With the latest season of Fox's culinary competition "MasterChef" down to just seven contestants, Yahoo! TV has landed an exclusive clip of Tuesday night's episode, during which the finalists are asked to take on a "mystery box" challenge. That means they have a short amount of time to create a delicious dish with the gaggle of ingredients thrown their way. But these aren't just any ingredients, it turns out. They were chosen by celebrity chef Paula Deen herself, who stops by the show to present the mystery boxes to the finalists and help judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich, and Graham Elliot decide which home cook turns out the most impressive creation. "I wanted them to have the opportunity to strut their stuff, Southern-style. Put some South in their mouth!" Paula exclaims after the ingredients are revealed.
Famous for her signature rich Southern dishes, the 65-year-old chef was criticized earlier this year after revealing that she had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and would become a spokesperson for a pharmaceutical company and its diabetes drug. The 5-foot-6 spitfire has since lost 30 pounds and gone from a size 18 to a 10; she gives herself daily injections to regulate her blood sugar. "The architecture of my plate has changed," Deen told People magazine last month. "I double up on greens -- whether it's salad or vegetables -- and my carbs are just a spoonful."
But old habits die hard, and many of the ingredients she's picked out for this particular "MasterChef" challenge don't exactly scream diet food. Sure, the box includes a whole chicken, collard greens, blackberries, and green tomatoes -- but it's also filled with bacon, grits, and, yes, cream cheese. "You know there's gotta be some cream cheese in there!" Deen tells the crowd.
We'll see if any of these home cooks can turn it all into a healthy Southern meal. Now that's a challenge.
"MasterChef" airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 9 PM on Fox.