Earlier this week, Courtney Lapresi was crowned season 5 winner of MasterChef. We chat with her about living in Philadelphia, her upcoming cookbook, and more.
You’re from Philadelphia. Does the city inspire any of your dishes?
Courtney Lapresi: I was born and raised in Geneva, New York, where we have beautiful apple orchard vineyards and incredible farmlands. Moving to Philly introduced me to wild mushrooms, [other] amazing fresh produce, and incredible cheeses. Many times [during the competition] specific ingredients made me think of home and influenced my dish.
Have Philadelphia’s restaurant offerings helped you in the competition?
CL: Absolutely! Dining out at restaurants is where I learned flavor profiles and how to plate my dishes.
Where’s your favorite place to eat here?
CL: I love Sabrina’s Cafe, right in the Italian market. I’ve been trying to replicate [the] huevos rancheros for about four years. It’s honestly the best in the city. Maybe now that I won MasterChef, they’ll lend me the recipe.
What can you tell us about your cookbook?
CL: It's going to be inspired by my family and I am so excited to share it with everyone. I'm very proud of it.
Where do you see yourself as a chef in the next 5 years?
CL: Hopefully still learning and growing as a student of food. MasterChef has opened so many doors for me that it's tough to pick which one to walk through first.
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF MELISSA ALAM