MasterChef’s Gabriel Lewis on returning for another chance to win – Interview

MASTERCHEF: L-R: Contestants Gabriel and Emily in the “Tag Team” episode airing Wednesday, Aug 17 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: FOX.
MASTERCHEF: L-R: Contestants Gabriel and Emily in the “Tag Team” episode airing Wednesday, Aug 17 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: FOX. /

MasterChef took on a “Tag Team” challenge in episode 12 of the Back to Win season. And it was no ordinary tag team challenge as our chefs had to make three dishes straight off of a Gordon Ramsay menu.

Not only did they have to make risotto, but they also had to make a beef wellington, and a dessert. It was a three course challenge in the MasterChef kitchen. And while there were two teams that struggled with making these dishes, in the end it was the team of Emily and Gabriel that found themselves truly in the bottom.

Ultimately, it was Gabriel Lewis who ended up being eliminated and seeing his MasterChef: Back to Win dreams come to an end.

We had a chance to talk to Gabriel after his elimination episode and we asked him about what it was like to be back for another chance to win, what the tag team challenge was actually like, and even what his favorite guilty eat is.

Guilty Eats talks to MasterChef’s Gabriel Lewis after his “Tag Team” elimination

MASTERCHEF: Contestant Gabriel in the “Back to Win: Southern Fusion with Guest Chef Tiffany Derry” episode airing Wednesday, July 20 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: FOX. /

Guilty EatsWhat convinced you to return to MasterChef for this new season?  

Gabriel Lewis: Honestly, it was the fandom! They have been asking me [to return] since my elimination episode. And so I got an email that said “hey, we need to talk to you about a few things. Some opportunities came up we’d like to see if you’re interested.” I gave them the same answer I gave everybody else, I was like “in a heartbeat!” For me, it was an opportunity to cook alongside of and learn from those who I watched and got me into wanting to compete on the show in the first place.

GE: So…would you do it again?

Gabriel: I think two is enough for me! If I’m being honest, MasterChef is family. They’re always going to be family, whether that’s on the production side, on the judging side, or my fellow contestants. I would love to do, you know, collaborative things. I just did a collaborative dinner with Amanda Saab! We did a pop up in Michigan a few weeks ago. Maybe I can judge an episode or something, that would be awesome. But I think my MasterChef apron competition days are done.

GE: Okay, so MasterChef may be over, but are there any other culinary competitions that you would want to be part of?

Gabriel: I am competitive when it comes to food, always. I want to challenge myself against who I consider the best. Even doing something on the scale of MasterChef or Top Chef, I would pursue it.

GE: You mentioned judging. Are there any shows that you would love to be a judge on, besides MasterChef?

Gabriel: Oh, yes. Chopped? Definitely. I’ve been a big shot fan since I was…shoot, I think 9 years old! So Chopped for sure. Beat Bobby Flay, just because I know that Scottish Francis had went on and actually beat Bobby Flay. Even just popping in to say hi on Hell’s Kitchen and seeing what the chefs are going through on that side of the fence.

GE: What was it like for you to be back in front of the judges, especially Gordon Ramsay, after everything?

Gabriel: Honestly, it almost felt like putting on an old pair of shoes. You know? It’s something familiar. It’s a place you’ve been and it’s taken you a long way. It was definitely a bit more pressure this time around because, not to quote Tupac, but I felt like all eyes were on me on that one.

GE: So I hate doing that whole “what would you do differently,” but I do want to know what was the tag team challenge really like, on your end? What was that like for you?

Gabriel: Honestly, it was a lot of conflicting ideas on how to get certain things done. By no means do I think Emily was a bad tag team partner because we did end up getting the dishes done. But it was a struggle to make sure that I did not really hop back into the state of mind I was in on my previous season’s tag team challenge. I got the job done and made sure we came up with a beautiful platter, but I hated how I felt afterward.

GE: I’ve seen your social media and you share some stunning dishes, they are gorgeous! What is your favorite dish to put together? 

Gabriel: Thank you, that’s very kind. Probably, the dish that I had just done with Amanda on this pop up, which was my seared Atlantic salmon with avocado puree, served with fresh basil oil and a touch of microgreens. To me, that’s a very simple dish, but it’s elegant. It pops up the plate with nice color and it’s just very clean and light. It doesn’t leave you heavy.

GE: I have to ask, what’s next for you? That you can tell us. 

Gabriel: I think not even 24 hours after I was eliminated, I met Cat Cora, which was remarkable. I went from cooking with chefs I idolize to cooking alongside a chef I idolize. That has led to a commercial for Ring doorbells and opportunities for cooking for a couple of different celebrities. Currently, I’m cooking for Sylvester Stallone while he’s in Oklahoma filming a series for Paramount. I’m also working on my first cookbook that I’m hoping to release by the end of the year.

GE: Congratulations on all of that! That’s amazing. Since we are called Guilty Eats, my question I ask everyone is, what’s your guilty eat?

Gabriel: I really like good, kind of hole-in-the-wall, quick 10-minute Chinese food. I mean, just give me a good chicken Romaine, beef, and broccoli.

GE: Is there one more chef, like the ultimate chef that you want to either cook for or cook with?

Gabriel: That’s a good question! I would probably have to give it to either Wolfgang Puck or Thomas Keller. But my top pick is Marcus Samuelsson. We have similar flavor profiles. Those, I think, are my top three.

If you want to follow Gabriel’s journey post-MasterChef, check out his social media here.

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