‘MasterChef’ exclusive: Tanorria Askew on elimination, future aspirations, and show successes

Tanorria -

There’s something tough about going home close to the end on a reality show — you’ve made it so far, and you can start to really see the finish line before you.

Yet, at the same time Tanorria Askew from “MasterChef” this season has a great philosophy about it — just remember that in order to make it that far, you have to conquer a number of near-impossible challenges. She had a wonderful run this season, and she has a lot to celebrate about her performance. Below, you can see Tanorria talk about her experiences, how she stayed focused during a grueling competition, and what she’s hoping to do now in an email exit interview.

CarterMatt – In making it so far this season, what’s the feeling? Is it pride, or do you second-guess yourself a lot because you were so close to getting into the finale?

Tanorria Askew – Oh I don’t second guess myself at all.  Well, at least not at this stage in the competition.  I think more about what I could’ve done differently on challenges like the Salmon Challenge or Fine Dining.  I am very proud and excited of what I accomplished.  This journey gave me so much validation for who I am and what I’m capable of.

Just since your elimination, what’s the support been like on your end?

OMG!  I am still trying to answer all of the text messages, phone calls, tweets, facebook posts, etc.  It makes me so happy to know that I inspired people.  I’ve had a couple of people (strangers) message me and say they are going to volunteer at a food pantry because of me.  That’s amazing!

You were able to win one of the earlier challenges this season. What’s the secret behind finding some success fairly early on and staying consistent throughout?

You have to stay true to yourself.  I won the Latin Box where Claudia from season 6 appeared. She told us to stay true to ourselves and put ourselves on the plate.  That’s exactly what I tried to do every single time.

Did you find cooking in the kitchen was more stressful over time, or did you start to get used to the environment?

Cooking in the MasterChef kitchen was always stressful.  Definitely because of the time constraints.  The key to succeeding in that environment is to stay calm.  Getting overly stressed and all rallied up isn’t going to do anything for you.

Is there anything you wish you had done to make your way into the top three?

I wish I would’ve gotten that pork tenderloin the pan just a few moments sooner.  I’m confident that would’ve gotten me into the Top 3.

Finally, what do you have coming up next? How are you going to use this experience going forward?

I’m really trying to figure out how to feed people and stay famous.  This “celebrity” has given me a platform to be heard, and what I have to say has helped people.  I would love a cooking show some day and a community café where I fed people from all walks of life including those who aren’t usually able to access good food.

I am working with some non-profits and will continue to run my personal chef business Tanorria’s Table (www.tanorriastable.com).  I have enjoyed writing and blogging about my experience so I plan to keep that up as well.

In the end, it’s a bummer to see Tanorria go since she seems to have a good perspective on her time on the show, and also how she wants to use it as a platform moving forward. Thanks of course to her for the responses!

You’ll be able to see more “MasterChef” reviews and interviews now at the link here — hopefully, we’ll have an interview with Dan there before long.

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