UK student cooks up competition on MasterChef

Samantha Daily receives some passionate instructions from famous chef Gordon Ramsay.

Akhira Umar

A UK student is getting her 15 minutes of fame through the craft of cooking. Samantha Daily, a senior equine sciences and management major, was watching MasterChef on her couch when she began to dabble with the idea of auditioning for the show. After finding out auditions were being held in Nashville, Daily decided to give it a go, little did she know it would be the start of a life-changing experience.

“It was just kind of a fun thing to do, not really, you know, hoping for anything,” Daily said. “And then they just kept calling me and calling me, and then here I am today.”

After a “long” but “interesting” audition process, Daily made the cut to appear on TV with 42 other competitors hopeful for the title of MasterChef and the $250,000 prize. Daily, 20, is one of the younger competitors with the youngest of the bunch being 19.

However, Daily believes her age and status as a college student gives her the edge over her competition. She said the MasterChef kitchen, to her, was a lot like college.

“It’s all about learning and trying new things, and I think that what really set me apart from some of my other competitors was that I’m used to learning on a daily basis,” Daily said. “And so learning something in the MasterChef kitchen just felt like learning something at a classroom at UK.”

Daily’s adaptability was especially a good thing considering this season of MasterChef is unlike any other. Season 9 will allow the three judges eight aprons to award to whomever they choose, then they will mentor those competitors throughout the show.

This season premiered on May 30, and in the first episode Daily managed to win the approval of Gordon Ramsay, a proven tough food critique. Videos of Ramsay yelling at competitors can be found all over the internet and he even offers food criticism through his Twitter. However, Daily said Ramsay isn’t only his rugged persona.

“He definitely can get scary sometimes but then there’s other times that he’s also a really nice guy, and you can tell he actually cares about your success,” Daily said.

In fact, it was Ramsay’s approval and the MasterChef experience in general that inspired Daily to make a huge change in her life. She has decided to take her passion for the culinary arts to the next level by leaving behind her equine major and instead going to culinary school.

“The fact that Gordon tried my food and thought I was deserving of an apron means that I should probably pursue this,” Daily said.

Another episode of MasterChef will air on FOX on Wednesday, June 6, at 8 PM EST, the show’s regularly scheduled airtime. Viewers can tune in to see just how far Daily makes it in the competition.