|“||The hallmarks of a MasterChef are elegance, sophistication, and finesse.||”|
He was born to Lidia and Felice Bastianich in New York. He was raised working in his parent's restraint Felidia in Manhattan, New York. He attended Fordham Preparatory School, before going to Boston College, where he studied finance. He is also an restaurateur, and co-owns restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Singapore and Hong Kong.
After spending a year on Wall Street as a bond trader, he gave up his newly launched career and ventured into the food industry. He took an extended trip to Italy. In 1993, he opened Becco (Italian for "peck, nibble, savor"), an Italian restaurant with his mother, Lidia Bastianich. He then partnered with Mario Batali to open Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, an Italian restaurant that gained the prestigious three stars from The New York Times, the first Italian restaurant to gain the award in 40 years. Babbo also has earned one Michelin star. Together they opened seven more restaurants in New York: Lupa, Esca, Casa Mono, Bar Jamon, Otto, Del Posto, and Eataly (an Italian marketplace). In 2010, Del Posto received a four star review from The New York Times, one of only five restaurants in New York to win that award. Their culinary empire has expanded to 10 restaurants in New York, four restaurants in Las Vegas, three restaurants in Los Angeles, two restaurants in Singapore, one Italian market in Chicago, one Italian market in Boston, and two restaurants in Hong Kong.
Bastianich has co-authored two award-winning books on Italian wine, and his memoir, Restaurant Man, became a New York Times Best Seller within a week of its release in May 2012.
Bastianich was a judge on the American MasterChef series broadcast by Fox until it took too much of his time, and MasterChef Junior until he was replaced on both series by Christina Tosi in the spring of 2015 after he exited the franchise in November 2014. However, he eventually returned to temporarily judge Season 6 of MasterChef Junior on March 2, 2018 and has returned to the judging panel as a full-time judge on MasterChef since season 9, which debuted in June 2018. He was also a judge on the Italian version of the program. MasterChef Italia shown on Sky Uno for its first 8 seasons. In May 2019, Bastianich announced his departure from MasterChef Italia in order to dedicate himself to his passion for music. In mid-September of the same year, Bastianich released his first album, titled "Aka Joe". In late January 2020, he will star in a musical concert tour around Italy, featuring his "New York Stories" album.
He has also guest starred as a guest judge on MasterChef Canada on Season 1, Episode 14.
He co-starred alongside Tim Love in the American reality show Restaurant Startup on CNBC, for which he is the executive producer along with Shine America.
Bastianich also made a special appearance in the 2015 television film An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success as a judge in a fictional season of MasterChef Junior. From March 22, 2016, he presented, with Guido Meda and Davide Valsecchi, the first edition of Top Gear Italia. He will also serve as a judge on the judging panel of Italia's Got Talent and Family Food Fight Italia, airing on Sky Uno in the spring of 2020.
In an episode of MasterChef Italia which came to the attention of the U.S. media in January 2018, Bastianich makes several remarks about Chinese men while making sexually suggestive comments to women giving him a manicure and pedicure at a beauty salon in Milan's Chinatown. He asks the women if they have ever had Italian boyfriends and remarks that Chinese men are "inadequate" in certain situations. When asked by the blog Grub Street for comment, Bastianich issued an apology:
|“||This was a scripted segment shot in a Milan nail salon that I've gone to regularly. I know the women, and we were given the questions to discuss in advance. That said, it's clear that some of what I said was in poor taste and not reflective of my views. I'm sorry I said those things.||”|
Joe can be best described as strict, harsh, stoic, and intimidating.
He has a stern face, and doesn't show a lot of emotion. While critiquing, he would often speak his mind in a straightforward and blunt manner, to the point of appearing rude. He holds very high standards and would be irritated by cooks who make simple mistakes. He also has zero tolerance for arrogance. However, there are multiple questionable moments where he can be considered to be rude and arrogant himself, especially when crosses the line from criticizing someone's food to either throwing a cook's food in the trash (a common gag found in Season 1 to Season 5) or downright insulting the cook even further. Despite this, he wants to make sure that all contestants always take the competition seriously.
However, since Season 9 onward, he is shown to be much more encouraging, supportive and nicer to the home cooks, having toned down his temper by an extremely large margin following his absence. He still retains some abrasive and intimating harshness from the first five seasons and still provides strict criticism, but they're meant to bring the best out of a cook for him or her to rebound from their mistakes and perform better later on.
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