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Three tried, but only one Tampa Bay resident earned a coveted white apron on 'Masterchef'

Jeff Philbin, of Tampa, has advanced to the Top 20 on "Masterchef."

Loren Elliott | Times

Jeff Philbin, of Tampa, has advanced to the Top 20 on "Masterchef."

When Part 2 of the eighth season premiere of Masterchef came to a close Wednesday night, 20 amateur chefs had earned "white aprons," and only one Tampa Bay resident was left standing. 

Jeff Philbin, a marketing director for a Tampa-based property restoration company who lives in Carrollwood, will continue on the reality competition series in hopes of becoming the next Masterchef and winning the $250,000 prize and a cook book deal.

Two other contestants with Tampa Bay ties were eliminated in Part 1 of the premiere, Danny Flores, of Land 'O Lakes, and Palm Harbor native Paola Annoni Patel.

Now that the Top 20 have been selected, the real competition begins for the home cooks on chef Gordon Ramsay's series, which focuses on people who are not professional chefs, and usually have other, non-culinary jobs.

RELATED: 'Masterchef' contestants from Tampa Bay talk favorite foods and Gordon Ramsay

Philbin hosted a public watch party at Seminole Heights restaurant Fodder & Shine on Wednesday to watch the pre-taped episode, and plans to host another one on June 14, when the next episode airs at 8 p.m.

Wednesday's watch party was a fundraiser for Feeding Tampa Bay, Philbin said, and on Thursday the organization said the event will fund 1600 meals. The next watch party will raise funds for Metropolitan Ministries, Philbin said.

You can read more about Philbin, his favorite things to eat in Tampa, his thoughts on Gordon Ramsay and the recipe that earned him a spot on the show here.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 8, 2017 11:00am]


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