"[MasterChef] is so powerful and so successful because it sends the message that with your passion for food and cooking you can change your life," so says restaurateur (and judge on the wildly popular Fox series) Joe Bastianich. "You are about to do battle in the biggest culinary competition anywhere in the world today," Chef and host Gordon Ramsay tells the 30 home cooks hoping to earn an apron and advance to the next level of the competition. Lexington's Dan Wu auditioned in Columbus in October of 2013. A self-described culinary evangelist, Wu will begin competing Monday, May 26, 2014 (Memorial Day). Kentucky has a long tradition of fielding some of the country's best talent in culinary competitions. Louisville's Chef Edward Lee triumphed in Battle Tongue and Cheek on Iron Chef besting Iron Chef Jose Garces. Lee then went on to be a final contender on Top Chef, telling cameras early on, "if they leave me here in the stew room long enough, I'm gonna kill the other five people to get that jacket. That's how bad I want it." Following in his footsteps, Louisville's Damaris Phillips won her own cooking show on last year's Food Network Star. (Southern at Heart airs Sunday mornings.) Closer to home, Lexington's James Brown competed on Cupcake Wars, and later Next Great Baker, bowing out of that competition and returning home to prepare for brain surgery on a tumor he learned he had the same day he learned he had qualified for the competition. The MasterChef Season 5 premiere will air on Memorial Day, May 26, 2014 on Fox. Check local listings, and stay tuned here for regular recaps.