New York restaurateur Joe Bastianich is serious about food—and his health. The Master Chef judge and father of three spoke exclusively with Celebrity Parents about staying healthy, balancing it all, and why he wants at least one of his kids to learn how to make wine in the future.
We’re sitting here in your restaurant, Del Posto, but you own several more restaurants and wineries in Italy. How do you manage all that?
It’s really about the quality of the people. Cultivating and empowering the people you work with is the key. You share the vision of what you want and you find people who also share in that vision.
From the outside, this is a lavish lifestyle.
In some ways, it is. You get to travel around the world. You get to be creative and enjoy life, flying back and forth to Italy, but there is a lot of sacrifice. The hours are crazy; you might miss out on a lot. It’s not perfect; you give some and you get some back.
What would you say is your parenting style?
My wife and I are very involved with our kids. We spend time with them and listen to our kids. More importantly, though, we work as a team; we have to complement each other. Luckily, we have united values and visions.
As long as both parents give a strong message at the end of the day the parenting values will be similar.
It’s always good to have a united front. If not, the kids know which one to try to work.[laughs] They’re like piranhas. They smell blood in the water.
Now, let’s talk about your health. You recently quit smoking.
I did, and I lost a lot of weight. I had smoked for a long time, well over 20 years. When you’re a parent, you realize how important your health is. NicoDerm CQ helped me to finally quit and after many years, I was able to quit because of them as well as support from my family. I teamed up with Blueprint to Quit program, which is a comprehensive quit-smoking program that helps smokers address the physical cravings as well as the emotional changes associated with quitting smoking. And running became a big part of my life. I started doing Ironman and triathlons.
What was that like?
It’s very intense. It’s very much therapeutic for me; it’s like the way I meditate. I really enjoy it.
What else do you have planned for this year?
Well, we’re working on a television show based on my book, Restaurant Man. And I’m working on a healthy pasta cookbook. It’s really all about portion size.
Among your three kids, Olivia, Miles and Ethan, is anyone showing any interest in the family businesses?
It’s hard to tell. They all have different aptitudes, but I can already see that Ethan has my personality the most! Honestly, as long as they’re happy, that’s all I want. If they fall into this lifestyle, great, and if not, I’m fine with it, too. We have a family wine business and while I don’t shove it down their throats, I really hope at least one of them makes wine when they’re older! That’s the one thing I want them to do, to keep the business —and the tradition — in the family.