This past MasterChef season 8 two-hour event proved to be a big one, especially when it comes to the way Gabriel Lewis ended up being eliminated. After losing the pasta challenge he shared an emotional moment with the judges, as Gordon Ramsay and Aarón Sánchez each made offers to help secure his future in the culinary world. He started the competition as a 19-year old fast food employee, and he’s now well on his way to being one of the next great chefs.
This is a great story, and in turn, we do feel like it makes for a great exit interview. Take a look below to see some of what Gabriel has to say about this season, what he’s up to now, and how he made it so far this season despite not having as much experience in the kitchen.
CarterMatt – Let’s start with this — what was it like watching the elimination back on TV?
Gabriel Lewis – Watching the elimination was emotional for me. I know how much I wanted to win and it felt like a dagger through the chest when I was eliminated. I felt I had so much riding on winning that failure felt as if it was not on option.
Especially considering your age and your experience, did you ever imagine getting as far as you did?
My motto throughout the course of the competition was “try and make it one more step”. Even if it’s just a little further I knew I had to make it. I didn’t know I’d make top 10 let alone top 7. I had such tough competition that I didn’t think I measured up. It was definitely a pleasant shock.
What did you appreciate the most about being in the kitchen and on the show?
I appreciated the opportunity to learn and grow from chefs who I’ve idolized since i was very young. It was already a dream come true to cook for Gordon Ramsay, Aarón Sánchez and Christina Tosi. I was so happy to just absorb all they had to impart and live in the now.
Did you think at the start of the pasta challenge that it could be your undoing?
I had never made cannelloni before, I was nervous and unsure, which is rare for me so I had a pretty good idea that I would struggle. I just didn’t know how much I would.
Everyone seemed to be especially emotional when you were eliminated. Did you build pretty close relationships with the other home cooks?
Absolutely I did. MasterChef not only gave me a chance to learn from my idols but also make a new family that pushed me to grow as a person and as a cook. My fellow contestants are some of the most tenacious and loving people I’ve ever met and am so grateful to have competed and have had the privilege of knowing them.
I have to course ask about the wonderful offer Chefs Ramsay and Sanchez sent your way at the end of the episode. Where are you with your life now and your pursuit of some of your dreams?
I instantly took up Chef Ramsay on his offer of culinary school and started my education at Johnson and Wales in Denver, Colorado. I am working to complete my schooling with the goal of heading down to humble New Orleans to learn from Chef Aarón and absorb all I can!
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