‘MasterChef’ exclusive interview: Stacey Amagrande teases twist

With the field narrowing on “MasterChef,” we are now starting to get to the point where just about every elimination is a shocking one — and none was more surprising than seeing Stacey Amagrande sent home on Tuesday night’s new episode. She was a strong chef throughout just about every round, and it was a rather stunning tag-team competition with Christine that caused her to turn in her apron, if for no other reason than that she simply ran out of time to get all of the components on the plate.

I had a chance to talk with Stacey on Monday, and she also teased a little bit of what is coming up Monday night in terms of some past home cooks returning to the game.

Cartermatt.com – Were you surprised to be going home? You seemed to be constantly strong throughout the whole competition.

Stacy Amagrande – That morning I woke up for the first time and felt like I needed to practice acceptance. I was telling myself ‘make sure to double-check your hotel room’ and ‘be sure you’re packed’ … I’m always like ‘get up, you’re a warrior, ready to kick some a– today,’ but this time I was like ‘maybe you should have acceptance and be grateful for what you are given.’

From that morning on, I think I planted the seed … I certainly didn’t go into the competition thinking that or trying to create that for myself. I certainly went into it with the intention of doing my very best and I did. Unfortunately, my very best fell short of [where it needed to be] this time.

As somebody who’s not a big sushi fan, I would have been there for hours [in the tag team challenge] trying to figure out who to make it. Was it something you had a lot of experience with?

I’ve seen a clip on YouTube and and on TV and have done it at home. I can do it pretty well — I can make a tight sushi roll that looks pretty decent, but with the time constraints and the tag team element [it was tough]. [Being able to make] a sushi roll is one thing — I have no idea how to properly cut for the sashimi. That’s an art form all its own — people go to special schools or work with masters to learn that kind of thing. We were using Japanese sushi knives. I’ve never seen one in my life, and we didn’t have our own — that was what we used, and that is how it is done. We had to figure it out real quick, and I did the very best I could. It was so bad, and even my best one wasn’t that great.

Do you think there was a part of the judges that just wanted to send home David or Becky over them fighting so much?

I don’t think they really [look at] the drama or the personalities. I think they are pretty well established as judges on the show and can draw that line and take the conflict out of it and focus on who did the worst when it comes to the food. When it comes down to it, [Christine and I] didn’t finish our plate. Even if we had perfect [food] everywhere else on the plate, we missed an element entirely. David and Becky could have put poop on a stick on a plate if they asked for it, and since we didn’t put poop on a stick we would have been up for elimination.

How did you handle staying away from some of the drama that happened this season, and what was it like watching yourself back on the show?

One thing I learned about myself when watching this show back is that I am extremely animated. Watching some of my facial expressions, I may have been Jim Carrey.

Maybe I’m not ‘reality TV star’ potential. I don’t have triple-D boobs, I don’t have blonde hair. There are so many things about me that aren’t a stereotypical reality TV contestant, but there are a few things about me that yield to a number of different genres. I’m sober, so I get the sober vote. I’m tattooed, I’m kind of a rocker chick with a little bit of hippie in there. I think when they were casting, they have to be methodical about it because of who’s watching the show, and they have to fill at least a couple of genres for them to pull an audience. With the fact that we are great cooks, we are also chosen because we have something to offer American because we are relatable.

Without giving anything away, can you give us a brief tease of what’s coming up Monday night? We know you’re going to be back competing for a spot on the show, so what was that like?

I had just got eliminated, so I was trying to deal with closure and accepting that I am no longer competing, and then I had a chance to compete again … I took advantage of it as an opportunity to make some of the things that I was scared to make, so that regardless of whether or not I got the apron, I would have redeemed myself and I could walk away from it with my chin head high even if they spit my food out. I wanted to make the things that I shied away from, that I didn’t want to make out of fear.

Being back, I felt like I had resurrected myself. Even if I didn’t get the chance to re-enter the competition, I was really glad for the chance to give it one last try.

Were you rooting for Stacey this season? If you want to check out a sneak peek for Monday’s episode, be sure to follow the link here.

Photo: Fox

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