‘MasterChef USA’ is an American cooking reality series that has kept the audiences hooked with its exquisite cuisines prepared by home-cooks. It is a golden ticket for the contestants to be guided, polished, and sometimes intimidated into being the best version of themselves. Season 2 premiered on June 6, 2011, and came without the illustrious cookbook deal for the first time.
The winner of this edition is a typical example for the show to prove how an amateur has as much chance of being victorious as someone who has been pursuing the craft for years. Irrespective of a non-culinary background, one only needs passion and potential for the trade. We got intrigued to find out what has the winner has been up to? And where is the runner up now? Here is everything we know!
Winner: Jennifer Behm
Jennifer Behm came to the show as former Miss USA and realtor, both appreciable but having no connection to the competition series. Initially, the three-judge panel, Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, and Joe Bastianich, could clearly see her struggling to curate above-average dishes. But she did not pay heed to the naysayers and proved her mettle with sheer determination and ability to learn from her mistakes.
— Jenny Behm-Lazzarini (@ChefJennifer13) September 20, 2018
After winning the prestigious title and an enormous prize of $250,000, she could finally turn her dream of cooking for a crowd of people into reality. In November 2011, she launched her catering company, Pink Martini Catering, that provides its services on both the east and west coast. After getting married to Julio Lazzarini, a chef-owner of Orillas Tapas Bar & Restaurant in Wilmington, she partnered with him and opened Red Fin Crudo + Kitchen in 2015. Jennifer frankly shares her story of success.
According to her, winning ‘MasterChef’ did not miraculously land opportunities into her lap. She had to shove her way through by cooking at festivals and events like The James Beard House, the National Mushroom Festival, Saborea Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands Winemakers Dinners, to name a few. The FOX Network’s show also ingrained in her the confidence to motivate others into following their passion. In addition to running successful businesses, she has also been a motivational speaker for almost a decade.
Runner Up: Adrien Nieto
Back when he appeared in season 2, Adrien Nieto was unacquainted with professional cooking but was passionate and persistent to excel at it. His journey on ‘MasterChef’ was not as smooth as one would imagine as being yelled at by the celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, on national television can be quite humiliating. Often at the Bottom Three in the show, the Ventura County-native came really close to winning the coveted title prize, and many believed his meal-course to be far superior to Behm’s.
Adrien turned his “almost” win into a successful career path. For a brief period, Adrien worked as a server at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in Oxnard.In 2014, Adrien joined “frank.” as the co-chef. The Michelin star restaurant was founded, in 2012, by his ‘MasterChef’ competitor Jennie Kelley who teamed up with Ben Starr from the show. This Texas diner has been declared one of the “most difficult” places to get a reservation in America by the Chicago Tribune.
Not much is known about the other ventures that Adrien delved into after being declared the second-best on the iconic cooking show. He is hardly ever active on his social media accounts but whenever posts on it, it either entails some exquisite cuisine that he has prepared or an aesthetically pleasing picture of nature.