Officially, Joe Bastianich left MasterChef to pursue other creative interests and expand his business, but in the years that have followed, there has been mysticism about his decision.
MasterChef is one of the most popular television franchises in the world. It first premiered in the United States in 2010, and the show has become one of the most watched shows on the Fox network. This has made it one of the channel’s flagship shows.
When the show first premiered on television, it featured the original formation of Gordon Ramsay as host and head judge, with Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich as the two resident judges.
However, the first change in the formation was when Bastianich decided to leave the show in 2014 to focus on his other creative pursuits and expand his culinary business.
Is MasterChef scripted?
Considering that MasterChef is a cooking competition reality format, the answer to this is yes and no. Firstly, since it is a competition, the show has a format that it adheres to in terms of its structure.
Therefore, in this sense, it is scripted. However, there is still a sense of “realism” in terms of the emotions of the contestants and the words and descriptions used by the judges when reviewing the food.
However, it has been confirmed that in some instances, there are retakes and repetition of dialogue for the purpose of capturing it on camera if a moment or statement was previously missed during the shoot.
MasterChef: Why Joe left
Joe Bastianich was part of the original formation of MasterChef’s judging panel. He was considered the mean judge with a harsh tongue who judged the cooks with very few words of encouragement on the show.
As a result, it was easy to believe that it was his prickly personality that was the reason he would be the first of the original judges to leave MasterChef.
In a lengthy post that he shared on Facebook in November 2014 after five seasons on MasterChef, Bastianich confirmed his exit in part by writing, “As co-owner and partner of the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, as well as Eataly throughout the Americas, I will be focusing my time and energies on their continued global expansion.”
Moreover, he affirmed that there was no bad blood between himself and the MasterChef franchise. This is because in addition to being a judge on MasterChef, Bastianich also served as the host and judge of MasterChef Junior. He had this role for the first three seasons of the show before he took his leave.
After the announcement of Bastianich’s departure, Christina Tosi replaced him on MasterChef and she also took over his role on MasterChef Junior. Tosi filled these roles until Bastianich made the decision to return to MasterChef after three seasons.
What did Joe do after leaving MasterChef?
As highlighted in his exit statement, Joe Bastianich wanted to expand his co-owned culinary business, Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group.
Moreover, he continued to work on other culinary and cooking competition shows, including Restaurant Startup.
He also announced that he would be joining the judging panel of MasterChef Italia, after first appearing on the show as a guest judge in 2011.
Moreover, it is believed that the biggest motivation was for Bastianich to follow his musical pursuits which he advanced while staying in Italy, and to officially release his debut album titledAKA Joe in 2019.
On 24 June 2022, Joe Basttianich and La Terza Classe released his latest 9-track album, Good Morning Italia.
Aside for his passion for music, Bastianich published the New York Times best-selling memoir titled Restaurant Man, with a foreword by Mario Batali, the famous chef, television personality and restaurateur.
Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group faces a scandal
In the time that Joe Bastianich left MasterChef to focus on his other creative pursuits and expand his co-owned business with Mario Batali, Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group faced a scandal as it was suggested that the company promoted a toxic and misogynistic work culture.
This scandal was mainly linked to Batali, and as a result, Bastianich released official word that the company would be distancing themselves from Batali.
It is believed that the scandal, along with the lack of growing acclaim he experienced after his exit, was the reason he returned to the US.
When did Joe return to MasterChef?
The first indication that Joe Bastianich was set to return to MasterChef was in the season eight finale in 2017.
Bastianich joined Gordon Ramsay, Christina Tosi, and Aarón Sánchez, who at the time had been part of the judging panel for two seasons after joining in 2016.
But he formally reprised his permanent judging role at the beginning of season nine, which premiered in 2018, and has been back in his role since then.
Moreover, with his return to MasterChef, he also returned as the host and head judge of MasterChef Junior in season six of the show.