Beth Kirby from "MasterChef" is one of the top 19 contestants in Season 4 of the FOX reality cooking competition series. She is a 29-year-old writer and photographer from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her lamb dish that earned her a spot in the "MasterChef" kitchen was Lavender Hay Roasted Saddle, Fried Sweetbreads and Celeric Purée.

Here is an interview with Beth Kirby:

Who is your primary cooking inspiration?

Both my grandmother, who passed away when I was 14, and my fiancé? are my primary cooking inspirations. My grandmother gave me my love of farmer's markets, family meals, ripe tomatoes, and cooking from scratch. The home I'm building today with my best friend and the love of my life gives me the inspiration to carry on her legacy.

What are your favorite food blogs (besides your own)?

I'm an avid blog reader and have too many favorites to list here but here are some of my dearest ones: the vanilla bean blog, smitten kitchen, Happyolks, Brave Tart, Hungry Ghost, Honey & Jam, Cookie + Kate, Dash and Bella, {farmette}, Manger, Roost, Sunday Suppers, La Buena Vida, Cannelle et Vanille, Forty-Sixth at Grace, The Faux Martha, and The First Mess.

What is your favorite/least favorite dish to eat?

I pride myself on my willingness to try anything so I don't really have a "least favorite" dish though I have an unfortunate genetic trait that makes cilantro taste like dish soap to me, so it's an ingredient I tend to avoid. As to my favorite things to eat I'm always up for trés leches cake, buttermilk fried chicken, pie of any kind but especially peach with a hint of rose & basil, and lastly homemade pizza! Especially pizza with an egg on top! Pizza is awesome.

What is your favorite/least favorite dish to cook?

I don't have a favorite dish to cook; I love too cook anything and everything. I never tire of experimenting and learning about new dishes and ingredients. I am, however, particularly fond of baking pie, soufflés and homemade gnocchi. The only thing I don't like to cook is ingredients when they're out of season simply because they don't taste like much of anything, and that's no fun at all.

What is your favorite go-to dish to bring to a potluck?

My favorite go to dish for a potluck is deviled eggs because they're a favorite of mine that my father makes, and I love to experiment with updated different flavors and ingredients. Besides, it isn't really a southern potluck without deviled eggs.

What is your favorite/least favorite type of cuisine and why?

My favorite type of cuisine is what I would call "New Southern" which is simply a modern take on traditional Southern food. My cooking is strongly influenced by French and Italian cuisine but using the ingredients I find in Tennessee, and this is my favorite way to cook because it makes creative use of seasonal, local products and both preserves the culinary traditions of the past while evolving at the same time. My least favorite type of cuisine, if you can even really call it that, is Americanized Chinese food (save a soft spot for egg rolls and hot & sour soup ... ). If sticky were a flavor, that's what it tastes like to me. That said, I love real Chinese food — give me dim sum or proper Peking duck!

What travel destinations have you either been to or want to travel to for food inspiration?

My dream is to travel all over the world. From Vietnam to Japan, the South of France to the Basque country in Spain, upstate New York to Kentucky — visiting farmer's markets and cooking with the locals. I've traveled in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Ireland, the British Virgin Islands, Australia, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, and all over the United States, and every single thing I tasted on those travels changed me, made me better as a cook. Now, I want to share that experience and inspiration with everyone.

What are your top 3 songs to cook to?

I'm a music nerd and avid record collector, so this is a really hard one. But three of my favorites are: "Je t'aime Moi Non Plus" by Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin's "So long, Marianne" by Leonard Cohe, and "Animal Nitrate" by London Suede. Also anything by The Velvet Underground, David Bowie, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Rowland S. Howard, Pulp, and Nick Cave. And all 80's music.

Why did you want to be a contestant?

I spent my entire adult life up until two years ago as an addict, a drop out, and someone who never did anything with her life even though I loved to cook even then. It was my constant. Now that I'm clean, I'm doing everything I can to make up for all that lost time, and I saw "MasterChef" as a way to share my work and love of food with a wider audience so that I could pursue my dreams of culinary travels, being a cookbook author, and building a stable home with my other half.

What is your favorite comfort food and why?

My favorite comfort food is homemade bread with good cultured butter and flaky sea salt. It's fundamentally satisfying down to my bones. Either that or gummy candy because they remind me of being a kid, when the word "stress" wasn't in my vocabulary.

Pick 3 words that define what meals with friends and family mean to you.

Gezellig (this is a Dutch word that's difficult to translate but it connotes a feeling of warmth, of coziness, a convivial feeling of time spent with loved ones), nourishment, gratitude.


Where does she live? Find out here.

Age: ∼33 years old
Full Name / Real Name: Elizabeth Evelyn Kirby
Current Residence: Chattanooga, TN

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Who is she dating? What do you think of her?

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