Fairbanks resident Lizzie Hartman competes on MasterChef Season 13

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 10:44 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - For Alaska resident Lizzie Hartman, cooking is a passion.

What started out as a hobby has now landed her on MasterChef: United Tastes of America with Gordon Ramsay.

The national television program, now in its 13th season, sees contestants representing different regions of the U.S. “I’ve watched MasterChef my entire life. It’s one of my favorite shows growing up,” Hartman said.

She has lived in the Alaskan Interior for 15 years. “Obviously, it was a very tough move as a teenager, with the darkness, the winters, so cooking was something that really helped me work through the winter.”

Hartman began by cooking socially. “It was a way for me to make friends. It was a way for me to connect with my community.”

Eventually, she attended culinary school with the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

As her cooking began to expand, Hartman found an outlet in social media, where she would share her creations. “I was making these super cool dishes, and I had just gotten Instagram, so I was using Instagram as my place to kind of showcase my food.”

Adopting the moniker Alaska Lizzie, Hartman began to see interest in her online posts grow, especially on Instagram and Tik Tok. “I realized people love looking at pictures of food, so throughout the years, posting my food, posting the food around Fairbanks.”

Finally, in October 2022, MasterChef reached out to her for an audition. “To be standing there, auditioning in that studio, in that kitchen, was a dream,” she said. “It feels like it’s so far out there. It’s all the way down in California. I’m all the way up here in Alaska.”

With filming on the show wrapped, Hartman has returned to the Fairbanks community, volunteering at Far North Christian School. “I’m grateful to live here in Fairbanks and have this incredible, supportive community.”

She has words of encouragement for those looking to learn to cook themselves. “It doesn’t take that much time to get confident in the kitchen when you want to learn.”

And of course, she is still cooking. “The first thing that I cooked, that I just thought was incredible, was an omelette.”