in his pocket. But due to his fighting spirit, today he is one of Happy Valley, Oregon’s most popular announcers, where he lives with his wife and children. As a contestant, he is super competitive and admits that he doesn’t like to lose or be given instructions. He also doesn’t like to cook with people, because he has a rhythm and a "flow" all his own. His specialty is comfort food and spicy dishes.
At first glance, she is a typical housewife fully committed to her husband and daughter. But do not underestimate her, because this 35-year-old Mexican spitfire feels true Passion, with a capital P, for the kitchen. And, although she believes that "good food cannot be rushed," she is willing to run against the clock to win the competition. Lupita, who grew up in Jalisco in the heart of a traditional Mexican family, learned to cook from her great grandmother and her great-great grandmother who left her their best recipes in a handwritten notebook. She wants to be an example of hard work and dedication for her two daughters, who motivated her to participate. She currently lives in Burbank, Illinois, and her dream is to own a restaurant where she can express her creativity.
She would see the girls at school dancing ballet and dreamed of joining them, but she could not afford that simple luxury, because every afternoon and weekend, she had to go out and sell the tamales prepared by her mother. Thanks to her effort and her tenacity, she managed to study and graduate in engineering in Mexico. But the 45-year-old from Chihuahua never lost the love for cooking she learned at home. Today, happily married and the mother of two children, she lives in El Paso, Texas, and dreams of opening a restaurant and having her own television cooking show. Her specialty is Mexican, Creole and Italian food. And her goal is to crown herself the queen of "MasterChef Latino."
She always knew that her passion was cooking, but because she was from a humble family in a small Peruvian town, studying the culinary arts was never within her reach. Determined to achieve her goals, the gutsy 26-year-old moved to New York, where she worked for a family as a nanny. Six months ago she decided to gamble everything and left the job to pursue her dreams. Her greatest sacrifice to participate in "Master Chef Latino" is to be away from her father, the man who inspired her love for cooking, who is in poor health. In addition to winning "MasterChef Latino," her goal is to open a Peruvian-Italian fusion restaurant.
This charming 34-year-old Argentinean-Korean is one of the most methodical competitors in "MasterChef Latino." The self-proclaimed "purist of the kitchen," who worked for seven years in a banking institution, intends to apply the numerical precision of the financial world in the kitchen, together with the use of percentages and the assimilation of risks when replacing ingredients. Pablo, who learned to cook out of necessity when he was a student at the university, currently lives in Los Angeles with his Korean wife. His specialty is the Argentine barbecue and the traditional cuisine of his ancestors. His dream is to be crowned "MasterChef Latino" and to be famous in the culinary world.
Of all the participants in "MasterChef Latino," she’s the only one with a double mission: to win the contest... and to get married during the show’s grand finale. But despite her great sense of humor, the road has not been easy for the fun-loving 40-year-old Venezuelan. Due to emotional problems, she developed a dependence on food that led her to weigh nearly 200 pounds. Studying acting helped her express her emotions and motivated her to eat healthier. Today, she lives in Los Angeles, California, where she works as an actress in theatre. Her goal is to tell her inspirational story and help Latina women who have experienced trauma learn that they can overcome anything.
MANUEL FERNANDO TOLL
This 23-year-old Guatemalan was born in a Mayan village, where he had no access to education. He started working at eight cleaning, carrying boxes and even preparing sandwiches on the street. He learned to cook from his grandparents, who used the natural ingredients they harvested from the field. He currently lives in Hollywood, Florida, and works as a gardener. Manuel is shy and sensitive, but at the same time he has a real hunger to succeed. He dreams of becoming a chef so he can help other children who, like him, cannot live their childhood because they have to work. "MasterChef Latino", he says, is the great opportunity of his life.
This 26-year-old Dominican personal trainer from Boston describes himself as a strong competitor who transforms when he is in the kitchen, is not tolerant of the mistakes of others and, above all, doesn’t like to lose. His passion for cooking began in childhood when with his grandmother's cook let him watch her in the kitchen. He is dynamic, creative and says that cooking gives him adrenaline. He likes international cuisine, but always puts the Dominican touch to everything he does... and although he learns easily, he says that what he doesn’t know, he invents. Winning the competition would give him the opportunity to help others, such as feeding poor children. Because of this, he comes to "MasterChef Latino" willing to leave it all in the kitchen.
She is 50 years old and has lived a devoted, religious life for 35 years. She is also calm and relaxed, but do not underestimate sweet Sister Juliana, because when she enters the kitchen, she is definitely in her wheelhouse. As a child, she lived in a poor neighborhood in her native Puerto Rico, and her mother planted the chili and cilantro she used to season her meals. That’s where she learned to love cooking, an art she later perfected in the convent. Sister Juliana admits that she hesitated to enter the competition because after Hurricane Maria, she has been committed to helping her community. But she decided to participate because she wants to invest the prize money in her congregation's project to help the poorest and neediest.
ANDRES DE OLIVEIRA
This 35-year-old Venezuelan, a resident of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is an adventurer who doesn’t fear risking everything to go after a dream. At the moment, he and his wife have a dog-walking business, but he always liked cooking and said that it became his great passion when he discovered the gastronomic scene of Los Angeles. In fact, this model and actor is the one who cooks at home. Intelligent, calm and relaxed, he says that his dream is to have his own cooking show. His specialty is pasta dishes, which he makes from scratch. His Achilles heel? Desserts, he admits. But he is hungry to learn and comes to "MasterChef Latino" with every intention to win.
Viewers can find more about "MasterChef Latino" on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @MCLatinoTV.
"MasterChef Latino" is a Endemol Shine Boomdog production for Telemundo.