‘MasterChef’ exclusive: Dan Paustian on avoiding drama, show success, and future aspirations

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Early on in “MasterChef” season 7, it was easy to identify Dan Paustian as one of the big characters. He was made out to be the frat guy, a goofy competitor with some good one-liners who cooks for the sake of charming the ladies.

What we learned over the course of the season is that he was a serious contender to go along with that; he showed off a wide array of skills in the kitchen, and he made it all the way to the top five before being eliminated earlier this week. We’re not sure that there has ever been anyone on the show quite like him, and we’ll miss the energy and some of the humor that he brought.

In closing out Dan’s “MasterChef” journey as a contestant, we did get a chance to ask him a few questions via email. Be sure to check out some of his responses below!

CarterMatt – First things first, how are you feeling about the overall experience? Was it weird watching yourself get eliminated and reliving that memory?

Dan – No it wasn’t weird for me at all. I couldn’t say this on the show, but honestly, I surprised myself by getting that far! I could cook beforehand, but now I have real culinary talents and experience, that in itself is amazing.

You were probably one of the bigger characters this season. What’s the attention been like in the real world since the show started airing?

Most people that watch the show just want to give me a high five, and I can high five all day!

In looking back at the elimination challenge, is there any one thing that you can pinpoint that you wish you had done better?

I think I did everything to the best of my limited 26-year-old abilities. The last four I was up against had years on me, and no amount of fraternity-style cookbook cramming can equal actual experience.

What was it like for you being able to cook in front of your mom, and show her how far you’ve come since starting the show?

She had no idea I could cook so well! Because she was a very busy broadcast journalist / mother, we got a lot of take out.

While there was some drama this season, you seemed good at being able to avoid most of it. How did you keep your cool in some of the midst of some of the stressful situations?

I avoid drama like the plague! Pledging the fraternity was extremely stressful, so are auditions, giving speeches, and editing film for hours — but if you can keep your cool, you realize all these situations help you grow as a person.

So what’s the plan for Dan next? Are you looking to do something else in food or television?

I want my own cooking show specializing in what to cook to impress your girlfriend! After all, the best way to turn your lady on, is to turn your stove on.


For the record, we could totally see Dan working well on some sort of Spike TV / Esquire Network cooking show. One of the great things about this season is that there were some very good personalities to go along with strong cooks.

If you missed it, you can see our exit interview featuring Tanorria from earlier today at this link. Meanwhile, sign up over here to score some other TV news on everything we cover, sent right over to you via our official CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: Fox.)

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