The Taste Is A Cooking Contest That Levels The Playing Field

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logo for the show The TasteSinging talent shows not only allowed little to no talent singers to get on TV, it also made the competition format a trendy way to do a reality talent show. It has been used in cooking shows like Top Chef and Chopped and now shows up on the new ABC show The Taste. The twist is similar to the NBC singing talent show The Voice where the judges pick a team based on a blind test. The Taste uses a single blind taste of a dish. The two hour first show was a bit much, but I liked what I saw and might tune in again.

I HATE the singing shows like American Idol and The Voice. Can’t stand them. I think it’s because they like to show the people with little to no talent humiliating themselves or being humiliated by smug arrogant B-List judges (well The Voice is a little better). Just not entertainment to me. I don’t need to see people getting beat down to make myself feel better about myself.

I generally like cooking shows and somewhat cooking competition shows. I was a big fan of Top Chef and can watch Iron Chef America. I’m not aware of a cooking competition show that combines professional and non-professional cooks on a somewhat equal footing like The Taste. The twist is the judges base a decision on just a single taste of a dish in a blind test. They don’t know who the person is or if they are a professional or not before the reveal. I really like that because I’ve noticed in some cooking shows the presentation of the food and how the chef looks can sway the judgement of the quality of the food.

I also love the judges panel The Taste has. It’s great they have professional chefs and non-professional cooks with an international mix.

image of the four judges on The Taste
Ludo Lefebvre, Nigella Lawson, Brian Malarkey, Anthony Bourdain of The Taste

At the top of the list is Anthony Bourdain. He has made appearances on some of the other cooking competition shows including Top Chef and I’ve always liked his observations. I guess he would be the Simon Cowell of the show – telling contestants bluntly if their food was good or sucked.

Nigella Lawson is not a professional chef but is a foodie and has written several cookbooks. I really liked her cooking show that was on the Food Channel and now the Cooking Channel. To me she is would be the Rachel Ray of the UK.

Brian Malarkey competed on Top Chef and is a successful restaurateur. He brings energy to the judges panel is game for anything.

Ludo Lefebvre appeared on Top Chef Masters and is known for the “pop-up” restaurant where dinner is served in different restaurants that normally are only open for Breakfast and Lunch. The only issue with Ludo is he has a thick French accent and at some points on the show I wanted closed captioning for him.

The competition will have four people on a team with each judge serving as a mentor for a team. The first couple of episodes have various people auditioning then the rest of the show will be the teams competing against each other. The judges will do blind tastes each week and eliminate a contestant or two. The judges won’t know if the person is on their team until the reveal.

If the mentors will be in the kitchen advising their team, I find it hard to believe they won’t know what their team cooked by the time of the blind taste. It will be interesting to see how that works out.

The only issue I had with the first episode was it was an hour too long and they spent time introducing us to a lot of contestants who didn’t get picked. It seemed like they were padding out the time. It took away from getting to know the people who got picked and with only 8 total episodes that is a taste of concern…. LOL!

The two hour first episode will be repeated on Saturday January 26 at 8 PM EST and you can watch it on the ABC website. The regular timeslot is Tuesdays at 8 PM EST. Give it a taste…. I know, too much.

The Taste Sneak Peek
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