Alright MasterChef fans, it's time for a little theorizing. If you watched episode 8, you know the red team CRUSHED it, beating out the blue team with their "spot-on" replicas of the dishes judges tasked them with making. (All three of the dishes are actually served at Joe Bastianich's Italian restaurant, Osteria Mozza!) It was a tall order, to be sure, but team red nailed it—largely thanks to their team leader, 22-year-old Nick DiGiovanni.
At the beginning of the episode, Nick and Michael Silverstein, the blue team leader, went to Mozza with Joe to learn how to cook three dishes from head chef Liz Hong. They then had to relay the information to their respective teams in what Michael described as a game of telephone. Micah, part of team red, called Nick "the reason we won," and throughout the challenge, the team leader was extremely calm, cool, and collected.
All of this leads me to one important question: If Nick continues to do well, could he become the youngest ever MasterChef winner? The 22-year-old just graduated college (from Harvard, no less) and was referred to as 21-years-old by Chef Joe in a June interview, which leads me to believe he only recently turned 22-years-old (@Nick, if you're reading this, please confirm your exact birth date!!).
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If he does win, he'll be neck-and-neck for the title of youngest winner with season one winner Whitney Miller, who was also 22 at the time. Since then, the next-youngest winner was 25-year-old Courtney Lapresi; most other winners were between the age of 31 and 33, interestingly.
To be fair, there are still 16 contestants remaining, so it's a little early to be speculating who wins. However, I do have one more nugget of information to throw into the fire. During the restaurant cooking lesson, Joe told Nick and Michael: "I think if one of you two learned to season properly, you could probably win the whole competition. It's that important."
Now, he could have just been doubling down on the importance of seasoning. And there were a few seasoning mistakes on team red's part—too much pepper on the lentils, for example. BUT...I'm taking it as a hint of foreshadowing on Joe's part.
Madison Flager is the Lifestyle Editor at Delish.com; she covers food news and trends, travel-worthy food experiences, and the products you need in your kitchen right now. She has a deep love of coffee and manchego cheese.