MasterChef Season 12: Where Are The Contestants Now?

The coalescence of speed, skill, and creativity drives amateur home cooks in a tough competition on ‘MasterChef.’ The cooking show features 20 participants in a series of challenges designed to test their culinary capabilities. Released in 2022, season 12 of the reality television show features previous contestants who decide to compete again and walk away with a cash prize of $250,000. Fans have been curious to know more about the contestants at present.

Dara Yu is a Chef Instructor Now

After establishing herself as a young prodigy on ‘MasterChef Junior,’ Dara returned to test her skills once again. Only 20 when she returned to compete on ‘MasterChef: Back to Win,’ the young chef managed to highlight her prowess behind a stove excellently. Since winning, Dara has climbed more heights. She launched her pop-up restaurant Congee & Cruellers, where she serves customers her unique take on rice porridge. The YouTube and Instagram creator is also enjoying her win and success with her family.

Along with her friends and family, the television personality regularly jets off to scenic locations and imbibe new experiences. As the youngest winner of ‘MasterChef,’ Dara has also refined her skills in the kitchen. Previously, she worked at Dominique Ansel Bakery, Bouchon Bakery, AOC, Annisa, and Tasting Kitchen. She is currently the Chef Instructor at The Gourmandise School of Sweets & Savories. The baker has also graduated with high honors in Baking and Pastry Arts from The Culinary Institute of America Hyde Park.

Christian Green is an Entrepreneur Today

Christian mapped his journey from a semi-finalist in season 5 to the runner-up in season 12. Since his performance in the cooking competition, the Louisiana-based chef has delved into entrepreneurship and expanded his portfolio as a chef. In addition to working as a menu developer and consultant for brands and restaurants, Christian has also worked as the personal chef for New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson. The chef and father launched his cookbook titled, ‘Christian’s Southern Roots Cookbook.’ Besides his multi-faceted career, Christian has an online store where fans can purchase the award-winning chef’s spices.

Michael Silverstein is Focusing on His Culinary Skills

Undeterred by the minor slip-ups that led to his exit in season 10, Michael returned to the cooking competition in a feat to win the coveted prize once again. After successfully overcoming a series of challenges, Michael was able to place third on ‘MasterChef: Back to Win.’ While his feat in the competition has significantly contributed to his success, the television personality has also implemented several changes in his personal life to make the victory so special. Having struggled with weight, Michael had felt unmotivated and physically spent.

However, his determination allowed him to lose more than 80 pounds. Since then, he has dedicated his skills to refining his knowledge of weight loss and diets. Not just this, he has also authored cookbooks and shared his insights on keto diets. The chef’s latest authored work includes ‘New Keto: Dinner in 30.’ Besides this, the culinary trailblazer is involved in designing, renovating, and flipping family homes. Based in Los Angeles, Michael continues to embark on new adventures with his fiance, Jacob.

Shanika Patterson is Focusing on Her Career Now

Having made her mark on the judges in season 9, the culinary professional returned to season 12 and gained another chance at winning the top prize. After the semi-finale, the chef completed her training at the Culinary Institute of America at the Pearl. Based in San Antonio, Texas, she is currently displaying her skills at SNR Foods. Previously, Shanika was a Pastry Chef at Savor at The Culinary Institute of America. The television personality commands an ever-evolving following on Instagram. In addition to sharing her latest creations in the kitchen, Shanika shares lovely moments spent with family and friends on social media.

Emily Hallock is a Manager at Vital Proteins Today

While an elementary slip-up led to Emily’s elimination in season 9, the television personality returned with an undeterred resolve to win again. After competing in the semi-finals, Emily has continued to harness her abilities and display her acumen for cooking. She is accelerating her career trajectory simultaneously. Emily is currently the Manager of Consumer Insights at Vital Proteins.

Her work profile includes conducting foundational research to deliver key insights on consumer journey and consumer experience. The culinary extraordinaire also shares the latest recipes, demos, and tips on gardening and baking on her social media platforms. Besides her full-fledged career, Emily enjoys traveling and dining with her partner, John Pacci.

Willie Mike is a Food Demo Specialist Today

Image Credit: Willie Mike/Instagram

Despite facing challenges during the restaurant takeover challenge, Willie displayed a quick sense of understanding in the kitchen. After his elimination, the Houston-based event planner returned to exponentiate his culinary skills. He is currently working as a Food Demo Specialist for H.E.B. Besides this, he has also been working as a private chef and has even planned a food tour across the country. The traveling enthusiast also enjoys spending time with his family and loved ones.

Amanda Saab Has Her Own Bakery Now

Image Credit: Amanda Saab/Instagram

Amanda made history after she became the first hijab-clad woman to appear on ‘MasterChef.’ Since her success in the cooking competition, she has continued to solidify her name in the industry. The Tory Burch Foundation fellow has appeared in eminent publications like the New York Times and even made appearances on news segments. The Michigan native currently runs her bakery in Livonia called the Butter Bear Shop. Readers can also spot the recipes of her lip-smacking delicacies on her blog. Besides this, Amanda also enjoys spending time with her husband, Hussein, and their daughter, Hannah.

Derrick Fox Hosts a Podcast Now

Having proved his creativity and mettle in the kitchen once before, Derrick returned to season 12 to win the coveted prize. After the show came to a close, the television personality started expanding his work profile as a chef. In addition to displaying his skills at pop-up events, he has also worked as a chef in high-profile dinners and events. He has also partnered up with THOR Kitchen and has remained the brand ambassador for the business. The chef is also the host of ‘A Bunch of Losers’ podcast, where he invites previous contestants from the show to divulge unseen information. Besides this, Derrick enjoys domestic bliss with his wife, Kimberly Fox, and their furry friend.

Bowen Li Overlooks Operations at a Restaurant Today

After coming close to a win in season 9, Bowen decided to give his dreams another chance. Since season 12 came to a close, Bowen has solidified his name in the culinary industry. The young chef overlooks the operations of Bowen Bistro along with his husband, David Li. No longer behind the controls of an airplane, the television personality now deals with the fast-paced environment of a commercial kitchen. Currently based in Indiana, Bowen is also active on his Instagram account, where he regularly shares insights on cooking and posts snippets of his latest creations in the kitchen.

Brandi Mudd is an Instagram Influencer Now

Once an elementary school teacher, Brandi has since consistently displayed her skills as a culinary extraordinaire. After her performance on season 12, she worked on setting up a 50-person dinner in Brandenburg, Kentucky. She has even opened communal tables and helms a catering business called Southern Flair with Chef Brandi LLC. The Instagram influencer and TiKTok creator regularly shares snippets of her cooking process online with fans. On the personal front, the mother-of-three also enjoys domestic bliss with her family.

Fred Chang is a Travel Enthusiast Today

From whipping out dishes of premiere taste and quality to using his knowledge of Taiwanese flavors, Fred consistently displayed his dexterity in the kitchen throughout the season. After the show, he decided to branch out his work profile. So, in addition to continuing his passion for cooking and baking, he is also working as an Area Director of Revenue Management for hotels in Southern California.

He also established his blog called Freddy’s Harajuku, where he regularly writes about the new recipes and tips he has been developing. The Boston University alum is an adventurous spirit and loves traveling. Fred regularly steps out to explore new places and imbibe a variety of experiences.

Gabriel Lewis is a Private Chef Now

With his two-time stint at ‘MasterChef,’ Gabriel has consistently scaled his abilities in the culinary world. Having finished his training at Francis Tuttle’s School of Culinary Arts, Gabriel is currently working as a private chef and has even cooked for Sylvester Stallone. Not just this, he is also a photographer and works with his sister, Diyahna Lewis, at OKC Photos. The chef has authored a cookbook titled, ‘We Got Food at Home.’ Based in Oklahoma, Gabriel is an online personality and has collaborated with several eminent brands.

Brielle “Bri” Baker is a Food Photographer Today

Displaying her dexterity through presentation and plating, Brielle had managed to impress judges with her unique skills. After showcasing her talent in season 12, Brielle decided to juxtapose her love for food and her acumen for detail. Since then, the television personality has been working as a food photographer and private chef.

In addition to molding her love for food and photography, Brielle has expanded her portfolio as a chef. In her 20s, the reality TV star even held a pop-up at Skyspace in Los Angeles. Besides this, she collaborates with brands and restaurants and offers her services as a photographer. With a burgeoning following on Instagram, the Dallas-based chef continues to grow in several ways.

Shelly Flash is a Food Writer Now

After a mishap with dessert, Shelly ultimately walked out of the ‘MasterChef’ kitchen. Since her appearance, the Carribean Street Food expert has gone back to operating her Brooklyn-based restaurant. Shelly is the co-owner of 2 Girls & a Cookshop, a Jamaican tacos and street food mobile eatery. Along with her mother, Shelly has been running the catering service for six years. She also operates the ShellyFlash blog, where she posts her latest recipes. As a food writer and recipe developer, the television personality has been consistently scaling her professional abilities.

Tommy Walton is a Brand Ambassador Now

With intersectional interests and a flair for creativity, Tommy entered season 6 of the competition to display his quickness in the kitchen. He managed to maintain his performance through season 12 as well. Since the show, Tommy has continued to work as an artist and designed objects professionally. The drama enthusiast who had previously appeared on ‘The Cut,’ is currently a faculty member of The School of The Art Institute of Chicago.

He is also the chair of The Department of Design at the National Young Arts Foundation in Miami. Not just this, he is also the brand ambassador for Tommy Walton. Apart from his successful career in fashion and design, Tommy also enjoys traveling and cooking. The television personality regularly shares snippets of his work on social media.

Shayne Wells is Focusing on His Career Today

The Texan had returned to compete as an adult after previously starring on ‘MasterChef Junior’ at just 13 years old. The recent graduate has since worked in several functions and events. He has recently tied up with Chef Mike Newton from season 8 in a collaborative event. The television personality has worked on an event at Chef Mike Newton’s restaurant in Stephenville, Texas. Naturally, several professional opportunities lay ahead for the young chef.

Samantha Daily is an Instagram Influencer Now

In the hopes of displaying her versatility in the kitchen once again, Samantha returned to the hallowed halls of the ‘MasterChef’ kitchen. Unlike season 9, this time, she came equipped with the training she earned at the International Culinary Center in Manhattan under Chef Gordon Ramsay. Alas, an unexpected slip-up led Samantha to lose her spot in the competition.

Nevertheless, she has since returned to the culinary world and is slowly marking her presence. The chef worked in a restaurant in New York before she relocated to Iowa in 2020 to work as a Cake Decorator and Wedding Coordinator at The Bake Shoppe Des Moines. Also an Instagram influencer, Samantha regularly shares snippets of her work and life online. Apart from a flourishing career, she enjoys spending time with her partner, Calvin Dixon.

Alejandro Valdivia is a YouTube Creator Now

The professional outdoorsman and animal hunter returned to season 12 in a gist to win the coveted prize. However, his time on the season was short-lived. Nevertheless, he has still managed to grab several opportunities. The television personality is now an Instagram and YouTube creator. He also has an online store where fans and readers can find his recommended products.

Consistent with his culinary growth, Alejandro has even catered meals on movie sets. He has supplied food for the New York unit of ‘John Wick: Chapter 4,’ and the television series ‘Power.’ The reality TV star also enjoys spending time with his girlfriend and dog, Mako.

Caitlin “Cate” Meade is a Businesswoman Now

After displaying her passion for cooking on season 8, the Chicago-based nutritionist returned to display her skills once again. Alas, the chef failed to rise to the top. Nevertheless, the culinary trailblazer still offers her services to clients across Chicago. The chef offers her home-cooked meal services to a wide range of clientele.

In addition to her booming business in meal services, Caitlin is also working as a private chef and even offers cooking classes for young learners. Besides this, the outdoorsman and hunting enthusiast also overlooks the operations of Cate’s Kitchen Fit, an establishment she founded to deliver high-quality and nutritious meals.

Stephen Lee is a Private Chef Now

While the chef managed to stand up to the expectations of the judges in season 6 and compete in the finale, he failed to fare well in this iteration. After a minute mistake led him askew, Stephen became the first contestant to be eliminated from ‘MasterChef: Back to Win.’

Nevertheless, the chef hasn’t let his slip-up shadow his blooming career. Based in California, Stephen is currently working as a Private Chef and Caterer. In addition to offering his culinary services to different clients, he owns Food Dept., a unique dining experience with locally sourced produce and a specially curated menu.

Read More: MasterChef Season 10: Where Are They Now?