Joe Bastianich tells us that he stays in touch with some of the past competitors on “MasterChef” — which starts its third season with a two night premiere June 6 and 7. In fact, “David Miller, the runner up in Season 1, has become a friend. Sharone (Hakman) came to work for us at Mozza in L.A.” — and several others have spent time in his culinary habitat, sharpening their skills.
Bastianich, who partners with Mario Batali in a string of top flight restaurants, and who has established three wineries, says he loves the fun and diversion of doing the show. And he actually seems to enjoy working with his famously fiery and mercurial colleague (and producer), Gordon Ramsey. “Gordon’s great, you know. He brings the kind of energy to this thing that’s unique. He IS reality television, energizing and dynamic. I think we each have a dfiferent style, a very different approach to it, that, at the end of the day — it works. I think Gordon comes from an internationally starred chef’s perspective. I come from more of a nuts and bolts business perspective.”
Bastianich, of course, is no softie. He famously dropped some 45 pounds years ago with a health regimen that included training to become an endurance athlete and running marathons. He’s now training for Hawaii’s notorious Iron Man triathlon.
They and their fellow judge, Chef Graham Elliot (the youngest four-star chef in the U.S.), will this be joined by none other than their mothers as judges on one episode of the new season. As foodies everywhere know, Joe’s mama is celebrity chef Lidia Matticchio Bastianich of “Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen,” etc. He says, “I think a lot of people think I’m tougher, but at the end of the day, she is.”