Escoffier Student Shows His Skills At MasterChef Tryouts

Student Michael Williams has always wanted to share his cooking with the world and have his food be critiqued by complete strangers. In order to share his passion and recipes with other food lovers, he decided to try out for MasterChef.

Having this be his second year trying out in Philadelphia he went into the auditions this time looking to have fun and show off his new skills. Michael made chicken francaise with tarragon orzo pasta and sautéed green beans with toasted pine nuts. He chose this dish because it was the dish he made for his now wife 14 years ago, that made her fall in love with him. Making it to the first round of tryouts, we sat down with Michael to hear about that day at the MasterChef auditions.

Escoffier: You recently tried out for MasterChef, what was that experience like?
Michael: This is my second time trying out and it was still nerve-racking. Trying to present yourself on a plate and wanting total perfection isn’t easy. The overall experience is fun because you get to communicate with your peers and see all different types of culinary backgrounds. Being in a single room with all those culinarians is always great because you get to compare your culinary background with theirs.

Escoffier: What was the competition like?
Michael: You have three minutes to plate the dish and after that you can’t touch it. They then come around to take pictures and taste it. This year my chicken was dry because you have your meal sitting out all day, but they said my orzo was cooked perfectly.  Next time I need to work on my plating and presentation more, and also use smaller pieces of food.

Escoffier: Did the Escoffier program help give you confidence to try out?
Michael: It did. It helped me hone in on my knife skills,  which gave me confidence. Being able to present my knife skills helped me bring more attractiveness to the plate.  Also, learning about the mis en place helped me with my time management that day – it was very helpful having everything set up before I actually start preparing my dish.

Escoffier: What is next for you?
Michael:  I will be trying out again next year. I think it’s important to never give up and to follow your dreams. Which is why currently I am attending the online culinary program and some day will be looking to start a food truck. I meet a fellow Escoffier student at the tryouts and found out we have similar goals.  Ever since then we have been talking about starting the truck with another buddy of mine and are both excited about where it could go.

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