updated 08/29/2013 AT 12:15 PM ET
•originally published 08/29/2013 AT 12:30 PM ET
Joe Bastianich is a restaurateur, winemaker, author and one of the judges of MasterChef. He is blogging each week about the show’s search for the best home cooks. Follow him on Twitter @Jbastianich or visit joebastianich.com.
With only five home cooks left from what was arguably our strongest crop of contestants in the history of MasterChef, they should expect only the unexpected. We wanted to test just how capable our finalists could be at integrating and manipulating a true smorgasbord of ingredients into a restaurant quality dish.
Who better to trust with choosing such a random selection than kids?
We judges were thrilled to welcome our sons – Ethan, Jack, Conrad and Miles – to join us in the MasterChef kitchen!
After being presented with such culinary gems as rainbow marshmallows, packaged sliced cheese, chocolate and ketchup, the cute factor faded pretty quickly, huh? The haphazard assortment courtesy of the peanut gallery clearly screamed dessert, yet oddly enough it was our two strongest bakers who were absent from the top three. Simple pancakes from Natasa is something I really couldn’t stomach – what a waste of her talent. It just goes to show that it is still very much anyone’s game.
On the other hand, Luca’s white chocolate and pineapple napoleon was exactly what we were hoping for. Jessie and James too exceeded our expectations and made the best possible use out of what they were given.