'MasterChef takes all on a gastronomical tour of US'

Celebrity chef Joe Bastianich
Photo: www.joebastianich.com

MasterChef US is not just a cooking reality show, but a way to take people from all around the world on a gastronomical tour through the US, says celebrity chef Joe Bastianich, who is also a member of the judging panel of the popular TV programme.

Masterchef US is an exploration of American cuisine. We keep on going to new places to find out what's cooking in America so that the people are able to explore America's regional food,” Bastianich told IANS in a recorded response.

Bastianich is an ardent fan of Indian cuisine and opts to include Indian dishes in his diet chart every Sunday. “I love Indian food. Every Sunday we eat Indian food. We go out or order in,” he said.

“I have never been to India, but that is my next goal – to go to India. When I am in India, I will eat and then go to an ashram and do yoga,” the chef added.

Hailing from Italy, Bastianich founded Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group along with his mother and celebrity chef Mario Batali. The company announced that they are cutting ties with Batali after a slew of sexual harassment claims were made by women, many of whom had worked with B&B Group.

Bastianich found himself in the middle of a controversy over remarks he made on an episode of MasterChef Italia. The remarks were deemed racist and sexist. He later on apologised for the comments, saying that they were made “in poor taste”.

He has co-authored two award-winning books on Italian wine, and a memoir named “Restaurant Man”.

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On his stint on the MasterChef shows, he said: “I have learnt how to balance criticism and mentorship. I think this is the biggest evolution. Maybe in the beginning, I was being more critical but now I have learnt how to balance being a critic and mentorship. That is the fundamental part of being a judge on a show like that.”

“I love doing MasterChef Junior US because I think that the kids have the one ingredient that the adults are missing and that is honesty... That makes the show great,” added the chef, who judges the show along with Gordon Ramsay and Aarón Sanchez.

“Children have no inhibitions, want to take risks and take directions better....They have an honesty which makes them great cooks,” he added.

Globally, he feels food habits are changing. “The customer has evolved over time. People want to have everything. Millennials are motivated to participate in traditional food... In terms of dining, people want more quality, more product at a better price,” he summed up.

(With inputs from Sugandha Rawal)

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