All season long, contestants on Fox's "MasterChef" have battled it out in the kitchen and in the Season 6 finale it came down to Derrick Peltz and Claudia Sandoval. The two put their best efforts forward for three rounds of dishes in one of the closest finales ever seen. In the end, Sandoval was able to pull it off and judges Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Christina Tosi named her the "MasterChef" Season 6 winner as confetti rained down.
See Sandoval react to hearing the announcement in the tweet below.
— MasterChef (@MASTERCHEFonFOX) September 17, 2015
After being declared the winner in the "MasterChef" Season 6 finale, she takes home a trophy, $250,000, a cookbook publishing deal, as well as the prestigious “MasterChef” title. She was also the shows first ever Latina winner.
In case you aren't familiar with Sandoval, here are six things to know about the new "MasterChef" champion:
1. Inspired By Her Mother: The biggest personal culinary inspiration in Sandoval's life has been her mother, according to an interview posted on the "MasterChef" website. "She is a person that has always chosen to cook, not cooked because she had to. She experiments and plays with flavors without steering away from what we know and love. She reinvents our traditional flavors," Sandoval said. She also credits famous New York chef Enrique Olvera as her greatest professional inspiration.
2. She Has Her Own Website: She currently has a website called Chef Claudia's Cocina where she posts recipes and pictures of dishes. Readers can also subscribe to an email newsletter to receive recipes or can even fill out an email the chef section. Fans are also encouraged on the site to follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
3. She Has California And Hispanic Roots: Sandoval is from La Mesa, California, where she lives with her 9 year old daughter. According to Claudia's Cocina website, she was born and raised in San Diego. Her family was from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, before moving to San Diego. "I come from humble beginnings, and that will never change. I am proud of where I come from," she says on her site.
4. Other Jobs She's Had: Before becoming a "MasterChef" champion, Sandoval worked as an events manager at a marketing agency called I.D.E.A. in San Diego, according to her website. She was also the general manager "Head Honcho" of Instagrammers San Diego, where she continues to build an online community. The online community set two world records in 2013. After "MasterChef" Season 6 was finished filming, Sandoval went back to her job as an events manager, according to an interview with Buddy TV in August. She was a fan of the Fox reality show for a long time and decided to give it a shot in 2015. "I had a lot of excuses over the years. Who's going to watch my daughter? What about my job? But I decided if it happens, I'll make it happen. I ended up trying out at the last minute - and here I am!" she said.
5. Would Cook For Mariah Carey: Sandoval said if she could cook for any person in the world it would be for Mariah Carey. According to her interview on the "MasterChef" website, Sandoval said cooking for the diva would be a "dream" as she owns all of her CDs and DVDs. "She is the reason I make sure my hair is always looking like a true diva. If I could chose my menu for her… I would likely cook her a grilled fish since I know she is a big fan of lean fish. But what I would love even more would be to make some tamales for her during the holidays!" she dished.
6. Best Advice Comes From Graham Elliot: Sandoval said the best cooking advice she ever received came from Elliot during "MasterChef." He told me to stick to what I know and trust my instinct. He reminded me that my style is nothing like anyone else’s and trying to be like someone else means, you aren’t being true to your food," she told the TV Show's website.