Meet the 15 Contestants Selected on Telemundo's "MasterChef Latino" Ready to Compete this Sunday, May 26 at 7pm/6c
May 20, 2019 – Gaby Espino, host of the second season of Telemundo’s “MasterChef Latino,” together with celebrity chefs Claudia Sandoval, Ennio Carota and Benito Molina, kicked off the much-anticipated culinary competition that culminated with three teams made up of a total of 15 amateur cooks ready to compete for the $100,000 cash prize and the coveted title of MasterChef. This coming Sunday, May 26, at 7pm/6c, contestants will enter the state-of-the-art kitchen for the first time and face the first three challenges of the culinary competition. At the end of the night, one of them will be eliminated.
The team of renowned Chef Benito Molina includes:
JOHN PARDO, a 45-year-old Venezuelan resident of Miami, Florida with a shocking and inspiring story. When he was 21, he was shot in the back and left as a paraplegic. Instead of leaving him isolated and powerless, this incident made him strong and his wheelchair has never been an obstacle to reach his goals. John is the star of "El Camino de Santiago," a documentary that inspires people with conditions like his. As a strong warrior in life, his next goal is to win the MasterChef title and dedicate it to his mother and grandmother, who cultivated his passion for cooking.
MIRIAM PALOMINO, a 75-year-old adorable Cuban, resident of Miami, Florida, the oldest and most experienced participant this season. A native of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, she moved to the United States in 1967 with her husband, with whom she still lives and enjoys children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Currently, Miriam is retired and dedicates herself fully to her home and loves to pamper her family with recipes inherited from her grandmother and mom. With a sparkling personality and an exceptional sense of humor, this determined grandma is ready to conquer the hearts of fans and the “MasterChef Latino” kitchen.
DUBRASKA WAWI, a 47-year-old Venezuelan who currently lives in Houston, Texas. For this multitalented lawyer, her true love has always been the kitchen. Because of her husband's profession, Dubraska has had the opportunity to live in different places like Dubai, Mexico, India and Abu Dhabi. This has helped her to develop a refined and diverse palate within the culinary art. Although Dubraska is an active philanthropist and busy being the mother of four children, she wants to go after her old dream and become a professional chef.
DENNIS ESCALANTE, a 57-year-old Mexican from Los Angeles, California, who learned to cook with his grandmothers and aunts. When he moved to the United States, this native of Yucatan, Mexico worked as a waiter at important events like The Golden Globes and Emmys award galas, where he had the opportunity to serve Hollywood stars. His dream is to win "MasterChef Latino" and honor the memory of his mother, whom he recently lost.
NANCY ORENTES, a 30-year-old Salvadoran from Los Angeles, California. With an extroverted personality, Nancy opens her way into kitchens, conquering palates with her delicious desserts. She also loves to create colorful jewelry inspired by fruits, vegetables and other food products. Nancy’s life has not been easy, which has made her a fearlessand versatile woman who likes to lead; perfect qualities to confront this demanding culinary competition.
The team of the beloved Chef Claudia Sandoval includes:
MARIA LUISA BALBUENA, a 38-year-old Mexican, resident of Los Angeles, California who is a single mother and works as a security guard at an oil refinery. Mother of two children, aged 10 and 13, this charismatic participant decided to enter the competition to teach her children the importance of going after a dream. She confesses that she has always done everything for others and this is the first time she has thrown herself into pursuing her own adventure and personal goal.
NOELIÁN ORTIZ, a 35-year-old Puerto Rican from Canóvanas, Puerto Rico, who proudly calls herself the "Plus Size" girl. Her job is to train beauty queens to develop confidence in themselves. She decided to enter the competition for her daughter and to inspire other women who have gone through difficulties in life. After her divorce, Noelián lived a period of depression that led her to lock herself up in her own world. Fortunately, her sister helped her get ahead and in that process, her love for cooking was born.
KING SAM CHANG, a 26-year-old young Venezuelan and resident of Miami, Florida who studies hospitality. His father, born in Hong Kong, China, taught him about cooking and is the reason why he wants to continue with that legacy. After the death of his father, his goal is to own a restaurant in which he wants to mix Asian and Venezuelan cuisine. Winning “MasterChef Latino” would bring him even closer to that dream.
JAVIER SEAÑEZ, a 36-year-old Mexican living in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. He moved to the Caribbean island because he fell in love with the person who would become his husband. Although his marriage ended in divorce, he continues living on the island and is working on developing his business of handmade tortillas. His dream is to show the world that Mexican cuisine is not just about tacos, reason that inspired him to enter “MasterChef Latino.”
SARA ORDOÑEZ, a 33-year-old industrial engineer who lives in Miami, Florida, was a beauty queen in a pageant in her native Colombia. Recently, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, a situation that motivated her to change her eating habits and create healthy and nutritious recipes. Today, she has become a mentor to help transform other people's lives through food. After her therapy, she calls the turban that she now wears with pride, the crown that God gave her after surviving the terrible disease. Her arrival to “MasterChef Latino” is part of her dream of becoming an inspiring voice for Latina women.
The team of veteran Chef Ennio Carota includes:
AURELIO ROJAS, 26-year-old Dominican resident of the Bronx, New York, who moved to the United States seven years ago. The young man, who currently works as a bartender, confesses that he had a very difficult childhood in his native Dominican Republic due to being overweight. His life was transformed when he decided to change his eating habits and establish an exercise routine that allowed him to achieve his ideal weight. Aurelio feels a great passion for cooking, something he acquired after traveling and discovering other cultures around the world.
SERGIO PEREZ, a 44-year-old, native of Mexico, Michoacán, is a waiter in a catering company in the Mexican neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. Sergio, who comes from a humble family, is married and is the father of twins, one of them with cerebral palsy. This hard-working man from Michoacán is an example for the Mexican community of Chicago and saysthat despite the obstacles that sometimes life presents, he feels he is a blessed and fortunate man.
LAUREN ARBOLEDA, a 28-year-old Colombian resident of Miami, Florida. She grew up in a farm in her native Colombia where they cultivated organic and healthy foods. Her dream was always to be a chef, but her parents did not allow her to fulfill her goal. She moved to Miami, where she studied marketing and met her husband. Now they are parents of a beautiful 3-year-old boy. She is the author of "Pregnancy from the Heart" and has a blog called "Food from the Heart," where she shares delicious healthy recipes and tips for a better life.
DAVID NOCHEBUENA, a 52-year-old Mexican resident of Miami, Florida, a technology engineer and entrepreneur. He has always dreamt of having his own restaurant, which is why he decided to audition for “MasterChef Latino.” Married for over 20 years, David is a tireless traveler and an enthusiastic researcher of international cuisine. This has allowed him to know and learn countless recipes from all over the world.
ANGEL CORA, a 27-year-old from Fajardo, Puerto Rico. While very young and studying engineering, he discovered that he was going to be a dad. For many years he only dedicated himself to work hard for his two little girls. However, love gave him another chance to meet his current girlfriend, Marina, who also has two children. Together they have a great family and share their love for cooking. That's why they both competed for the last apron of the culinary competition. Now that he got it, Angel will do everything to become the next “MasterChef Latino.”
Fans of "MasterChef Latino" can join renowned Chef James Tahhan of Telemundo’s morning program "Un Nuevo Día," who will bring the latest information, exclusive behind-the-scenes access and practical cooking tips, as well as delicious recipes at the “MasterChef Latino" School. Viewers can follow him on Telemundo.com and through the official social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @MCLatinoTV using the hashtag #MCLatinoTV.
“MasterChef Latino” is produced by Endemol Shine Boomdog, creators of “MasterChef,” the number one reality cooking competition in the world. Telemundo’s version brings together a great diversity of cultures, food and flavors from all over Latin America, where the best amateur/non-professional cooks from around the United States will do everything possible to become a professional chef.