Although he wasn’t featured much in the past two episodes, Mike Newton of Lipan is still going strong in the MasterChef kitchen.

A few weeks ago Newton auditioned and made it on as the 20th and last competitor on the hit television series MasterChef where home cooks battle it out serving up dishes to chefs/judges Gordon Ramsey, Christina Tosi and Aaron Sanchez for a chance to win the coveted trophy.

After the auditions, the competitors found themselves in their first “mystery” challenge.

Each cook had a brown paper sack placed at their stations containing 12 of the most common items on a grocery list.

Newton’s dish wasn’t shown, but it was good enough to keep him in the game.

“I made meatloaf with red peppers, onions and chili garlic and a honey chipotle BBQ sauce with mashed potatoes, bourbon brazed carrots,” Newton told the E-T Thursday. “Gordon Ramsey told me, ‘Hey man for meatloaf, you did a great job.’”

Newton was safe with three others in the bottom and fighting to stay in the competition.

“Sometimes you just have to do stuff to stay in the middle,” Newton said. “You know, it was the first challenge since the auditions and you have to think fast while cooking for three of the best chefs in the country against 19 great competitors. So you get nervous and the butterflies — it’s mind-numbing. It was a really cool experience.”

Last Wednesday Newton found himself in the first MasterChef team challenge.

“That was a cool thing because we don’t know what we’re doing or where we’re going. They just load you in a van,” Newton said.

The team challenge was located on a sunny beach where the contestants fed 101 lifeguards.

“I was in boots, jeans, a long-sleeve shirt and cowboy hat and I had to walk a quarter mile in the sand,” Newton said with a laugh. “And we had to reshoot it twice.”

It was the red team versus the blue team with Newton on the red cooking up some striped sea bass.

“There were a couple of people on the other team that I didn’t care for so I was glad to be on the red team. I wanted Reba (another contestant from Carthage, Texas) on my team but we didn’t get her,” Newton said. “I cut the fish, then made the mango salsa with Heather (teammate) to help her out and then I plated it. So I did more than my part.”

The red team won the challenge sending Newton up to the balcony safe for another week.

Tune into MasterChef every Wednesday at 7 p.m. on FOX.