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Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

Est. 2014

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Rochester woman to appear on MasterChef

Rochester woman to appear on MasterChef

Shari Mukherjee admits cooking has not always come easy.

In fact, at one point, her husband went as far as submitting an application on her behalf to the TV series, “Worst Cooks in America.”

“We still have the email!” she exclaims.

Ten years later, and through lots of trial and error, Mukherjee has become a self-taught culinary whiz. And next week, the Rochester mother of two will get the chance to compete on a show with a much different title.

Mukherjee has been selected to appear on season 10 of “MasterChef,” the FOX reality show hosted by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

“It has actually been a dream of mine since I saw the first episode 10 years ago,” she told us via email.

Mukherjee’s unlikely journey to the national stage started shortly after marrying her Indian-born husband. As she tells it, her goal initially was to try and win over his parents, who were “a bit nervous” about their son marrying someone from a different part of the world.

“My mother-in-law was worried that my husband would be destined to a life of bland chicken and tasteless salads,” said Mukherjee, who grew up about 20 miles outside of Rochester in the small town of Millville. “So, I was determined to prove her wrong.”

In the process of trying to win the affection of her in-laws, Mukherjee began to discover her love for cooking. Today, she blogs about her latest culinary creations under the name Spiced Up Mom.

“I consider cooking my art,” she said. “There are limitless things I can experiment with and try — that's what I really love.”

Season 10 of MasterChef debuts Wednesday night. Mukherjee will make her debut on the show the following week, on June 5. That night, a viewing party will be held at Little Thistle Brewing from 7 to 8 p.m.

Asked whether she was ready to take the heat from Ramsay, a host known for his fiery personality, Mukherjee said you can never be fully prepared — though she thinks her experience as a mom will go a long way.

“I'm used to being yelled at. I'm used to someone throwing my food. I'm used to cooking while someone is talking to me or distracting me,” she said. “So, I guess, in a way, I can say that my kids have prepared me for this once-in-a-lifetime moment with Chef Ramsay.”

Sean Baker is a Rochester journalist and the founder of Med City Beat.

Cover photo courtesy FOX

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