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Rochester MasterChef contestant among the top six headed for London

Rochester MasterChef contestant among the top six headed for London

Rochester’s own MasterChef contestant Shari Mukherjee advanced to the show’s top six in an episode that aired last night on FOX.

Mukherjee, who is sworn to secrecy regarding the details of the already-filmed show, celebrated the episode with friends and family during a viewing party at the soon-to-open Figue store and kitchen.

A mix of awe and joy filled the air as people lined up to congratulate Mukherjee, and share in the local fare — including goat milk chocolate chip cookies, decadent cheeses, and infused seltzer mixers.

In the episode, the 21st of the season, family members were invited on to provide comfort and support. For Mukherjee, that person was her husband, Piyush, who inspired her decision to incorporate seafood into her dish.

The move, though risky, proved advantageous, as Chef Gordon Ramsay was impressed by the “delicious take of the bouillabaisse,” especially given the limited time-frame. Mukherjee became the first contestant in this week’s episode to be spared from elimination.

Looking back at the episode, Piyush recalled the challenges their family faced as Shari battled across the MasterChef competition.

“The hardest part was not being able to communicate with her," he said.

Shari, too, recounted the difficulty of the particular episode: “For me this was a really emotional episode; I just remember where I was at that time,” she said. “You know, you’re away from your family; I have two young boys and re-seeing this just takes me back to the emotions I felt at that time.”

Now in the top six, Mukherjee heads across the Atlantic for the next episode to cook in Chef Ramsay’s London restaurant. The experience is a new one for Mukherjee, a self-taught chef who mostly cooks at home.

Above, you can watch a trailer for next week’s episode.

While we still don’t know how Mukherjee fares in the final stretch, already she has developed a strong fan base — locally and across the country.

“It makes me really proud — to see someone, you know, just pursue their dream,” said Aaron Maas a cousin of Mukherjee.


Nicholas Molina is a writer, traveler and food junkie living in Rochester.

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