Joe Bastianich Leaving ‘MasterChef’ After Several Gratifying Years

Joe Bastianich is hanging his apron and leaving MasterChef and MasterChef Junior. Bastianich has been a judge on MasterChef alongside Gordon Ramsay and Graham Elliot since it started in 2010. The show will be in its sixth season in 2015, which will be Bastanich’s last. The third season of MasterChef Junior will begin on January 6, which is also Bastianich’s last season.

Joe Bastianich, 46, is an American-Italian chef who co-owns several restaurants in different locations including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City, and Honk Kong. He is the son of restaurateur and celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich.

In MasterChef, home cooks compete against each other to get the title of “Master Chef” and have their own cookbooks published. Joe is known for his deadpan reactions and strict critiques, which is why contestants feel a sense of satisfaction when he approves of the food they present.

Joe released an official statement on his Facebook page.

“After several gratifying years as a judge on MasterChef and MasterChef Junior, I have decided not to return for a sixth season. As co-owner and partner of the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, as well as Eataly through the Americas, I will be focusing my time and energies on their continued global expansion.”

According to E! Online, producers of the show are currently looking for a replacement for Bastianich. The producers of the show FOX, One Potato Two Potato, and Shine America released a joint statement regarding Bastianich’s departure.

“Joe has played an integral role in the success of both ‘MasterChef’ and ‘MasterChef Junior,’ and we all appreciate his incredible culinary insight, sense of humor, and passion. He will always remain a member of the ‘MasterChef’ family.”

Although he is leaving the two MasterChef shows, Joe Bastianich will continue his duties as a judge on MasterChef Italia, according to the Daily Mail. In addition, he also appears on the Canadian television series entitled Restaurant Startup, where teams pitch restaurant concepts to Tim Love and Bastianich in hopes of getting an investment from them.

[Image via Grub Street]