Former Miss San Diego Takes on MasterChef
Local beauty queen makes the top 15 on Fox cooking show
She went from beauty queen to kitchen queen. Southeastern San Diego native Diamond Alexander—aka Miss San Diego 2015—sautéed, chopped, and baked her way to the top 15 on the latest season of the Fox reality series MasterChef, which pits amateur cooks against one another in kitchen challenges. We chat with the chef, who also works as a web designer and blogger, about being pescatarian in a meat-lover’s world and what notoriously tough chef Gordon Ramsay is really like.
How did you get interested in food?
As long as I can remember, I would always want to watch Food Network at my grandma’s. Every summer I went to cooking camp at the YMCA, and there was a cake decorating school in El Cajon. Or for birthdays, I would only want a gift card to Vons or Ralph’s for ingredients.
How did you hear about MasterChef?
Through Miss California. They sent out an email to all of us who had competed and said MasterChef was casting in San Diego. I was like, “Um, yeah! I will absolutely do that.”
What was the application process like?
Long. The show is a lot about your food, plus your background, culture, heritage. But I’m a pageant competitor. This was a piece of cake. I’ve done paperwork, interviews, being on camera—none of that was an issue for me, so that was a big advantage. And you have to bring a dish to the auditions. I made a vegetarian Bolognese using homemade seitan. That impressed them.
What’s been the hardest part about the show?
The challenges with a lot of meat. That’s been really hard. I just don’t eat it. But I think I should’ve prepared for that a little bit better.
Gordon Ramsay—is he as intense as TV makes him out to be?
He yells and it’s a little intimidating, but it’s because he knows he can pull something better from us. You are not going to get better unless someone points out where you can improve.
What’s the one dish you’re known for?
My chocolate chip cookies. I use cake flour and bread flour. They make a crunchy cookie on the outside and so gooey on the inside, which is everyone’s dream. I chill the dough overnight so all the flours combine with the butter. They’re awesome.