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MASTERCHEF: MEET SAMImage by FOX

MASTERCHEF
MEET SAM
By Sammi Turano

Tell me a bit about yourself.

I'm 37 years old and I've always loved to cook. When I was 14 I started doing all the grocery shopping and cooking for my family and never looked back!



What made you decide to go on MasterChef?

I'm obsessed with food and cooking! I love to do long multiday cooking projects and I wanted to learn from the brilliant judges and put my cooking skills to the test!




What was the experience like?

It was intense! I'm a pretty relaxed cook. I take my time in the kitchen trying to coax amazing flavors out of the best ingredients in the world, so cooking with a beating clock while the judges yelled at me was definitely an adjustment! 




What is your signature dish?

I love making arancini. They are deep fried rice balls traditionally made in Italy with leftover risotto. Mine have 4 layers! In the middle is diced mozzarella and pecorino cheese in a little bit of cream. Around that is a layer of ground veal and sausage. Then the rice and finally a crispy layer of bread crumbs. I then assemble it like a savory ice cream sundae! The riceball is like the ice cream. I then pour on tomato sauce and a nice dollop of my homemade ricotta cheese! 




What is one thing you want to learn how to cook?

I would love get some more baking skills! I want to learn to make Indian Paratha bread and a perfect French butter croissant!




What would people be surprised to know about you?

I performed in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew in front of the Queen of England when I was 11 and I once made risotto for 25 people in the middle of a sand storm in the Nevada Black Rock Desert.





What are you watching on TV these days?

I watch a lot of cooking shows! All of Chef Ramsay's shows of course but also: Good Eats, F*ck That's Delicious, Mind of a Chef and anything with Anthony Bourdain!

In the non-food category I like Game of Thrones, Mr. Robot, American Gods, John Oliver and Archer! I also watch a ton of Sports. Mostly Washington Wizards and Baltimore Orioles! 



I also really love listening to podcasts while I cook. My favorites are Tony Kornheiser, 99% invisible, Zach Lowe, Jalen and Jacoby, Hardcore History, Ronna and Beverly, The Best Show, 538, Still Processing, You Must Remember This, anything on the Ringer network especially if Joe House or Juliet Litman are talking about food! My podcast obsession is a little out of control! 




Anything else you want to tell America?



When I'm not cooking I'm a Story Pirate! I go into schools and help kids write stories. Then my friends and I turn those stories into a sketch comedy show!

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