Master Chef Latino, Quarterfinals part2

Saturday’s competition was emblematic of what being a chef is all about:  dealing with adversity.  The second part of quarterfinals brought a 3rd element to the challenge.  The chefs had to deal with the judges, the time, and technical difficulties!  Again, was there to cover it.

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The Teams

Jose “Chelo” Ballester represented BLT restaurant in the Ritz Carlton, Isla Verde.  His teams ous chefs Chad Neuman and Jonathan Hernandez.

Federico “Fico” Figeuroa represented El Coliseo de Puerto Rico.  Team sous chefs were Stevie McQueeny and Alberto Febo.

Miguel Santiago represented El Conquistador hotel and resort.  Team sous chefs were Mario Serrano and Hector Cardwood.

Fernando Parrilla represented Crispy & Relleno restaurant in Piñones.  Team sous chefs were Ruben Guzman and Nilsa Murrati.

The Challenge

3-5 course in 1 hour.  The secret ingredient, beer

Judges were Maria Pastrana of Yes Billboards, Chef Daniel, Robert Culver of Casiano Publications.


The competition gets started with a confident Miguel santiago announcing “Vamos a ganar!”

50 minutes to go, The teams are announcing their proteins.  Chef “Chelo” is using rabbit & striped bass.  Chef Fernando is using Ham & Ribeye.

40 minutes to go, Ruben Guzman on team Crispy & Relleno takes a swig of beer before pouring some on the crowd.  Chef Fernando’s team is playing to the crowd and were fun to watch tonight.

35 minutes to go, disaster on stage, the kitchen has run out of gas.  People who don’t work in food and beverage would be surprised to find out how often chefs have to deal with circumstances like these.  Nobody seems fazed.  A heroic scamper by Chef Ariel Rodriguez and Chef Juan Peña save the day.

30 minutes to go, Nutritionist Aileen Morales is recommending men drink 2 beers a day.  We like her now.

25 minutes to again, Host & Chef Luis Freyre is with Juan Bauzo explaining the hydroponic gardens the chefs have available to them.  They are really cool and worth checking out.

20 minutes to go, molecular chef Stevie McQueeny is making his presence known on team Coliseo de Puerto Rico.  We see all kinds of science fiction in glass jars going on over there.

15 minutes to go, teams have been given extra time to make up for gas outage.  Only fair.

10 minutes to go, Chef Chelo’s team has been quiet and methodical. Quote of the day comes from the stands as someone screams “NO PRESSURE, BWHAHAHAHAHA!”

5 minutes to go, Chef Fernando has an obscene amount of plates in his station.  We are not sure if he is going to feed 3 judges or the entire crowd.


We start to wonder if the judges will be drunk after 18 course of beer infused food.

And the winners are…

Chef Jose Ballester starts with a beer zancocho.  The rabbit loin is wrapped in bacon with a beer based ragu campestre.  He has played his entire menu with an “earthy” theme.  We like themes and if it’s as good as the specials he has been giving out on the floor Chelo might be a dark horse.

Chef Federico Figueroa gets raves for his Braised short ribs with beer & wine risotto.

Chef Miguel Santiago oversees  at least 7 restaurants and with every course at Master Chef Latino, he proves just how prolific he is.  He does pretty much every thing you can possibly do with beer in all of 5 courses.  Ice Cream, guizo, purees, lager sauces, you name it.  Nobody will deny Chef Miguel is a master of versatility.

Chef Fernando Parrilla starts with beer dipped ceviche, moves to a lobster lasagaã with beer beurre blanc and then moves to beer glazed ham.   The foodgasm of the night goes to Judge Maria Pastrana, who says “wow!”

Chef Fernando Parrilla was the favorite coming and he won the round with a quarterfinals high of 182.

Chef Jose Ballester pulled an upset and scored 2nd to move into sundays finals.

Chef Miguel Santiago is done for the tournament  despite his impressive showing.

Chef Federico Figueroa rounded out the scoring, but we are the richer for his presence, who knew Coliseo de Puerto Rico had one of the best chefs on the island?  We sure didn’t but now we do.

See you Sunday for the finals!!