Masterchef Judge Joe Bastianich Interview On What It Takes
Restaurateur Joe Bastianich is best known as the introspective, and maybe sometimes harsh, judge on Masterchef both here and in Italy, but his career started long before he first sat down with Gordon Ramsay. He grew up under the keen palette of his mother celeb chef Lidia Bastianich learning the ropes until he could open up his own restaurant in 1993. Since then he has opened a string of restaurants with chef Mario Batali, who foodies will recognize from Iron Chef America. We caught with Joe Bastianich while he was in Italy to get the inside scoop on what it take to make it and some advice for contestant of the upcoming Masterchef Canada.
Real Style: What do you think makes a Masterchef?
Joe Bastianich: Food sensibility is key. You can always be taught the basics, but someone who truly excels at their craft is able intuitively grasp how to work with new material.
Real Style: What is it like having a mother who is such an icon in the same field as you?
Joe Bastianich: It is really all I know- it has always been my reality. She has certainly been a big influence in my career, and her support over the years has been invaluable.
Real Style: Did you get any advice from your mother who has also been on a number of cooking shows?
Joe Bastianich: The best advice I received came from Gordon Ramsay. He told me to never watch the final product.
Real Style: What is Gordon Ramsay really like when the cameras are off?
Joe Bastianich: Gordon is very hard working. The same drive and energy you see on camera is what he brings to his personal life.
Real Style: You are known for being a very quiet, introspective judge. Fans are wondering, what are you thinking when you are staring down the chefs?
Joe Bastianich: I’m thinking about how they came to produce what they just put in front of me. I take cooking and the show very seriously, and I think my attitude reflects that. Some say I am too harsh, but I’m not going to apologize for having high standard for what should make up our country’s best home cook. I don’t think doing anyone any favors will help to keep that title elevated to where it should be.
Real Style: Coming from the business side of the industry, what do you think the contestants or any amateur should know before diving in to open their own restaurant?
Joe Bastianich: First and foremost that it is an actual business. It is nothing like hosting a dinner party at your home for friends. It is a very difficult industry to turn a profit in. It is not enough to be passionate about food and cooking. There is an incredible amount of work and attention to detail that goes into creating the whole dining experience, and you have to be just as passionate about that as you are the culinary execution. It’s like what they say about being an actor – if you can find something else that you love to do, do that instead.
Real Style: What do you credit to your own success?
Joe Bastianich: Relentlessness, hard work and support from friends and family.
Real Style: Masterchef Canada is just starting auditions for its very first season, what advice would you give to contestants here?
Joe Bastianich: Try not to let your focus tip too far to those who are your competitors. While it is important to take stock of your competition, don’t lose sight of your own work and why you are there to begin with.
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