Tracy Kontos from "MasterChef" is one of the top 18 contestants in Season 2 of the FOX reality cooking competition series. She is a 32-year-old sales consultant from Coral Springs, Florida. Her signature dish is Crispy Wild Mushroom Risotto Cake with Truffled Egg and Chive Oil Drizzle.

Q&A with Tracy Kontos ("MasterChef"):

Who was your first cooking inspiration?

The first person to inspire me to cook was my Italian grandmother, Nanny. Growing up, I spent so much time over her house and in her kitchen. I couldn't help but notice even as a child that the house, mainly the kitchen, smelled incredible. She was always putting together meals from scratch, cooking every element perfectly. Her cooking brought people together and I just loved that. I learned the power of food. In her kitchen, she had a little step stool and she would pull the step stool right up next to the counter and allow me to hop up and help. She first gave me the easy tasks like pulling apart herbs, then she would let me chop some things with a butter knife, then it was onto my favorite part, the seasoning and taste test. These are the moments that inspired me.

What is the first dish you ever mastered?

At age 12, I learned how to make a bechamel sauce and started experimenting with cheeses and spices. And now I can confidently say I make the meanest mac and cheese this side of the Mississippi.

What is your favorite thing to cook?

This always changes because I try to move with the seasons. Right now, my favorite thing to cook is anything that can be grilled! Meats, veggies, fish, game. It's approaching summer, and summer to me is about being outdoors as much as possible. I am finding out you can grill just about anything!

What did you learn as a contestant on "MasterChef"?

Being on "MasterChef" taught me to never be judgmental when watching another cooking competition again! No one will ever understand how nerve-wracking and difficult it is to create perfect dishes in an enormously high stress environment. I learned that I am pretty tough, composed, and that if I want it, I have a bright future ahead of me.


Age: ∼38 years old
Hometown: Coral Springs, FL

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

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