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Joe Bastianich's MasterChef Blog: Mother Lidia Bastianich Knows Best

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Diana Delucia

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

This week’s challenges made for some of the most memorable moments in season 4. I was honored to have my mother, Lidia Bastianich, one of the best-loved chefs in America (and recent daytime Emmy winner) spend some time with our top 14 in the MasterChef Kitchen. Who better to learn how to make pasta from then the woman responsible for bringing authentic Italian cuisine into the homes of the American public for decades?

Unfortunately, Howard thought he knew better. At this point in the competition he has exhausted my patience. I knew it was over for him just by his conceptualization of the dish. To misconstrue so badly a beloved Italian classic for a chef considered to be the matriarch of Italian food in America was totally unnecessary.

Good, old-fashioned common sense – not to mention respect – just isn’t there. Johnny, too, has gone a bit far off the beaten path, but at least he lacks the arrogance that Howard’s dish reeked of.

Eddie’s performance in the Mystery Box really helped solidify his position as a major player. The degree of innate food knowledge needed to execute that dish at such an exemplary level proves he has enough talent to win. Jessie also performed extremely well in the pasta challenge.

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She made agnolotti – and my mother – proud.

If cooking for one of the culinary world’s greats wasn’t thrilling enough, imagine our excitement arriving at Paramount Studios to prepare lunch for the hysterically funny Jane Lynch and the cast and crew of Glee – my absolute favorite show on TV!

The red team’s landslide win was a surprise. I find it odd and disturbing that one of this season’s frontrunners would produce a dish so unappealing that it would blow an entire team challenge, scoring only two votes out of a possible 54. I’m not sure Jordon even tasted the salmon. His palate is too keen – that fish would have never made it to us judges had this been an individual challenge.

It seems when part of a team, he doesn’t seem to care. I hope I’m wrong about that.

We ended the night bidding farewell to Bime. Quite frankly, he made it much farther than I thought possible, and he should be proud. I was never a big believer in Bime, but making one of the top three dishes in what I consider to be the most difficult Mystery Box challenge in the history of MasterChef U.S. is worthy of recognition.

Tune in next week as we welcome back season 3’s winner, the gracious and talented Christine Ha!