It seems that MasterChef fans (and contestants) will have to do without the cringe-worthy moment when Joe Bastianich quietly throws a plate of a chef’s food in the garbage. Bastianich, son of Lidia Bastianich and one half of the Eataly empire, announced his plans to exit Fox’s MasterChef as a judge after the upcoming season of MasterChef Junior next year, according to Variety. Shine America, the production team behind MasterChef, is currently looking for a third judge to join the team alongside Gordon Ramsay and Graham Elliot, but no decisions have been made yet.
"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,” said the show’s producers in a statement. “He will always remain a member of the MasterChef family."
The third season of MasterChef Junior will premiere in January, one month after this season’s finale. After taking his leave, Bastianich will remain a judge for MasterChef Italia, Italy’s version of the show. He will also continue producing a travelogue series called On the Road for Italy’s Sky Network, and will be a mentor/host on CNBC’s Restaurant Startup.
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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi