Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni
This Monday on FOX, home cooks Josh Marks and Christine Ha will compete for $250,000 and a cookbook deal on "MasterChef." Josh was eliminated earlier in the season but was given the opportunity to return upon his winning a cook-off with other departed cast members. Christine, who is blind, has survived each and every "Mystery Box" challenge while "wowing" judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot in the elimination battles.
The season finale, which was taped several weeks ago, airs Monday at 9 p.m.
"I would say that it's obviously going to be the biggest challenge that we've had in our lives," Christine said. "It's the last finale. It's to win the whole thing. And it's just us ourselves cooking three courses. (It's) so nerve-wracking and probably the most anxiety-inducing challenge for myself."
"It was most definitely the hottest day in the kitchen," Josh added. "I was sweating like crazy. It was so intense. The best part about it is, throughout the challenge(s), we had some of the best equipment and stuff to work with. But for the finale, they really brought out the best equipment, so we had the best mixers. We had ice cream makers. We had the best knives - everything you need. So besides the fact that it was super hot, the cooking situation was great."
Like other reality television cooking competitions - including FOX's "Hell's Kitchen" - "MasterChef" provides a national platform for aspiring chefs and restaurateurs. For unknown culinarians, the potential reward (fame, fortune, fancy cookware) is great. But, if they falter, so too is the risk a TV show can impede their careers.
Regardless of who wins Monday, Christine and Josh saw "MasterChef" as an opportunity to grow as chefs.
"I think for myself, I'm the kind of person that welcomes all sorts of challenges," Christine said. "I think I've gone through a lot of obstacles in life, and it's always about challenging myself and pushing myself to see how far I could go. So I think I just wanted to take it on and see how far I could go."
"I'm definitely a competitor, coming from an athletic background. I play to win," Josh added. "Competitions like this, and especially with something that's so passion-driven like food and cooking, that's when I really want to do my best, so that was the edge that I (had) during the competition."
"MasterChef" airs Monday at 9 p.m. on FOX. Visit the show online at http://www.fox.com/masterchef/.