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'MasterChef' Season 8 features three contestants from Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay will be well represented when chef Gordon Ramsay returns to MasterChef to tell home cooks that their fish is so awful, he wouldn't even serve it to his cat.

The eighth season of the reality competition series pitting talented amateur chefs against each other for a chance to win a cookbook deal and $250,000 premieres May 31, and features three competitors from the Tampa Bay area, Fox announced this week. 

Hopeful home chefs auditioned for a spot on Season 8 during open casting calls across the U.S. The top 40 chefs will appear on the season premiere, but only 20 will recieve a coveted white apron and move forward. 

Among those hoping for an apron will be Clearwater native and dentist Paola Annoni Patel, Tampa marketing director Jeff Philbin and Land O'Lakes resident Danny Flores, who works in supply chain analytics for a steel supply company. There's only one other contestant from Florida, a registered nurse from Miami named Heather Dombrosky.

Philbin is the marketing director for Tampa's Helicon Property Restoration and formerly served as director of marketing for Tampa Bay-based Grillsmith restaurants.

"There was not an episode that went by that I did not naturally weave in our city into my talking points," Philbin wrote via email. "I went hard for Tampa!"

Patel is a Clearwater Central Catholic High School graduate who went on to study dentistry at Columbia University and is listed as one of the doctors at Artisan Dental near Washington, D.C.

She posts lots of food photos to Instagram.

Floresd is a graduate of the University of South Florida and University of Tampa and previously operated the Holy Crepe! food truck in Tampa Bay.

MasterChef premieres on May 31 at 8 p.m. on Fox. 

[Last modified: Thursday, May 11, 2017 8:45am]


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