California events manager earns the sixth season trophy, a cookbook deal and the $250,000 grand prize
Season six of "MasterChef" came to an unforgettable conclusion Wednesday as host, executive producer and judge Gordon Ramsay, along with fellow judges Graham Elliot and Christina Tosi, named Claudia Sandoval the winner of FOX's hit home cooking competition series. Sandoval, 31, is an events manager from La Mesa, California. In addition to earning the "MasterChef" title, she walked away with a cookbook deal and the $250,000 grand prize.
Watch Sandoval's reaction to winning "MasterChef":
"To be crowned the first Latina 'MasterChef' is a dream come true," Sandoval said. "This hard-earned title represents success over every struggle I've ever had as a first-generation American and a single mom. I can't wait to move my daughter and myself out of our one-bedroom apartment and get started on sharing our family collection of authentic Mexican recipes in my cookbook! I hope you're ready America, this Latina has big plans! Si Se Puede!"
"Claudia was a strong competitor from the beginning," Ramsay said. "Her passion and unique dishes were what impressed us the most, and we look forward to seeing where her new culinary career will lead her."
In the season finale episode, Sandoval competed in two head-to-head competitions. First, she competed in the "MasterChef" classic dishes challenge against Stephen Lee, which earned her a place in the finale. Then, Sandoval faced the intense culinary showdown with Derrick Peltz, a 28-year-old drummer from Fort Myers, Florida.
For the final challenge, Sandoval created an elevated three-course meal: an appetizer of huatilacoche tamale with crispy pork chicharone, cactus salsa and avocado crème; a main course of grilled swordfish with chayote, chickpeas and Mexican squash; and a poached pear with key lime custard, candied lime and pepita cinnamon brittle. In the end, it was Sandoval's exquisite flavors and thoughtful dishes that won over the judges and earned her the "MasterChef" title.
At the end of its sixth season, "MasterChef" ranks as the season's No. 1 cooking show on television among adults 18-49 and total viewers.
"MasterChef" is once again giving talented home cooks the chance to prove they have what it takes to make their marks on the culinary world. Auditions for season seven continue this fall, with open casting calls. Visitmasterchefcasting.com to pre-register and for the most up-to-date audition information.