Jeff Philbin of Tampa moves on in the MasterChef kitchen

The Helicon marketing director was the last local home cook to compete for a coveted apron.

click to enlarge Tampa's Jeff Philbin, who scored one of the show's coveted white aprons. - FOX. © 2017 FOX Broadcasting Co.
FOX. © 2017 FOX Broadcasting Co.
Tampa's Jeff Philbin, who scored one of the show's coveted white aprons.

Well, it happened.

On Wednesday night's episode of MasterChef, ahead of that new Gordon Ramsay series FOX keeps trying to make a thing, the Bay area got redemption in competitor Jeff Philbin. Director of marketing at Tampa's Helicon, the Carrollwood resident was the last of three home cooks with ties to the region to battle it out for a Season 8 white apron. And he snagged one.

Philbin was tasked with whipping up a burger (a Greek-inspired lamb burger with feta, roasted red peppers, pickled cukes and a side of lemon dill chips, to be exact) — though those who tuned in only saw him for a moment or so — as was his opponent, Shasta St. Louis, an Oregon bartender who presented an elk burger.

But his screen time didn't seem to matter to folks crowded around the Fodder & Shine bar area, where a few TVs and one big screen near the pool table aired the episode in full as part of his series of charitable watch parties, or the home cook himself.

"All in good time," Philbin said. "I'm so humbled just to be a part of this whole process and to have so many of my friends highlighted, and my time will come in good time."

With his wife Beth and 1-year-old son Holden, friends, people from the community, and Feeding Tampa Bay (which received proceeds from the event) in attendance, the second watch party had a good turnout, and next week, the fun begins, as Philbin puts it.

"Now comes the fun part. The real deal with 20 people," he said.

The next Fodder & Shine watch party, planned for 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. June 14 (the show kicks off at 8 p.m. like usual), benefits Metropolitan Ministries. Just think: Now that the apron phase of the cooking reality show is complete, the competition is sure to heat up in the MasterChef kitchen.

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