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LaPlace chef ready for TV master course

LAPLACE — When season six of MasterChef premieres tonight on Fox, River Region residents may be able to point out a familiar face.

Natasha St. Pierre Clement

Natasha St. Pierre Clement

LaPlace native and resident Natasha St. Pierre Clement will star as a contestant on the show, which will feature 40 home cooks from all walks of life hoping to turn their culinary dreams into reality. In the show, cooks compete for the title of MasterChef, a cookbook deal and the $250,000 grand prize.

Clement said she tried out for the show at the insistence of her husband Chesson and friend Jay Teichmann, both of whom she said were “aggravating” in their insistence she try out.

“I actually didn’t hear about it,” Clement said of the New Orleans audition. “Jay told me, ‘you’re an idiot if you don’t do this.’”

During the audition Clement had to cook something for judges to sample, and she chose to create a redfish crudo using local fish.

“It was kind of a sophisticated, southern spin on sushi,” she said. “It was a complete risk.”

The risk paid off, and now Clement will appear as host and award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay and acclaimed chef Graham Elliot welcome judge Christina Tosi, a renowned pastry chef, to MasterChef, premiering with a special two-hour event tonight starting at 7 p.m.

The show moves into its regular time period from 7 to 8 p.m. May 27.

Clement said she plans to watch the show tonight at her house with family and friends, where she, of course, will provide food.

Now employed as a manager at the Ormond Plantation eatery, Clement was employed with Houston’s Restaurant in Metairie for 14 years, where she said she learned a lot about the culinary and service discipline.

Her culinary education, however, started young and at home.

“Cooking has always been a family affair,” she said, adding her parent’s kitchen skills, as well as her experiences with her grandparents gardening and pickling food, all led to her accumulated culinary knowledge.

“I don’t take high risks,” she said. “This was my first risk and to see it pay off has been awesome.”

People she met throughout the process have been the most inspirational part of the journey, Clement said, adding she would encourage anyone thinking about auditioning for a show to “go for it and take a crazy risk.”