SPOILER ALERT! Move on if you don’t want to know where Tracy Nailor stands on Fox’s “MasterChef”!
Tracy Nailor, a 42-year-old Atlanta pediatrician, was doing quite well on Fox’s summer reality series “MasterChef,” impressing them with her desserts and versions of her late mother’s recipes.
Then last night, with nine contestants left, she fell apart. She wasn’t using excuses but in an interview today, she cited fatigue, stress and missing her four-year-old son’s upcoming birthday for her fragile mental state.
She botched a romantic meal, struggled during a wedding catering challenge, then foundered on a pasta dish. That did not leave a good impression with the judges (including Gordon Ramsay) and she was sent packing, finishing eighth on the Fox reality show seeking the best amateur cook in America.
“I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to perform, to elevate my game,,” she said.”Even though I experienced it, watching it was painful because I could see myself and say, ‘Oh man. If I had only done this…’ ”
But “I cannot complain about my overall performance,” she said.
Over the course of the competition, Nailor had taken pride in her dessert creations. When the cooks had a cupcake challenge last week, she was an instant favorite to win.
But she ran out of time to finish the carrot cake cupcake and was understandably upset. “I was overconfident,” she said. “I cooked that carrot cake at home without a timer and cameras. I was devastated and embarrassed. I was talking a lot of junk. I had them believing I was going to win this.”
During the romance challenge featuring passion fruit, she ended up creating a rather ugly looking dish. “Proves I haven’t had a boyfriend in awhile, eh?” she joked.
Taste wise, she said her filet was good but the sauce “had too many ingredients. It was a mess.”
The pasta challenge was also a mixed bag for her, especially since she had never made her own pasta before. The sauce, she said, was at least decent (though one judge dubbed it a “Sloppy Joe.”) She wished in restrospect she had opted for a simpler pasta over ravioli.
She also liked Ramsay, who dialed back the furor he brings on “Hell’s Kitchen” to mentor amateurs. “I didn’t expect him to be as mean as he was on ‘Hell’s Kitchen,’ ” she said. “And he wasn’t.” She said he would often provide actual constructive criticism.
Off camera, she said she was “matriarchal,” not a surprise considering she was the second oldest among the finalists. “I kind of nurtured a lot of people,” she said. And she had no beef with anybody, not even Sherone, the chosen “villain” of the contestants given his relative level of arrogance.
Nailor’s future: she has scaled back her medical practice and may pursue opening a bake shop. She’d also like to write a cookbook based on her mom’s recipes and perhaps pursue television. (She got the bug!)
On the show, she said she came on to win: “I walked away from my career as a physician to be here. I left my son… I certainly wouldn’t have done that if I was casual about this.”