Randy Twyford on MasterChef


Photo courtesy of Fox

This is the story that is in the Springfield State Journal Register about my appearance on MasterChef.

Local farmer to star Tuesday in new reality TV show

By Kathryn Rem

Randy Twyford of Jacksonville is a farmer, caterer and competitive barbecue champion. Now he can add another pursuit to his resume: reality-show star.

He’s one of 50 contestants appearing at 8 p.m. Tuesday on the debut of Fox reality cooking show “MasterChef,” which stars chef Gordon Ramsey, the screaming Brit bully who made a name here on another challenge series, “Hell’s Kitchen.”

“A friend of mine called me up and said I should put my name in for the show,” said Twyford, an ex-paint store manager who runs Twyford BBQ & Catering with his wife, Marla. “I thought the worst that could happen is they could turn me down.”

They didn’t.

He was invited to a casting call last winter at a Sur La Table store in the Chicago suburbs, where he put together a meal of ribs, baked beans and coleslaw.

“It was mass chaos. There were 300 people in there cooking, and there were chefs and film crews and they were all asking questions about how we prepped and cooked.” He survived, and was asked to do a video interview the next day.

That led to a background check, a 47-page application, a psychological exam (“How do you feel on a rainy day?” was one of the questions) and a call inviting him to the show’s Season 1, Episode 1 taping in Los Angeles that took three days last March.

“They told us 14,000 people applied for the show. I can’t believe a redneck farmer like me was chosen,” said Twyford, who wore blue denim overalls and his lucky red shirt for the audition and taping.

In the premiere episode, 50 home cooks have an hour to prepare their signature dish for Ramsey and the other two judges: restaurateur Joe Bastianich (left, with Twyford, in photo below)  and young four-star chef Graham Elliot. Survivors get a white apron and move on to the next round.

Twyford, 50, prepared Loaded Potato Casserole.

There are no spoilers here; you’ll have to tune in to see how Twyford did on the 8-episode series. But he’s relieved that he can finally talk about his participation on the show. His friends were tipped off when they recognized him on recent promos for “MasterChef.”

“A friend from college called me up and said, ‘I must have had too much to drink, because I thought I saw your ugly mug on a commercial.’ ”


Want to tune in?

What: “MasterChef,” a new reality show starring chef Gordon Ramsey

Who: One of the contestants is Jacksonville farmer Randy Twyford

When: Premiere episode is 8 p.m. Tuesday on Fox, WRSP-TV (Channel 55, Comcast Channel 7). On Aug. 18, the weekly series moves to Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and expands from 1 to 2 hours.