Photo courtesy of FOX.
Jesse Romero says he never made a dollar off cooking or went to culinary school. However, he’s hoping that won’t hold him back in the next season of MasterChef.
The reality cooking show’s latest season premieres on Fox tonight (Wednesday, May 20) at 7 p.m., and the two-hour episode will feature the Baton Rougean vying for a coveted white apron.
Romero says he got an e-mail that the show was holding auditions in New Orleans. He filled out the paperwork and made it through the process late last summer.
“They had all kinds of people [at the audition],” he says. “There were at least 1,000 people. I was there early, sizing up the competition.”
For the audition, Romero prepared a salad made with apples, cucumber, tomato, avocado and crab and shrimp from Tony’s Seafood.
Though he can’t disclose how far he made it on the show, the 30-year-old says he can’t put a price on his experience.
“[The competitors] were all really good chefs,” he says. “I learned a lot hanging out with them in the early part of the season.”
In MasterChef, amateur chefs compete to win $250,000. Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliott and Christina Tosi are this season’s judges.
“I’ve never been in a room with that much talent,” Romero says. “To have them taste my food and give me feedback was one of the most special moments in my life.”
Though he doesn’t have a culinary background, Romero learned how to cook watching his grandparents and parents. At tailgates, he says he is the one preparing the food. While he still maintains his job as a petroleum landman, he is considering the culinary possibilities after his appearance on the show. Last week, he barbecued at Tin Roof’s tap room.
“I’d like to do pop-up dinners, and hopefully, own a restaurant,” he says. “It would be a mom-and-pop establishment, a diner that offers rotating specials and a menu of southern Louisiana cuisine.”