What can viewers expect to see in the final episode?
Maune: I’m excited to show my menu between the lobster succotash, the herb-encrusted venison, and the chocolate dome cake. It’s all delicious. It all flows well together. It represents not only my skill level, but my southern heritage, and it’s going to be beautifully plated. I’m excited for the viewers to meet my family that I’ve been talking about this season and to be in the ring of fire, where I’m cooking with Grant and Kennedy. I’m really proud of both of them as well, because we all got really close and I saw each of us improve. We really fought to the end, and it was really cool to experience that with them.
Gillon: The finale is going to show who I am as a cook on the plate. It’s going to blend together my Midwest mentality with my Italian heritage, and I’m super pumped for everybody to see the menu that I put together.
Kennedy: Me crying my eyes out. This season, Gordon called me the “ice queen.” They’re like, “We don’t really see a lot of emotion from you. You’re just a hard worker.” Definitely, in the finale, you’ll see the real me. My finale menu is something that’s very personal to me. It’s my heart, my soul, and it’s very connected to me, and it’s a story. It made me very emotional that I had the opportunity to do that and show that side of me to 30 million people and have them get to know who I am as a person.
What’s next for you after making it this far on “MasterChef?”
Maune: I started with wanting to open a restaurant, and I have already begun the planning process. I have met with investors and have some on board. I’ve already started my menu. I’m looking at real estate. My goal is by the end of 2024 to have at least one location open in central Arkansas. It’s a dream come true for me. I’ve also, in the last few weeks, been formulating my own seasoning brand, and we’re almost to the finishing stage of that and that will be coming out in the next few weeks. Then, I have a cookbook coming, and hopefully, a whole list of books coming.
Gillon: My goal from the beginning of this has been to open my own farm-to-table restaurant in my hometown of Altoona, and that is still my current plan. I don’t have a timetable for it yet. There’s lots of planning to go into that, but that is my goal right now, to be able to put my mark on my hometown and have something that the whole town can enjoy.
Kennedy: I’m currently in the works of opening up my own restaurant. I have a couple of investors I’ve been talking to. I’m considering it either being in San Diego or Denver. The name is Nosh; it means eating food enthusiastically. It’s going to be a 26-course Omakase-style restaurant. You’re going to wear a raincoat when you walk into my restaurant. I want it to be very hands-on.
The finale of “MasterChef: United Tastes of America“ will air on FOX tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET.
This interview has been edited for clarity.