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Alejandra Schrader in "MasterChef"
Alejandra Schrader MasterChef
Alejandra Schrader from "MasterChef" is one of the top 18 contestants in Season 2 of the FOX reality cooking competition series. She is a 37-year-old architect from Playa del Rey, California. Her signature dish is Camarones Salteados with Saffron-Infused Quinoa and Peruvian-Style Salsa Criolla.

Q&A with Alejandra Schrader ("MasterChef"):

Who was your first cooking inspiration?

My mother. She is an amazing cook! As a kid, I loved spending time in the kitchen and learning from her. She taught me to cook from the heart. I didn't know what that meant right away, but now it is part of my cooking philosophy. Today, she continues to inspire me inside and outside the kitchen. We still have so much fun cooking together and we experiment with seasonal ingredients and test new recipes whenever she visits!

What is the first dish you ever mastered?

Hallacas, a Venezuelan staple for the holiday season that is similar to tamales. My specialty is a spiced chicken and pork hallaca with chayote, peppers and root vegetables.

What is your favorite thing to cook?

I can't name a single dish as my favorite. I am passionate about food and fascinated by global cuisine, so I like cooking dishes from all over the world and experimenting with new flavors. In general, I love making soups and stews. There is something comforting about having the perfect bowl of goodness. I like to create layers of flavor and texture starting with a bold and flavorful homemade broth or stock. Seafood soups are at the top of my list.

What did you learn as a contestant on "MasterChef"?

Participating in "MasterChef" was such an enriching experience. I feel very fortunate to have worked under Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, and Joe Bastianich, and to have learned from their feedback and words of advice. On the show, I was reminded of the importance of time management, organization, patience, and even team work. I gained so much knowledge about food and the culinary world and evolved both as a person and home cook. Thank you, "MasterChef"!

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Age: ∼40 years old
Hometown: Playa del Rey, CA

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