The Worst Thing Joe Bastianich Ever Ate On MasterChef - Exclusive

We've all eaten our share of bad dishes made by home cooks. It's simply bound to happen now and then, whether we're dining at an in-law's house, attending a colleague's holiday party, or we just totally ruined a recipe ourselves. But when your job involves trying hundreds of meals made by aspiring amateur chefs, the chances of ingesting more than your fair share of effectively indigestible food skyrockets. 

For the judges on the long-running hit TV show MasterChef, it's really just a matter of time before a contestant serves them up something awful. Over the decade-plus run of the show, we have seen more than enough dishes leave Gordon Ramsay disgusted, Joe Bastianich bemused, Aarón Sánchez confused, and even the amiable Graham Elliot at a loss for anything good to say. You might think that, given how long the show has run and how many meals the judges have tasted, it would be hard to recall a specific particularly bad meal to single out as the worst, but apparently that's not the case.

When Mashed caught up with Bastianich in an exclusive interview, he had an answer ready. When asked about the worst dish he tried on MasterChef, Bastianich explained: "Well, back in the early days, 12 years ago, I could remember some things that were pretty horrendous specifically ... There was one, I think season two, it was called Hillbilly Sushi. It might go down as one of the worst."

He was close: the dish was actually called Redneck Sushi (via YouTube).

The Redneck Sushi just didn't work

Redneck Sushi — which Gordon Ramsay would later call "F****** horrendous!" in a separate interview (via YouTube) — was submitted to the MasterChef judges by Jim Miller, a season two contestant who Oregon Live says, aside from being an aspiring chef, was a martial arts instructor. When Miller presented the dish to Ramsay, Elliot, and Bastianich, the initial response from the judges was equivocal at best. 

In the MasterChef YouTube clip, Miller described Redneck Sushi as "a blend of sushi and barbecue" with a "white barbecue sauce, [which] is basically just a mayonnaise base." In response to Elliot's question, "What is the actual meat? What animal?" Miller replied: "It's a chicken breast ... Normally what I do is, I do a beer butt chicken. I spice rub it, put the beer inside of it, make sure it's really nice and moist." After a heavy pause, Ramsay cautioned, "I've never had chicken in a sushi."

In the end, both Ramsay and Bastianich rejected Redneck Sushi out of hand, with Bastianich suppressing a cough as he stepped away from the tasting table and saying, "It's clearly a no, sorry." Judge Graham Elliot gave a tepid yes, saying: "It works for me," but the two "no" votes ruled. 

If you'd like to see some dishes that got a "yes" vote from Joe Bastianich, you can check the Grana Padano website or Instagram page for recipes and updates on his work with the exclusive Italian cheese.