Shaun O'Neale crowned 'MasterChef' winner
Las Vegas DJ earns the seventh season trophy, a cookbook deal and $250,000 grand prize
Wednesday night, season seven of "MasterChef" came to an unforgettable conclusion as host and executive producer Gordon Ramsay, along with fellow judge Christina Tosi, and finale guest judges Wolfgang Puck and Daniel Bouloud, named Shaun O'Neale the winner.
In addition to earning the "MasterChef" title, O'Neale, a 33-year-old DJ from Las Vegas, walked away with a cookbook deal and the $250,000 grand prize. He also will be one of the featured chefs on the "MasterChef" cruise, which sets sail later this year.
Watch O'Neale's reaction to winning "MasterChef":
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"Winning 'MasterChef' is, by far, my greatest achievement. To be able to share my recipes with the world in my very own cookbook has been a longtime dream of mine and now I get that opportunity," O'Neale said. "The 'MasterChef' title is something I have worked my butt off for and I couldn't be more proud to represent the 'MasterChef' legacy!"
"Shaun has been a strong contender since the beginning of this season and continued to impress each of the guest judges," Ramsay said. "His passion, enthusiasm and dedication was evident."
In the season finale episode, which, for the first time in "MasterChef" history, featured three finalists, the home cooks prepared an appetizer dish, an entrée and a dessert.
O'Neale created an elevated three-course meal: miso halibut cheeks with vadouvan carrot puree and pickled mushrooms; an entrée of ancho coffee-roasted venison loin with roasted chanterelles and smoked plums with a truffle demi-glaze; and a salted caramel chocolate tart for dessert.
Brandi Mudd, a fifth-grade teacher from Irvington, Kentucky, prepared bourbon-braised pork belly with apricot barbecue sauce and butternut squash puree, topped with rhubarb and chard slaw for an appetizer; seared duck with wilted greens and ramp hushpuppies as an entrée; and corn meal madeleines with a white chocolate mousse for dessert.
David Williams, a poker player, who also is from Las Vegas, made a beet-cured salmon with uni and caviar, topped with a poached egg for an appetizer; savoy-wrapped guinea hen and foie gras with a morello cream sauce as his entrée; and glazed cherry with chocolate crumble for dessert.
In the end, it was O'Neale's exquisite flavors and thoughtful dishes that won over the judges and earned him the "MasterChef" title.
At the end of its seventh season, "MasterChef" ranks as the season's No. 1 cooking show on television, among adults 18-49.
"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. Visit masterchefcasting.com to pre-register and for the most up-to-date audition information.
Fans can "Like" "MasterChef" on Facebook at facebook.com/MasterChef. Follow the series on Twitter @MASTERCHEFonFOX and join the discussion at #masterchef. Follow the judges on Twitter: Ramsay - @gordonramsay; Tosi - @christinatosi. See photos and videos on Instagram by following @masterchefonfox.