Arts & Culture

Iowa City optometrist competes for MasterChef title

Matt Houck earned a spot on Fox's cooking competition

Matt Houck

“Master Chef” contestant
Matt Houck “Master Chef” contestant

An Iowa City optometrist is vying for the title of America’s top home cook on the ninth season of MasterChef, the Fox cooking competition show hosted by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

Matt Houck, 28, won a white apron and a spot in the show’s kitchen during an episode that aired Wednesday, beating out other contestants to be part of the slate of amateur chefs who will compete for $250,000, a cookbook deal and the title of Master Chef.

His pan roasted cod with turnip puree and pickled carrots impressed the judges, as did his dish’s presentation.

“Plating is one of the things I try to strive to be the best at. I’m an optometrist, so how things look is very important to me,” he told Ramsay, chef Aaron Sanchez and restraunteur Joe Bastianich.

Each of the three judges selected contestants to mentor throughout the season, and Houck impressed Bastianich, who will provide guidance for him in upcoming episodes.

West Des Moines college student Samantha Daily also received a white apron and joins the slate of 24 contestants to make it to the next round.

MasterChef airs on Fox at 7 p.m. Wednesday and can be streamed on Hulu.

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