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WATCH: Joe Bastianich Is Helping Masterchef Winner Christine Ha Open Her Own Restaurant

We can’t believe it’s been a year since Joe Bastianich dismissed blind Masterchef contestant Christine Ha as a “liability” and thought she’d be kicked out. But after Ha’s odds-defying win, Bastianich’s growing respect for her has culminated in a de facto partnership. The pair revealed on Houston’s Fox 26 that Bastianich would help Ha open an actual, brick-and-mortar restaurant.

“We are developing a business plan,” Bastianich confirmed, later elaborating to Eater Houston that he was “just gonna help her” open a restaurant using his Restaurant Man Mind-Powers — so no, it’s not a Batali-Bastianich Hospitality Group project. (Thank goodness for that — Italian-Vietnamese culinary mashups are verboten at The Braiser.)

And why Houston? Apart from it being her hometown (and home to the second largest Vietnamese population in the US), Ha explained that the booming restaurant scene made the city “a great market.”

Check out the rest of the interview below, which involves Bastianich dishing on some of the contestants who made it onto the show, including a single mom. Will she be as cool as Monti? We doubt it.

Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

[My Fox Houston via Eater Houston]

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