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Joe Bastianich's MasterChef Blog: All Bets Are Off in Las Vegas

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Matt Hoyle/FOX

Joe Bastianich is a restaurateur, winemaker, author and one of the judges of MasterChef. He’ll be blogging each week about the show’s search for the best home cooks. Follow him on Twitter @Jbastianich or visit

Down to the final 16, we felt the pressure mounting as our MasterChef home cooks faced their second team challenge and battled it out in Sin City.

Although they produced some great plates, ill-conceived and poorly executed strategy was sadly a recurring theme of the evening.

Between Bime’s failings as a team leader, the entire red team’s meltdown during the banquet challenge and Natasha’s disrespectful and lazy display in Gordon’s kitchen, I’m at a loss. When the voice of reason is Krissi screaming profanity, the descent into chaos is complete.

Luca’s plan to rush the burgers out in Vegas would not have been a bad one, had they actually been edible! Losing that challenge after having the advantage of four votes over the blue team should have never happened. This is a smart group, and Graham, Gordon, and I expect more from them.

The chefs are missing a great opportunity with Krissi. I understand why she is always the last one picked. People don’t know what to do with an oppressive personality. But I would like to see someone harness the power of Krissi. She is the only one who performs consistently well day in and day out. Given the right role, she could be a huge asset to a team.

Being atop Caesars Palace was one of the highlights of the season. What better setting for the emotional, arduous battle between Luca and Kathy, both of whom made us judges proud.

Kathy was never able to “wow” us during her time on MasterChef, yet in hindsight, her evolution in the kitchen was impressive. She was learning every day from her mistakes and her competitors, slowly taking in the experiences and knowledge. Kathy persevered even when it was obvious to all that she was outmatched – something many of her fellow competitors could not have handled so admirably.

I think slow and steady may win the race for Kathy. I hope she takes Gordon up on his offer. Of all the home cooks thus far, I believe she has what it takes to work her way up in a professional kitchen. Also, she is a hardworking mom from the Bronx – she’s not dining out in Manhattan at 3- and 4-star restaurants every night. Her lack of life experience in the dining world didn’t exactly help her. She’ll get there.