Here’s What the Winner of Each Season of ‘MasterChef’ Is Doing Now
Over the years, MasterChef has helped catapult the careers of talented at-home chefs and has seen multiple return winners over the past 12 seasons. After witnessing each winner’s triumphant success and their unique approach to cooking, one can’t help but wonder: Where are the Masterchef winners now, and what have they been up to since taking home the coveted title?
Based on the British series of the same name, the show aired its first season on FOX in 2010 and has been capturing the attention of professional and novice chefs, food-obsessed individuals, and everyone in between ever since. With world-renowned chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, Aarón Sánchez, Joe Bastianich, and Christina Tosi as the show’s judges, MasterChef quickly became a proving ground for those looking to jumpstart their career in culinary arts and make a name for themselves on the biggest televised stage possible. And now, 13 years later, the show is still a favorite amongst viewers everywhere.
As season 13 prepares to bring in a new set of chefs to go head-to-head for their chance at the title, we decided to take a stroll down memory lane to see what the past 12 season’s winners are up to now.
Whitney Miller — Season 1
As one of the youngest chefs in Season 1, 22-year-old Whitney Miller was originally portrayed as the soft-spoken, likable contestant who immediately put herself in a position to take the whole competition. It should come as no surprise that the “Pastry Princess” would go on to do meaningful things with her talent including recipe development, blog posts, and content creation for companies like SousVide Supreme, Clean Eating, Southern Living, Self, and Flavors.
Chosen as one of TJ Maxx’s Hero Women in 2017, Whitney’s stacked resume also includes authoring cookbooks such as Modern Hospitality: Simple Recipes with Southern Charm (which has a forward written by none other than Gordon Ramsey himself), and Whitney Miller’s New Southern Table.
Most recently, Whitney hosts satellite media tours for food and cookware companies as well as works as a food stylist for companies like Hampton Inn by Hilton, creating immaculate food dishes for their menus. She currently lives in Franklin, Tennessee with her husband Ryan and two sons, and can be booked as a food stylist for photo shoots and food shows.
Jennifer Behm — Season 2
The true underdog of the MasterChef series, Jennifer Behm began the second season by finding herself in the hot seat seven different times, literally playing with fire and risking being sent home. Her passion and determination would ultimately be the key factors which led to her victory. And, when coupled with her competitive spirit and fast improving cooking skills, Behm created the recipe necessary for success.
After her winning stint on the show, Jennifer went on to do several cooking events and demonstrations as well as start her own catering company, Pink Martini Catering. She also runs a restaurant with her husband, Julio, named Red Fin Crudo, where they fuse Spanish, Cuban, Moroccan, and Caribbean culinary styles in Providence, Rhode Island.
Christine Hà — Season 3
Perhaps the contestant with the biggest challenge from day one, Christine Hà lost her vision due to an autoimmune disorder 10 years before deciding to put her master’s degree on hold to audition for MasterChef.
As the first blind contestant in the show’s history, Hà quickly needed to prove that she belonged in the kitchen. Despite her quiet start in the competition, she showed her ability to evolve and become a powerhouse, passing all of the rounds in the audition process and ultimately winning the season.
Today, Hà is the author of Recipes from My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food, and has been featured in several Ted Talks where she discusses how being blind changed her entire perspective on life. Christine is currently the executive chef of Xin Chào, a neighborhood-style Vietnamese restaurant in Texas, and has been working hard to reopen her own restaurant, The Blind Goat — a modern Vietnamese eatery, which was awarded “Best New Restaurant in America” by the James Beard Foundation in 2020.
Additionally, Hà and co-chef, Tony Nguyen, were both named finalists in the James Beard Award for “Best Chef” in the Texas region in 2022, as well as a semi-finalist for “Outstanding Chef in America” in 2023 for their work at Xin Chào. Currently, the chef lives with her husband of 13 years in Spring Branch, Texas, where she plans to reopen The Blind Goat.
Luca Manfe — Season 4
The likable and affable Luca Manfe not only was the first male winner of the MasterChef series, but he was also the first returning contestant to win the entire competition (he originally auditioned for Season 3). His slow start in the competition was in no way a foreshadowing of the type of chef he was capable of being, as he would go on to have consistently great performances in both individual and team challenges, and simultaneously solidified himself as a fan-favorite with a heart of gold.
Manfe’s undeniable talent and celebrity would not only pave the way to his success within MasterChef, but it would also give him the opportunity to launch his own cookbook, My Italian Dinner: Favorite Family Recipes. After winning the show, Manfe opened an Italian-based food truck under the moniker The Lucky Fig, which he unfortunately decided to shut down due to investor challenges as well as a lack of demand for a fine Italian cuisine in food truck form.
Courtney Lapresi — Season 5
Not well liked by her fellow contestants, Courtney Lapresi’s early success in season 5 did not help her apparently polarizing position within the competition. Although her competitors vilified her, Lapresi would consistently prove her place and go on to be one of the most creative chefs, winning the first Apron and the first Mystery Box of the season.
Post MasterChef domination, Lapresi released her cookbook, Everyday Fancy: 65 Elegant Recipes for Meals, Snacks, Sweets, and Drinks, with a foreword written by restaurateur, Joe Bastianich. While Lapresi unfortunately no longer works within the culinary world, she still shares her love for food through her social media, and was recently reported to be working as a salesperson for Tesla.
Claudia Sandoval — Season 6
Originally from San Diego, California, Claudia Sandoval learned how to cook at a very young age from both her mother and grandmother. Born into a family from Mazatlán, Sinaloa, it was important to Claudia that she show her daughter just how impactful Latinos are in society, and she used MasterChef as her shining example by quickly gaining the judges’ approval.
Coming off her success in Season 6, Claudia started a culinary consulting and catering company, Claudia’s Cocina, which also led to publishing her own book, Claudia’s Cocina: A Taste of Mexico. She also returned to our TV screens as a judge for various shows including Chopped, Chopped Jr., MasterChef Latino Telemundo, and is currently a judge for MasterChef Latino Estrella TV.
Most recently, in 2022, Claudia recorded one season of a food travel show named Taste of the Border, where she travels the U.S-Mexico border, exploring overlooked border towns and eating the food along the way.
Shaun O’Neale — Season 7
One of the strongest cooks of the season and an absolute juggernaut of a competitor, Shaun O’Neale did not hide his confidence and cocky demeanor, nor did he back down from rivalries — even if it meant losing a friend in the process. His passion was regularly shown as arrogance and his opinionated personality fueled the fire on numerous occasions, though he never lost focus throughout the competition.
After winning MasterChef, O’Neale’s celebrity status and culinary skills won him appearances back on Seasons 8, 9, and 10 of MasterChef, as well as MasterChef Celebrity Showdown and Best in Food on the Travel Channel. His TV appearances did not stop there though. O’Neale was also featured as a celebrity guest judge on several episodes of Home and Family on The Hallmark Channel, and starred in multiple commercials for MorningStar Farms, where he made chef-inspired vegetarian meals.
Dino Angelo Luciano — Season 8
A master at telling his story through the dishes he cooks, Dino Angelo Luciano quickly became one of the most memorable contestants in the show’s history through his ability to stay consistent in demonstrating his growth each episode.
The chef’s passion would ultimately lead him to victory in Season 8, and with his new found celebrity, he would take his skills to Arizona for a brief stint at Phoenix’s Muse and Market in 2017 before finding himself in Montreal where he opened a small, French-Canadian restaurant in Québec named Le Mariachi.
He would later work in partnership with chef Athiraj Phrasavath to develop a plant-based Thaiwaiian menu for The Farsides, a restaurant in Montreal featuring authentic Thai and Hawaiian delicacies, as well as help a number of other vegan restaurants develop their menus.
Gerron Hurt — Season 9
The first Black chef MasterChef winner, Gerron Hurt was a true comeback story after finding himself on the chopping block several times. Despite his rocky start, Hurt’s true talent was displayed and he would eventually become one of the strongest competitors of Season 9.
After winning MasterChef in 2018, Hurt spent the next year setting up the launch of his food truck, Southern Ego, featuring his widely popular fried chicken. Fans of Hurt and his food truck traveled from far and wide to Dubuque, Iowa. Unfortunately though, his business ultimately could not survive the Covid-19 pandemic.
Most recently, Hurt became a father to a beautiful baby girl in 2020, and has worked to provide private dining experiences and cooking lessons via his company, Family on a Plate — which focuses on getting families together to bond in the kitchen.
Dorian Hunter — Season 10
A true lone wolf, Dorian Hunter was a frontrunner from the start of Season 10 and did not let up through victory. Perhaps the strongest home cook of the season, she was known to be very consistent and never in the hot seat, though she did struggle with team challenges and managing her emotions from time to time.
After solidifying herself as the first Black female winner of the show (as well as the oldest) in 2019, Hunter has stayed busy perfecting recipes for the cookbook she has been working on. Additionally, her website offers catering services for weddings, corporate and social events, and even highlights her dedication to cancer research after the unfortunate passing of her mother in 2017 due to breast cancer. She stays active with her social media following and consistently provides food for her community, as well as competes in other local food competitions in her area.
Kelsey Murphy — Season 11
Since her win, Murphy has been catering private events as well as appearing in her own cooking segments on local morning television where she highlights her favorite seasonal recipes. Most recently, Murphy has been working on a partnership with GrubHub, bringing her MasterChef dishes to diners all over the country. Her newest business venture, Inspo, is also set to open soon inside Fishers Test Kitchen, where her menu is based on foods that she has been inspired by thus far in her journey.
Dhara Yu — Season 12
Fast forward to Season 12 of MasterChef and Yu officially became the youngest contestant in the show’s history at the age of 20 (beating out Whitney Miller of season 1), and the second Asian-American to win MasterChef after Christine Hà in Season 3.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Yu was invited to join a special season of MasterChef, titled Back to Win, where past contestants return for another chance of winning the coveted title of MasterChef. Of course, Yu took home the grand prize of $1 million against cooks with far more experience than her, making her the youngest to do so.
Today, Yu is 21 years old and opening her first pop-up, Congee & Crullers, focusing on rice porridge and Chinese doughnuts in honor of her grandmother’s home cooking.