A plain-spoken Mexican nun has become an unlikely television star while trying to save her congregation from mounting debts.

Sixty-eight-year-old Florinda Ruiz Carapia, better known as “Hermana Flor,” is one of five finalists on Mexico’s version of “Master Chef,” a program in which contestants compete for a 1 million peso ($59,000) prize. That would at least make a dent in the approximately 7 million peso debt that her order, the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, owes for loans it took out to build or expand schools, said Alejandro Esquivel, producer of the TV Azteca show.

Hermana Flor has already made it past several stages that have whittled the 300 want-to-be chefs down to five finalists. With only three weeks left until the finale, Hermana Flor has proven so popular that Esquivel is a little worried about the potential backlash if the nun doesn’t win. A panel of professional chefs judges the contestants on the taste, presentation and speed of their dishes.

“I think Hermana Flor’s popularity comes from her being a very straightforward, very human, very sympathetic person,” Esquivel said. “I think there will be disappointment if anyone is eliminated, but obviously, that will be much greater if it is Hermana Flor, because the audiences like her so much.”

Screenwriter, Olympian engaged

British Olympic diver Tom Daley and Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black have announced their engagement. The announcement was published in The Times newspaper Thursday, but did not disclose a date for the marriage. The 41-year-old Black is a writer and producer who won an Academy Award for his screenplay for the 2008 movie “Milk” about gay activist and politician Harvey Milk. Daley, 21, is a former world champion who first competed in the Olympics at the age of 14 and won a bronze medal at the 2012 Games in London, and his youthful exuberance made him a fan favorite.

 

debut: John Krasinski, who starred for nine years in NBC’s workplace comedy “The Office,” is going back to one — onstage. The off-Broadway Public Theater said Thursday that Krasinski will make his theatrical debut in playwright Sarah Burgess’ “Dry Powder,” which offers a behind-the-scenes look inside a private equity firm. Krasinski, whose films include “Leatherheads” and “Kinsey,” will soon star as a Navy SEAL in Michael Bay’s upcoming film “13 Hours.”

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