September 27, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Bethany Cianciolo
The Masterchef dishes about working with kids on the new Fox show, Masterchef Junior, which debuts September 27. Please Joe, tell us you don’t make any of the little contestants cry.
The contestants on the show range from age eight to 13. Do you judge differently on Masterchef Junior than you do on Masterchef?
We want these kids to cook on the same level as the adults, so we try to treat them the way we treat the adults. The kids were a little bit tepid in the beginning, but as much as we’re judging them, we’re also coaching them.
So you don’t go easy on them?
You’ve got to give them love, but sometimes a little bit of tough love is also good. And the kids are great because they’re honest—they speak their minds unhindered, which makes for great reality television.
How did the kids fare in the kitchen as compared to the adults?
They’re better than the adults, I swear to god. A lot of the baking is really impressive because baking is very technical. I think their use of what we consider really gourmet ingredients is amazing.
What’s one of the main pieces of advice you gave the children during the show?
Don’t be frustrated. The one thing that kids do is take their setbacks very seriously. So I think you’ve got to teach them how to regroup, come back and do better next time. The adults have a little bit more maturity—they can deal with setbacks and have more patience. But the kids make up for that because they have so much passion and energy for cooking.
Do you think you would’ve liked being on a cooking show as a kid?
No, I was much too stupid. These kids are much smarter than me!
June 6, 2011 at 11:21 am , by Sonia Harmon
Tonight is the premiere of season two of Masterchef, with chefs Graham Elliot, Joe Bastianich, and Gordon Ramsay back to judge the home cooks vying for the $250,000 grand prize. This year’s cooking competition comes with some surprisingly tasty dishes from unsuspecting characters, as well as some flat out awful auditions—and the judges don’t hold back with their critiques. Since we all can’t hold the title of Masterchef, we asked Bastianich to share a few quick tips for the rest us wanting to whip up a great meal at home.
Tip #1 “One of the big things I tell people is that when you’re cooking pasta, the last 20 percent of the cook time should be done in a sauté pan with the sauce. So reserve some of the pasta boiling water and add it to your sauce with the pasta in a sauté pan.”
Tip #2 “When you’re grilling steaks, pull them out 3-4 hours before you cook them and leave them on the counter. Season the meat while it’s cold and let it come to room temperature with the salt, pepper and seasoning on it. To get a perfect medium-rare or rare you want your steaks, or any kind of meat, to be at room temperature when it hits the grill.”
Tip #3 “All home cooks should have good olive oil and a good quality sea salt for finishing in their kitchen. And dried porcini mushrooms are like the secret recipe for everything. Put them in a coffee grinder and turn them into a powder, which you can use to marinate meats with salt and pepper and sugar. Anywhere you want to add flavor, you’ve got to use porcini mushrooms. They’re great.”