Christina Tosi may not be a name many are familiar with, but her appearance as the new judge on Master Chef is about to make her a household name. Tosi is set to be the opposite of peer and former judge, Joe Bastianich, who she first replaced during the premiere of Master Chef’s sixth season, last Wednesday. Whereas Bastianich was seen as the cookery show’s version to Simon Cowell, Tosi is supportive, friendly, and clearly loves to be in the role of mentor and teacher. Her super sweet attitude is reflective of her skills as a desert and pastry chef. Gordon Ramsey beamed with pride as he introduced her to the eager new contestants, “She’s refreshing, exciting, and more importantly, a new dimension to Master Chef,” he enthused.
Internationally recognized as the co-owner of the Momofuku Milk Bar chain and a world-class pastry chef, Tosi was originally on the path to be an electrical engineer after studying at the University of Virginia. After spending some brief time in Europe, she returned to New York and graduated from the pastry arts program of the French Culinary Institute; a school renowned for other inspiring alumni members such as Bobby Flay and Dan Barber. Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar co-owner, David Chang, is also a graduate. Of her foray into cookery, Ms. Tosi says, “I always wanted a bakery when I grew up…it’s the other little girl dream besides being a princess.”
Master Chef is not this chef’s first venture into television. In 2011, she starred alongside pal and business partner Chang in his PBS series, The Mind of a Chef, in which they explored culinary delights from around the world. This was followed by stints on Unique Sweets on the Cookery Channel where she shared the tantalizing recipes for desserts and sweets available at her Momofuku Milk Bars. Her first role as judge came on American reality TV cooking series, Chopped.
Master Chef, a reality format which originally began running in the U.K. in the early 1990s, is no stranger to drama, twists, and groundbreaking recipes, particularly with foul-mouthed chef Gordon Ramsey at the helm, but Christina Tosi is the first female judge to appear on the U.S. show. Her reaction when Fox propositioned her for the role was both humbling and unexpected. Stating that “…when I got the call I thought it was a prank.” She said, ‘I was like, no! I just watched that on TV!.’
Being a remarkably busy entrepreneur, Tosi would have been forgiven for refusing the job. Her new Milk Bar pop up venture in Madison Square Park has just been launched and she is opening a new bakery in Washington D.C. soon. Alongside this, her second cookbook, Milk Bar Life, was released on Apr. 7, 2015. Despite her other commitments and doubts about leaving her home in New York to travel to Master Chef’s filming location in Los Angeles, she accepted the role with great gusto and was proud to have the opportunity to represent the more sweet toothed audience member of Master Chef. She hopes to have a positive influence on the show as someone who openly lives and breathes desserts. “It brings a different perspective,” she said, continuing with “it helps structure challenges.” Christina Tosi will be starring on Master Chef and Master Chef Juniors with co-judges Gordon Ramsey and Graham Elliot for the duration of Season 6, and if her talk is as sweet as her pastries, possibly for many seasons to come.
By Alison Klippenstein
Yahoo: Meet the New ‘MasterChef’ Judge: Joe Bastianich’s Out, Christina Tosi’s In
The New York Times: Christina Tosi, a Border-Crossing Pastry Chef
Grub Street: Christina Tosi on Her New MasterChef Gig, Cookbook, and Milk Bar Outpost
Photo Courtesy of MasterChefonFOX Twitter Page