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Bowen Li was a contestant on Seasons 9 and 12 of MasterChef. On Season 9, he was mentored by Gordon Ramsay and ranked in 5th place, and on Season 12, he ranked in 9th place.

Personality[]

Bowen had a considerate, determined, and light personality. In the kitchen, he started out as one of the strongest cooks in the first half of the competition, but slowly entered into a downward in the second half. While he showed an exceptional amount of raw talent individually, he tended to get reclusive regarding communication, as he didn't feel comfortable working with others and was usually pushed around by everybody. During his downward spiral, he struggled with adapting to other cooking techniques, most prominently sticking to his Chinese cooking techniques to contradict the judges' advice. Despite being very passionate, kind, and getting along with most of the other cooks, he later on had a short temper, often attributing to being timid, flustered, and explosive when it came to team challenges by yelling at his teammates for little to no reason whenever things go out of control. He had a rivalry with Cesar and did not like his overbearing personality and disliked Mark due to the latter's know-it-all attitude. However, he made a strong friendship with Shanika, and was the only contestant in the season to ever get along with her and know her personality.

Season 9[]

Episode 1[]

Episode 2[]

Episode 3[]

Episode 4[]

Episode 5[]

Episode 6[]

Episode 7[]

Episode 8[]

Episode 9[]

Episode 10[]

Episode 11[]

Episode 12[]

Episode 13[]

Episode 14[]

Episode 15[]

Episode 16[]

Episode 17[]

Episode 18[]

Episode 19[]

Episode 20[]

Episode 22/23[]

Competition History[]

Week 4 In/Immune
Week 5 High/Immune
Week 6 Win
Week 7 High/Low
Week 8 In
Week 9 Win/Immune
Week 10 In/Immune
Week 11 Pressure Test
Week 12 In/In
Week 13 In/In
Week 14 Win
Week 15 In/Win
Week 16 Low
Week 17 In/In
Week 18 Win
Week 19 Win/In
Week 20 Low/Low/Eliminated

Season 12[]

Episode 1[]

He did not audition in this episode.

Episode 2[]

Bowen, along with Stephen, Brien, and Newton were the sixth group to battle to return in MasterChef, he was the third contestant of the group to have their dish judged, He served his Filet Mignon Pot Stickers with a Thai Chile Finger Lime Vinegar Sauce,

The judges start to taste his dish, Gordon says the pot stickers are delicious and really good, Aaron says that the sauce is action-packed and really beautiful a salt of flavor in good way, Gordon gives Stephen and Bowen their aprons and are now reinstated.

Episode 3[]

Bowen was seen cheering for the final groups.

Episode 4[]

After the judges showed the contestants a video memory lane for their elimination in their seasons, The judges tell the contestants they have to recreate the dish that sent them home, they all have 60 minutes to recreate their dish.

Bowen had to recreate his Filet Mignon that sent him home in Season 9, he was not called up in the Top or Bottom 3.

Episode 5[]

Episode 6[]

Episode 7[]

Episode 8[]

Episode 9[]

Episode 10[]

Episode 11[]

Episode 12[]

Episode 13[]

Episode 14[]

Episode 15[]

Competition History[]

Week 4 In
Week 5 In
Week 6 Lose
Week 7 High
Week 8 Low
Week 9 In
Week 10 Win
Week 11 In
Week 12 Win
Week 13 Immune
Week 14 High
Week 15 Eliminated

Post MasterChef[]

  • After his first appearance, Bowen taught private cookery classes. He later became the Head Chef at Bowen Bistro since November 15, 2019.
  • In December 2019, he opened the restaurant Bowen Bistro, owned by his husband, David Li.

Trivia[]

  • He is the first contestant to reside outside of the U.S. at the time of filming.

Season 9[]

  • With 6 challenge wins, Bowen holds the record for highest win count of any 5th place quarterfinalist contestant in the American series.
  • He is one of the only contestants ever to win an Individual Challenge without having their dish for said challenge shown, being him having the second-best crab in the Crab Skills Test according to Aarón.
  • Originally born and raised in Tianjin, China, he is the first foreign-born Chinese contestant to participate in the American competition.
  • In 2007 at age 13, Bowen immigrated to the U.S., arriving in New York. He attended Western Michigan Christian High School in Muskegon, Michigan in the U.S. and college at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana from Aug 22, 2012 to May 10, 2016, studying aviation and Professional Flight.
  • Following Farhan, he was the second eliminated contestant in his season to open a restaurant after competing on the show.

Season 12[]

  • Bowen is the only contestant in Back to Win whose hometown is not in the United States.
  • He the only one to this date who won the tag team challenge in two different seasons.
  • He is the fifth contestant who received lesser bottom entries during their second run on the show, Following Samantha, Shayne, Bri and Gabriel (All from Season 12)

Quotes[]

Season 9[]

  • "My father...he is [essentially] a Chinese version of Gordon Ramsay [because] he's always [angrily] yelling [whenever he's cooking] in the kitchen."
  • "I GOT AN APRON FROM GORDON!!!"
  • (After choosing Shanika as his partner) "I want to work with Shanika because she has lots of knowledge about food and she always tells the truth, she's not sugar coating. I think that most of the people, they don't like it.
  • (About Mark) "Mark. He think he know everything. He done learning. And then you know your parents have a diner...doesn't mean you know everything. This is wrong."
  • (To Cesar) "I don't like you."
  • "Sorry, I'm not your friend."
  • Cesar: "I hate you Bowen." Bowen: "I love you Cesar."
  • "I hate to say goodbye, but I have to say goodbye."
  • (After being eliminated) "I'm feeling not so well, but I'm definitely proud of myself and I feel like I made Gordon proud. MasterChef teach me how to build up my confidence, to be more knowledgeable, and to become a more better Bowen. I'm born to be a chef, so Bowen is a big star in the future."

Season 12[]

  • (After being eliminated) "I’m proud of myself, because I’m taking risks. In the competition, I’ve been up, I’ve been down, it’s just like rollercoaster. I think MasterChef gave me the explosion to set me up for success. So, I will go back to home, be humble, be loved."

Gallery[]

Season 9[]

Season 12[]

External links[]

References[]

MasterChef U.S. Season 9
Judges
Gordon RamsayAarón SánchezJoe Bastianich
Contestants
Cesar CanoRyan CortezJuni CuevasSamantha DailyJulia DannoRalph Xavier DegalaLindsay HaighEmily HallockSid HoeltzellMatt HouckGerron HurtMark IngrahamDarrick KrauseBowen LiSal MaidaAshley MinceyFarhan MominOlusola OgbomoShanika PattersonChelsea SargentTaylor WaltmonStephanie WillisAlecia WintersSJ Yun
MasterChef U.S. Season 12: Back to Win
Judges
Gordon RamsayAarón SánchezJoe Bastianich
Contestants
Bri BakerFred ChangSamantha DailyShelly FlashDerrick FoxChristian GreenEmily HallockStephen LeeGabriel LewisBowen LiCate MeadeWillie MikeBrandi MuddShanika PattersonAmanda SaabMichael SilversteinAlejandro ValdiviaTommy WaltonShayne WellsDara Yu
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