MasterChef interview: Paige Jimenez on elimination, other contestants, more

Paige JimenezOn Wednesday night’s new episode of MasterChef season 8, Paige Jimenez became the second home cook eliminated from the top 20 after a difficult Pressure Test. She was the youngest contestant of the season, but still was certainly competitive and had never really been in danger before trying to replicate that dish from chef Aaron Sanchez.

So what does she have to say about what happened in the challenge, watching everything back on TV, and her fellow contestants? Paige took the time to give us some really great answers about her experience in an email exit interview this morning.

CarterMatt – Was it difficult watching the elimination back on TV?

Paige Jimenez – It was difficult to watch the elimination on TV. Nobody likes failing, especially when it’s showcased on national TV. There are so many things I would have done differently, but I simply scrambled in the heat of the moment (no pun intended.).

In looking back at the Pressure Test, do you think that not focusing on the pork enough was your downfall?

The pork was definitely the weakest link of my dish. I had never cooked with cactus before so I used all my efforts to attempt to perfect the side dish and accidentally neglected the most important part of the dish.

What was the hardest part about the team challenge and being out there in the conditions?

The team challenge was definitely a rough day for everyone. Not only was it a scorching summer day in California, but my team failed to communicate and had almost no direction. I think everyone let their nerves get the best of them. These people know how to cook and they know how to lead, but just crumbled in the stress of the situation. Nobody knew quite what they were doing and nobody knew what was expected. I don’t think we even knew what the complete dish was as we were cooking. It was the blind leading the blind.

I know you said you were familiar with Mexican ingredients on the show before, but had you ever worked with cactus before?

Growing up half Hispanic, I’m very familiar with Mexican ingredients. I had never cooked with cactus before or even tried eating it for that matter. It was out of my comfort zone for sure.

Were you disappointed that the other home cooks all said that they thought Jennifer should stay?

I wasn’t disappointed that the other home cooks chose Jennifer over me. Even though cooking is my life long passion, I have other aspects of my life that I succeed in. Everyone on set got really close really fast. It was easy to learn people’s life stories and get attached really quickly. I’m young and I have my whole life to perfect my cooking and become a chef I’m proud to be. I can’t say the same for Jennifer.

What did you take away from the experience the most?

I adored my experience on MasterChef. I know that cooking will be a constant thing for me throughout life’s craziness. It’s inspired me to attend culinary school in the near future. Kudos to everyone who has ever been on a MasterChef show. It’s not easy and a lot of times the most passionate people get in their heads. I think I would audition again in the future after I’ve grown into a chef I’m proud to showcase.

Is there any style of cooking you wish you’d had a chance to show off?

Growing up in Hawaii and modeling in Asia, I have a lot of Asian influence in my cooking. I wish I could have shown my love for preparing sushi and utilizing Asian flavors into my favorite dishes. I’m into healthy alternatives when I cook so it would have been amazing to be able to show Americans some healthy options when cooking.

Other MasterChef news

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