I watched about 50% of the new ABC Television program “The Taste” with Chef Anthony Bourdain, English Journalist and Food Writer Nigella Lawson, Chef Brian Malarky and Chef Ludo Lefebvre.
I felt the show was a copy from NBC’s singing competition program “The Voice” in which contestants are picked by four judges based on the voice, not by appearance. This is the same with The Taste. Four judges pick contestants to be on their teams based on “blind tasting”, not based on experience, education, appearance.
As each contestant has their dish tasted by the judges, they are behind a partition and can hear the feedback of the judges. Then the contestant is either pick by a judge for their team or rejected. One of the things I noticed right away was just how small each portion the judges tasted was. A single bite served on a white tasting spoon. The majority of comments made by the judges was lack of texture, salt, muddled flavor. If you never seen a tasting spoon, I can tell you they are so small, that single bite can get muddled, under or over seasoned, texture lost.
Another thing I noticed was how Chef Malarky was negative and at times sarcastic in his comments. Chef Ludo was so difficult to understand and Chef Bourdain whom I have always enjoyed watching because he is so outspoken and very candid. As I stated I have not watched all of last nights episode as it just didn’t hold my interest.
The comment that lost my interest was what Nigella Lawson said in reference to home cook Mia from San Francisco. Chef Malary asked if anyone had any thoughts about this contestant being a Chef. Nigella stated she felt the dish was from a Chef because of “how everything was chopped so fine” then Chef Bourdain chipped in that he was in agreeance with her comment.
I felt Nigella’s comment was rather thoughtless and inconsiderate to home cooks who like herself have never been to culinary school. Add Chef Bourdain’s comment that he was in agreeance with her. Well that lead me to pick my jaw up from the living room floor, when that comment should have been left on the editing room floor.
Learning to chop ingredients in an uniformed way does not take rocket science nor a bachelor’s degree, it takes practice. There are so many food bloggers, youtube tutorials, books and cooking shows, that one can learn over time and practice how to “finely chop” as good as a Chef does. In fact on Chef Bourdain former program “No Reservations” he gave a lesson on chopping an onion in a uniform way, and suggested to the viewers to buy a cheap bag of onions to practice on.
Overall I felt the comments were often a cheap shot for ratings. The judges didn’t muddle well with each other, and often came across as awkward with one another as if they were over rehearsed.
I do plan to watch the rest of last nights episode, and possibly a few more episodes to see if The Taste will pick up or continue to leave a Bad Taste in my mouth.
In closing I wish more programs focused on the food, the passion and drive each contestant has within to win, and leave the cheap shots and drama behind. One of my favorite cooking programs is “Chopped” no drama, all about the food,time clock and a basket of unknown ingredients. Just because home cooks do not have a bachelor’s degree or training does not mean we do not have passion, imagination and the drive. Too bad “Chopped” is for Chefs, because I would love to watch home cook battle it out in that type of forum.
Now that’s a cooking competition!