If you are following our social media then you most likely know by now that Fitzsimmons Dance Factory alum, Courtney Lapresi, was on MasterChef- a cooking reality tv show for “home cooks.” What is even more exciting (than the fact that she was on the show) is that Courtney won! She beat out 21 other competitors and rose to the top to be deemed a Master Chef. Courtney has definitely proven to be a trick of many trades as we saw her grow up dancing- who knew she could cook too?! We wanted to conduct a little interview with her to learn about her experience on the show and remind her of how proud and excited we are for her! Read on to check out the interview.
FDF: What is your dance background?
Courtney: I studied ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and contemporary for 13 years before pursuing a BFA from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. My major was Ballet.
FDF: How did you get into cooking?
Courtney: Cooking had always been an underlying hobby in my life- when I first enrolled at UARTS, I would bake cookies to share with my new classmates and make friends. From there, I began hosting dinner parties in my dorm, and even going so far as preparing a "friends-giving" Thanksgiving meal.
FDF: What made you audition for the show?
Courtney: I began watching MasterChef during season 2. I would watch the contestants complete the challenges- and found myself thinking- "I could do that! Maybe I should audition…" and I did!
FDF: What inspired your style on the show? (Dresses and Heels)
Courtney: I've always been a fan of dresses- I love vintage clothing. Most of my clothes come from vintage shops or my Grandma's basement. My signature heels made me feel poised and confident. If you notice, I'm often standing in third position or b-plus. In dance the most important and often difficult thing to do is stand, walk and run gracefully, and I thought of that while competing.
FDF: How did you know how to make all of those recipes?
Courtney: While I was away, I didn't have my phone, laptop, iPod or internet. I had a LOT of time to study. I was so busy reading cookbooks and reference books- that I often fell asleep with my books open mid-study. I memorized an awful lot of recipes.
FDF: What is your favorite thing to cook?
Courtney: It depends on the season- right now, as we enter fall- I'm really into apples, and warm spices, like cinnamon and cloves. I think my favorite fall dish would be an apple and barley stuffed acorn squash with roasted kale chips and cinnamon-compound butter.
FDF: How was it being on National TV?
Courtney: Being on TV was so much fun! I looked forward to every Monday- and really enjoyed hearing all of my friends and family's responses to each episode. The most difficult part though, was keeping the secret that I had won!
FDF: How do you think your background with dance brought you to where you are today?
Courtney: Performing in front of large audiences, and accepting multiple corrections and constructive criticism absolutely prepared me for the MasterChef kitchen. I knew that critiques and comments from the judges were only meant to help me succeed- and that I should be honored to receive such attention. Picking up choreography on the fly was a skill that came in handy when I needed to memorize recipes, and of course the teamwork I gained while performing with my classmates was so helpful in the difficult team challenges.
*And last but not least…
FDF: Can you cook for the teachers?
Courtney: Hahaa! YES! I would love to!
--Thank you to Courtney for taking the time to answer those questions for us!
Next up, Courtney will headline a culinary cruise holding panels and cooking sessions, mingling with guests at cocktail receptions and participate in a mystery box challenge (one of the show’s cooking tests). The cruise will travel around the Eastern Caribbean stopping in Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Holland- America’s private island at Half Moon Cay. Wow! I think we are all a little jealous!
Most importantly though, congratulations, Courtney, you deserve it! We are so excited for you and want to wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!