Joe Bastianich is a restaurateur, winemaker, author and one of the judges of MasterChef. He is blogging each week about the show’s search for the best home cooks. Follow him on Twitter @Jbastianich or visit joebastianich.com.
On Wednesday night, we watched our remaining finalists face what was by far the most emotional day of this year’s MasterChef competition.
They say nothing is harder than being given your chance and that includes everything given up in pursuit of it. It has been almost two months since our top seven were plucked from the lives they knew, bid goodbye to their families and friends, forgoing whatever support system they had, all for the shot to fulfill their dream of a career in food.
The feeling was immediate as soon as that box was lifted, and it had a profound effect on everyone in the room. This is not just a group of talented home cooks; this is group that has sacrificed much to be here.
Seeing Krissi‘s reaction when she realized her son was not able to join the other families was a real moment of sadness for all. Regardless of her lack of popularity amongst her competitors, she had the full support of everyone on this day. As a parent it was hard to witness.
What a relief to finally see Luca put forth a dish we all knew him capable of – his halibut and white asparagus risotto were spot on. Too long he has been skating by, making questionable decisions, and I believe his wife’s presence gave him just the sense of familiarity he needed to focus and produce his best. His problem has always been consistency, and as Jessie said, the margin for error grows slighter every day, so we ll see if he can maintain this level.
Natasha’s performance in the sushi challenge was a game changer for me. Although always showing promise, her intense and at times ridiculously dramatic interactions with her fellow home cooks deterred me from seeing her as a serious contender, but no longer. Knowing how hot that temper can run, I was proud to see her channel that anger into the drive that produced one very acceptable plate of sushi – which is sadly more than I can say for anyone else’s dish.
Eddie’s departure was as much a shock as Lynn s, but clearly it was warranted. For Eddie to eat sushi twice a week and not have a better handle on how to execute it himself was just unacceptable, especially the uni, and he knew it. I have no doubt that he has a future in food should he choose to keep cooking.
Tune in next Wednesday at 9/8c on FOX when three fallen hopefuls get a shot at redemption as Bri, Bime, and Lynn fight for a second chance at a white apron! Thanks for reading!