‘MasterChef’ exclusive: Manny Washington on firefighting, passion, and his elimination

Manny Washington is the sort of contestant you want around on “MasterChef” for a long time. He’s got a huge personality, he’s funny, he cares about his food, and he’s a good narrator to the audience at home. It’s easy to imagine why he was cast.

Unfortunately, it was a particularly sad ending for Manny on this past episode, as some friend chicken ultimately did him in. We touched on that with him in an exclusive exit interview this week alongside his work in this most recent team challenge, and a particular comment that Diana made when trying to justify her place in the competition over him.

CarterMatt Before you started seeing the results come in during the Team Challenge, did you think your team had a good chance?

Manny Washington – To be honest, I thought we won it. We are always confident in our abilities to do good work.

Can you explain what it’s like being in that sort of outdoor challenge, being up against the clock and having to work with different personalities?

It was actually fun doing these outdoor challenges. It’s like the fire service up against the clock working with other personalities to get the job done.

Did being a firefighter give you a unique advantage when it comes to teamwork and dealing with the high stress?

Of course with Eric and I on the same team I knew we had an advantage due to our normal work conditions.

How good did you feel about the idea of fried chicken as a Pressure Test? Was it something you felt you’d excel in?

This was the first challenge I felt comfortable in since I got to the MasterChef Kitchen. I knew if I executed well I’d go on to the next round, but I got ahead of myself too fast.

Was the fear of serving the judges raw chicken ultimately what caused you to fall into trouble?

Yes, you hit the nail on the head! I usually fry my chicken and finish off in the oven, but I got scared, second guessed myself and there you go, overcooked chicken!

Diana made a comment in the confessional last night that she felt like she should stay because you already had your dream. What did you think about that when you saw it?

I thought, ‘if that is the case, why would I even be in this competition?!’ I always tell everyone I love what I do and to save lives is a great honor to me. But this is my calling. Putting smiles on people faces is what I do. Showing people my true love to cook is why I am here on MasterChef. I am here to win…….so much for that LOL!!!!

Ultimately, what’s it been like for you going through this experience? How have some of your friends and co-workers responded to it?

The MasterChef experience has been a challenging one! The thing I tell people is that with firefighting, you have the stress but then you have 2 days to decompress from it. With MasterChef, you were always in it. You didn’t have time to decompress, you were right back into another challenge. My friends and co-workers have been nothing but supportive to me. There has been an amazing outpouring of support from the community while I was on MasterChef competing.

Thanks to Manny for his time!

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