When it comes to the Back to Win season of MasterChef, it is clear that even as things might seem very familiar, there are quite a few firsts we are seeing. And even for the contestants, this is a season like no other.
For Shelly Flash, who was sadly eliminated during the “Cooking for Horsetown U.S.A.” episode, the differences just between her season (Season 6) and the Back to Win season (Season 12) are enough that in some cases it could be throwing people off their game. At the same time, this is a season of second chances and that changes things too. People have an idea of what to expect in some ways, while also knowing that you can’t predict what will happen next.
Following her elimination from the MasterChef kitchen (or at least the airing of the episode where she was eliminated), we had the opportunity to speak to Shelly about her return to the series. Not only did we chat about what it was like to be back on MasterChef, but also what’s next.
MasterChef’s Shelly Flash talks about being part of the Back to Win season
Guilty Eats: What brought you back to the MasterChef kitchen?
Shelly Flash: “I was thinking how often do you get a second chance to do something that big? And I know that might be like the go-to but that literally was it. And then also, I knew I was at a different place in my culinary journey, my career, and just my maturity and like who I was and my point of view. I grew so much. I didn’t watch the seasons or anything like that. But I knew I grew as a professional and as a mom. I was in a different headspace and I felt like you know what, I need this money. The money will be great. The exposure for my business would be great. It just made sense.
And then there are so many things happening in my life at the time. The transitioning after COVID and what the eff is going on in my life. So I was like, you know what, God, okay, didn’t see this one coming. So it was one of those things like the stars aligned at that moment. And it made sense. And I think I could go out there as a different person. I didn’t want to go out there as the same person.”
GE: What was your favorite part of actually being back on MasterChef?
SF: “My favorite part was being able to showcase my culture in a very clear, concise way. The first time I didn’t really do it. I mean, I did it at but I wasn’t as grounded in it. Like the judge was saying things to me and I would second guess things. And it’s because I wasn’t as steadfast and as confident. So the fact that I was really able to big up Jamaica, big up single moms, entrepreneurs, just the culture and just being a black woman, and it was received so well, like they got it especially in the climate that we are in that was my favorite part.”
GE: How different was it being on the Back to Win season versus your original season, Season 6?
SF: “I would say the biggest difference was that, and this is something you guys don’t get to see, we had phones. We had phones and we were kind of all intermingling a lot more. My season was obviously one where no one had any precursors. We were all there for the first time. We had nothing to reference. We weren’t foreshadowing anything. There wasn’t anybody that thought they knew what the other person did. And it was fresh. We were present, you know, there wasn’t any agendas or angles.
This time it was a little different because you’re coming in where everybody feels that they know everybody based off of something that they watched, or they come in here trying to foreshadow because all of my season we did this. I’m like no, it’s technically the first time because this is new for everybody in this. The biggest thing is I don’t feel that people were as present.
It was like everyone was trying to figure stuff out versus just being there. And that was the biggest difference that I noticed, where I was just like no, you really don’t know what they’re going to do. Like don’t think you know because the moment you think you know that’s it.
Originally, we really didn’t get to talk much. We were always silenced. Because they wanted that authenticity and that suspense, but this time we were all with each other all the time, always on our phones. It was a different time. So that was a little different.”
GE: How would you describe this season?
SF: “I would say Back to Win is good to see fan favorites, different storylines, different backgrounds, and a place where you can showcase your culinary growth and journey. It’s a dope before and after. So it’s cool to see where they are now. And you can say wow, like this is where this person came from because they gave you a little glimpse of what they are and where they are now. So it’s good to see that trajectory and see the growth in a contestant. If you want to see a show that’s gonna let you see that it’s not always bells and whistles. Instead, you get to see the trajectory of somebody.”
GE: Would you do it again?
SF: “Hell yeah. 100% Let me say something. I would come back and I would shut it down. And I wouldn’t doubt myself and I wouldn’t pick certain things to try to replicate. I know what the hell I know, I would stick to my gut and ignore all of the voices and really quiet all the noise. And because I can cook. My lines show it every week when we do our pop ups. We sell Jamaican tacos. We’re cooking for LinkedIn Corporate. We’re always doing corporate events. We’re doing private parties. We’re about to open up a space downtown [Brooklyn]. People are really gravitating towards the food.
Some of the food I was able to do on the show, and some new things, and I’m like damn Shells like this was not a mistake. So even how things played out, at least I was able to gain a new fan base and share what we do with people. But no 110% If they called me tomorrow, I will go back with a vengeance.”
GE: Are there any other cooking competitions that you would love to be a part of?
SF: “I don’t even know if it’s still on but Cutthroat Kitchen seems fun as hell. I just love that messy shit. It’s hilarious and it’s like cooking with a damn iron. I just have so much fun when I cook. And to be in that kind of element where you can just laugh at yourself falling on your face, you know? And it’s just that’s what food is all about, like not the serious stuff that we get into but I’m just such a fun person. I’m a dancer, singer, cracking jokes. Like I’m that flawed chef. I’m that everyday person at the house where like, ‘did I forget to put the chicken with my fried chicken dish’ like I mess up. I’m human. And I love shows that show that, that figure it out-ness and that show we are not perfect.
And I love that because you know the MasterChef brand is perfection like Master Chef. But let’s think about it. We’re not and I would love to do something that would just be able to show that food is fun, food is love, and you can have a good time doing it. And I would love to be a part of something like that or even I used to love Supermarket Sweep back in the day. And I love how Guy [Fieri] does it with like the cooking. I can shop my ass off… I know a brand from across the street so those two shows definitely Supermarket Sweep [Guy’s Grocery Games] and definitely Cutthroat Kitchen.”
GE: I have to ask what’s next?
SF: “Right now we are in the process of moving to downtown Brooklyn. It’s bustling. So we’ll be doing a shared kitchen space, delivery service, product line that’s all going to be coming out as of September. And then I was so fortunate to be selected for Food Network’s Food and Wine Festival. So I’m one of the talent Chefs for tacos and tequilas after dark. I’m the only black woman. I’m the only person from the West Indies. I’m the only mom. It’s all men. So I’m so happy to represent women. And women of color. I’m really excited about that. Then some other stuff I can’t really talk about.”
GE: Finally, we have to ask – what is your guilty eat?
SF: “My guilty eat, and nobody better come for me, is McDonald’s fries cooked to order with a Hi-C Orange. I eat it and enjoy it in my car. That’s my guilty pleasure. I could eat it five days a week. And I just sit in my car and I enjoy them but it has to be cooked to order. So yeah, go to McDonald’s and ask for fries cooked to order because they’re fresh and they’re amazing. Judge later culinary world.
People think that because we’re chefs that we cook all the time. You cannot replicate a McDonald’s fries. If you can, I need you to come to Brooklyn. I will pay you to show me how to do that but you cannot replicate that fry. Whatever factory it comes out of, we can’t do it.”
If you want to know more about Shelly and what’s next for her following her MasterChef return, check out her Instagram account and make sure if you are in Brooklyn you give her tacos a try!