Kelsey Murphy, MasterChef Legends winner, pushed herself with each challenge, interview

MASTERCHEF: L-r: Judge Joe Bastianich with contestant Kelsey in the “Finale Curtis Stone” airing Wednesday, Sept 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: FOX.
MASTERCHEF: L-r: Judge Joe Bastianich with contestant Kelsey in the “Finale Curtis Stone” airing Wednesday, Sept 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: FOX. /

After completing a four-course meal of a lifetime, Kelsey Murphy raised the MasterChef Legends winner trophy. While the finale of three women competing for the title was a first for the popular FOX television culinary competition, Kelsey found a way to shine in every challenge. In some ways, this mom and essential worker was determined to rise to the occasion.

Anyone who watches MasterChef appreciates that the premise can be inspirational for home cooks. While challenge after challenge has viewers marveling at the culinary creations, the reality is that each plate serves as a reminder that delicious food does not require a chef’s coat. With desire, dedication and determination, anyone can earn that title of chef.

Recently, FoodSided spoke with Kelsey Murphy about her MasterChef Legends experience, what it means to be the MasterChef Legends winner and her future plans after capturing the title. While the busy mom and physical therapist knows how to tackle it all, she is never afraid to set the next goal even higher.

Fans of MasterChef Legends saw that Kelsey immediately made an impression. As she said, she made a choice to go out, cook a beautiful monkfish and make sure that it is perfect. While she felt that her first win was surprising, she took the opportunity to push herself further.

Kelsey shared, “I always wanted to like get better. I never wanted to live in the middle.” When she didn’t win or place in the top three, she just pushed herself even more.

From that desire to achieve to her ability to do “18 things at once,” Kelsey said that her co-workers often comment that she “projects calmness.” Even if she is “freaking out in the inside,” no one can see that panic in the moment. Whether that approach is clutch or pure determination, the sentiment helps her stay on task and achieve regardless of the pressure surrounding her.

In some ways, Kelsey embraced a strategy to help her stay on track during each challenge. When the judges would come to her station and pepper her with questions, she would flip the script.

Instead of allowing Gordon Ramsay or Joe Bastianich to frazzle her, she would have a question prepared to ask them. It allowed her to focus and avoid the self-doubt in her dish. Constructive criticism can be the key to success.

But, there were times when the judges’ advice was helpful. Kelsey recalled a moment she cut into her lamb and thought it was under-cooked. Gordon Ramsay happened to be at her station and said that the lamb “looked good.” As Kelsey commented, “they certainly can’t pull me up there and tell me that it is raw.” Those little moments can make a huge difference in the competition.

Which MasterChef Legends guest judge had Kelsey Murphy turning into a fangirl?

Throughout this MasterChef competition, the highly acclaimed guest judges could make anyone a little weak in the knees. For Kelsey, she was in awe of several chefs.

When Roy Choi appeared in the kitchen, Kelsey admitted that she just wanted to put down the knives and bask in that fangirl moment. Having been a huge fan of the movie Chef as well as Choi’s food television shows, she would have loved to just sit and chat with Chef Choi.

At the same time, Kelsey said that the challenge with Niki Nakayama was the most inspirational. Even though she doesn’t often work with those flavors, Kelsey said, “I learned so much from watching her and her demonstration. The way that she talked about the culture, tradition behind the menu, and honoring the ingredients was inspirational.” Even though she felt “out of my comfort zone,” Kelsey wanted to impress and to cook with passion.

Though a cavalcade of highly accomplished chefs appeared on MasterChef Legends, this season set itself apart with a first, a finale featuring three women. When asked about the finale, Kelsey spoke poignantly.

For her, Kelsey felt “honored to get to cook alongside of them. We all just wanted to cook our food for the judges and show everyone what we are capable of accomplishing.” That sense of camaraderie was clear in the MasterChef Legends finale. Even though Kelsey thought that Suu was her biggest competition with her Burmese cuisine, everyone wanted each other to succeed on their own merit.

In many ways, Kelsey, as well as the other women, stand as a reminder to embrace those opportunities. Kelsey believes that following her passions can make her a better mom, wife and friend. That idea of putting yourself on the list is often overlooked. While many people can “get so lost in that day-to-day life, focusing on the things that we love to do can make us a better person and can help us show up in all those other moments.”

Now that she has earned the MasterChef Legends winner crown, what’s next for Kelsey Murphy. She would like to pursue something in the culinary world. While opening a restaurant might not necessarily be in the cards, she would like to share her food passions with others. From a YouTube Channel to teaching classes, the possibilities for a bright culinary career are many.

And, for anyone who has wanted to taste one of those MasterChef dishes, there will be an opportunity in the near future. MasterChef is partnering with Grubhub to offer some of that delicious food. More details on that offering to come soon.

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Which MasterChef Legends challenge was your favorite this season? Did you predict Kelsey Murphy to win the title early in the season?