Photo provided by Fox Broadasting Company. 

If you have been tuning in for the fourth season of Fox’s MasterChef, chances are your favorite this season is Houston’s James Nelson. His on camera charisma and tempting sauces have advanced him into the top 15. We chatted with James about the show, Texas style cooking and America's favorite judge/chef, Gordon Ramsay.

For our Utah readers, what do you think is the biggest misconception people have about Texas style cooking?

“I think people think Texas is only about barbecue and Tex-Mex. While those things are ingrained into our DNA, there's so much more available than just that. In Houston, we've got access to incredible food trucks, amazing Vietnamese foods and killer Indian food.”

What is your favorite technique or ingredient in Texas-style cooking?

“Wood fire barbecue pit. Not just for brisket and sausage, but for countless applications. Mesquite is my preferred wood of choice.”

Is Gordon Ramsay really as intimidating off-camera as he is on the show?

“Gordon is an interesting man. He's got that edge off screen, but he's a very down-to-earth, motivating person.”

What's been your favorite dish you've made on the show so far?

“So far, I'm really proud of my black cod dish, and the chimichurri for the Firefighter Challenge.”

Who are your main competitors in the top 15?

“The people I have my eye on are Jessie and Luca. Jessie is a non-stop performer and Luca has that wildcard thing going.”

What has been your favorite experience being on the show so far?

“My favorite experiences so far have been the team challenges. Cooking for 100-plus people, with limited time to prep, was a thrill.”

What's your inspiration behind each course?

“I try to envision every dish as something that is complex, but can be enjoyed by everyone. The flavors of Texas come through often, but I'm heavily influenced by Mexican, Spanish, Korean and Indian cuisine.”

What's next post- MasterChef?

“Post-MasterChef life is all about my companies, Bravado Spice and Brave Kitchen Project. Next year, I plan to open my own restaurant, so wish me luck.”

See James Nelson on MasterChef, Wednesday nights on Fox.