Contestant Josh (left) and judge Joe Bastianich
08/22/2012 at 12:10 PM EDT
Joe Bastianich is a successful restaurateur, vineyard owner and author of the memoir Restaurant Man
. He's also a judge on
MasterChef, which challenges home cooks to prove they can cut it in top professional kitchens. Each week he's blogging season 3 of Fox's hit show, offering an insider's take on the competition.
We are down to our own Fab Five on MasterChef
Allowing our remaining home cooks
to use self-selected ingredients is so beyond their skill level at this point, I'm honestly surprised they thought it would be that easy. With $250,000 up for grabs, they should have seen it coming. Graham, Gordon and I took a look around that kitchen and realized the best way to trip them up was to let their extreme diversity pose the challenge.
There is an unspoken but absolute belief among the contestants that Becky is the frontrunner by a long shot. The problem this poses for Becky is that she, too, believes this blindly. While I admire a strong sense of self-confidence, there is always a happy medium.
Taking some of the credit for Christine's stellar dish was laying it on pretty thick, don't you think, Becky
? Had she been in the top three of this challenge herself, I don't believe for a second she would have given kudos to Josh for his choice of ingredients. Not a chance! Having never watched the confessionals during production, I am sure getting a kick out of them now. Wow.
On the other side of the coin is Monti. Every time she nails a dish, she's left in disbelief, gazing up at Gordon like he's Daddy Warbucks about to pluck her from a drunken Miss Hannigan. The Little Orphan Annie routine has got to go – Monti is a damn good cook who kicked ass and took names. Saying goodbye to her was bittersweet. At this point we are anxious to find a winner, but watching her progress has been a pleasure.
Many proved me wrong during this journey, but none more so than Monti. If someone told me at auditions that she would make it to the top five, I would have laughed in his or her face. During the audition round, to me she was all smoke and mirrors – a gimmick, if you will. But perhaps what I perceived then as a lack of authenticity was instead her extreme self-doubt. She sold herself verbally, but wasn't buying her own pitch. I hope her experience here frees her from her own disbelief in herself.
From thousands of hopefuls, we are left with only four home cooks – who do you think will take the title? Tune in next Tuesday, and thanks for reading!