I first met Sam Daily in August of 2015. It was a hot Kentucky summer day as we ran from Memorial Coliseum to the front lawn of 238 E. Maxwell. The sisters of Kappa Kappa Gamma welcomed us with cheerful embraces and squeals of delight after a tough week of recruitment. Sam was the nicest of women and that day she became my sister for life as we received our pins.
As I got to know Sam during our new member bonding experiences, I quickly learned that she was extremely driven, but also a loyal friend. As a sisterhood, we praised her passion for dogs as she worked toward the honor of training a dog for UK’s Wildcat Service dogs. She let us play with her beautiful golden retriever, Charlie, as she loved to do anything for her sisters. Whether she was giving us makeup tips, whipping up some comfort food, or lending an ear for girl talk, Sam was a true friend and sister.
That is why it was so tough to be without her for a semester as she went on to conquer America’s favorite kitchen. In the season nine premiere of MasterChef Samantha cooked her heart out to take an apron from Gordon Ramsay in the “Battle of the Apron Challenge.” Sam sacrificed her studies toward Equine Science and Management by dropping all of her classes at the University of Kentucky to work toward her true dream in the culinary industry.
Her audition for “MasterChef” was full of intensity as each of the contestants had only thirty minutes to cook their favorite dish with the audience of three of the most famous chefs in the world. Sam was paired with Mark Ingraham, 19, because the pair were the youngest in the competition. Sam reported to CMN, “Being one of the youngest this season doesn’t really bother me. Some of the other competitors in this competition might see me as naïve or inexperienced but that’s what this mentorship is about, learning.” Sam prepared chicken piccata with roasted asparagus and a potato puree for the judges: Gordon Ramsay, Aarón Sanchez and Joe Bastianich. (Skip to 19:53 to watch Sam’s audition):
The pressure was on as the world-renowned chefs made comments about Sam’s and Mark’s cooking. Sam managed to pull through and create a dish that earned her a spot on Gordon Ramsay’s team for season nine. Sam talked about the support she felt that led her to a successful audition. “My mom, step-dad, and sister are all behind me. I am incredibly lucky to have an amazing sorority filled with so many talented girls that all have my back. I cannot wait to share my journey with them, as they were all with me anytime I stepped foot into that kitchen.”
Regardless of the outcome of her journey through “MasterChef,” Sam revealed that she will not be returning to UK as Gordon Ramsay’s faith in her was all she needed to prove that she has what it takes to pursue a career as a chef. If Sam is lucky enough to win it all, she will use the $250,000 cash prize to pay off her student loans, send her mom and step-dad on a nice vacation, and put the rest in savings to fund her future in the culinary industry.
While Gordon Ramsay is an internationally renowned chef, he has a reputation as a tyrant on the show. A video from the show, Hell’s Kitchen, went viral on social media of him holding two slices of bread up to one of the contestant’s heads, and he asked her, “What are you?” She responded, “An idiot sandwich.” Sam remains eager to learn from Chef Ramsay despite his infamous temper, “I’m excited to work with Chef Gordon because many of the advanced cooking skills I have learned were from him. I took his online class and have always respected his personal story. I am just really excited to learn from him and hope I don’t get yelled at along the way.”
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