‘MasterChef’ exclusive: D’Andre Balaoing on double-elimination, light-up shoes, and more!

D'Andre -It was truly sad to see D’Andre Balaoing be sent out the door on Wednesday night’s new “MasterChef” episode. He was the sort of contestant who brought a ton of personality to the table, and the more you saw him, the more you wanted to root for him. Therefore, it was especially cruel to then see him go home in a double-elimination for a tongue dish did not work out in his favor.

Luckily, we have a chance to dissect some of what happened with the man himself! We sent over some questions to D’Andre, and he was kind enough to give us his take on what he wanted to cook this season, his magical light-up shoes, and a few other odds and ends.

CarterMatt – First of all, did you think when Diana was sent home that you were in the clear?

D’Andre – Yes and no. I think everyone on the cast had been preempting a double elimination for the entire season thus far. The judges did always make it a point to say, ‘at least one of you’! But no one wants to predict their own demise– I certainly wanted to be safe.

Just how familiar were you with cooking tongue going into this, and had you been able to serve the full dish you had planned, do you think you’d be okay?

Living all over the world, I’ve definitely eaten my fair share of tongue– but I’ve never cooked it! I’ll never know if Shaun was truly trying to take me out– maybe I might’ve mentioned that I’ve never cooked tongue before. I don’t think the parsnip puree would’ve helped, much; if the star of the dish isn’t cooked well, it’s hard to recover from that.

Was there a different one of the proteins you would have preferred to have?

At the time, I felt like getting tongue or tripe were one-way tickets to the bottom 3; I would’ve loved to have had the chicken livers! I could’ve made some really great ravioli.

You saw the preview video we put up of you making the pho for the Mystery Box. How do you think that turned out?

The judges were very receptive to my Pho! There were some doubts as to whether or not I could pull off the nuanced, deep flavors of the broth in 45 minutes– but I think that I put forth a dish worthy of a MasterChef.

Is there one dish or type of food you wanted to make this season but didn’t get a chance to?

I wished that I could’ve showcased more Filipino cuisine; I come from a very proud, Filipino-American family– and there’s nothing quite like a meal at our house. Certainly, grandma would’ve wanted me to…

Obviously, the most important question: Why did you decide to wear the AMAZING light-up shoes?

My shoes are a callback to my hometown! Dorothy had her slippers, so I’ve got my sneakers! Being a part of the ‘MasterChef’ experience can mean being away and out of contact with your loved ones for quite some time. It’s nice to have anything that can remind you of home, and for me– it was the lights of Vegas!

Of course massive thanks to D’Andre for his time! You can also head over here if you missed our review of last night’s episode; meanwhile, sign up over at this link to score some other TV news on all we cover, sent right over to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: Fox.)

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!