‘MasterChef’ USA interview: Bri Kozior on the path to first elimination

Bri Kozior -Let’s start this “MasterChef” interview with a bit of a programming note: We conducted this interview back when Bri Kozior was still a contestant on the show, and so, it was impossible to know whether or not she was going to be coming back to the competition. It did end up happening, so this marks the ideal time to publish our chat with her to give you more insight into everything that happened prior to her first elimination on the show. Also, we find out some more thoughts about her preparation for the season, and what she’s hoping to get out of it in the end.

CarterMatt – Have you forgiven the eclair? Can you go to a donut shop and order one now and feel okay?

Bri (laughs) – It’s so funny because I see eclairs all the time, and there’s this little spot in my heart that hates them for messing them up. But no, I have not had one since the challenge. It will forever be a little scar.

This competition can be such a major risk to take on; if things go wrong, you run the risk of being embarrassed on national TV. What made you want to go through with this?

In the beginning for the very first open call, I didn’t even think I had a chance. I was just like ‘let’s see how this goes,’ and I will do the best I can.’ And then I did make it, and I was shocked. At that point, and as I started to see some other contestants, I was like ‘I’m so much better than some of these people.’ My confidence kind of rose, and by the time I got to meet the judges, losing wasn’t an option for me. I’m a little bit of a perfectionist … I was having it in my head that I was going to get through, and there was no way around it for me.

Once you realized that you’ve made it on the show, and that you’re going to be for sure in this many episodes, does your attitude change? Are you thinking about winning, or just happy to have made it that far?

I really tried to not think about being eliminated. I think once that starts to enter your head, it’s kind of a second distraction and this part of your head that is going to be nagging you. I saw that as something in the other contestants and [I didn’t want that to happen for me].

For the most part, I just tried to keep with the mindset that I had nothing but winning on my mind.

And you did really well in some of the challenges! Is there a particular moment that stands out?

I’m definitely proud of my mushroom dish, when I won that one, because that was the first vegetarian dish that I got to cook for the judges. It was nice to finally have wild mushrooms and make them the star, and show everyone that I’m a vegetarian, and this is what I do every day and this is what I’m all about. To have the judges really appreciate that is something that affirms what you’re doing.

You bring up something that is an interesting point. Obviously, you go on this show knowing that there are times that you are going to have to cook meat, even if it is not something you do for yourself. Did you practice with some of your meat-eating friends, or how do you prepare for something like that?

I didn’t. In my mind, it just seemed so silly; I live in a vegetarian household, so why would I bring meat into my house? It’s a lifestyle choice, and I figure that if there is a situation where I have to cook meat then I will, but I don’t want to go out of my way to do it.

The closest I ever came was last September, I cooked a steak for my boyfriend, who is not a vegetarian. But it didn’t go so well. I unwrapped the wrapper and it was bleeding, and so I started crying. (Laughs.) I’ve come a long way!

How did you handle dealing with all of the different personalities all season long? Was that difficult at all for you?

You’re with this group of people that you wouldn’t hang out with, but at the same time you have the most important aspect of your lives in common, which is food. It’s kind of a weird relationship you have automatically with everyone else.

… Being with everyone on-camera and off-camera is very different, because off-camera you can choose who you hang out with, and when you get on-camera it’s a little more difficult where you have to endure certain situations with people. I think it was a little easier for me; I tend to get along with everyone … obviously there was a little bit of a struggle this season with Krissi but outside of that, everyone got along pretty well.

Bri also said that she is currently writing a memoir that is part-memoir and part-cookbook, and it will feature her story before and after “MasterChef” and include recipes.

If you are interested in reading some more of our thoughts on “MasterChef” this season (including interviews), you can find them over at the link here.

Photo: Fox

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