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The Taste Season One – Episode One What Did You Think?

The long awaited viewing of The Taste kicked off on GEM with a  five minute introduction on how it would work. In brief it would be blind tastings and the judges would base their team selection on taste alone. Also the contestants were both amateur and professional chefs. The professional chefs appear to be ones that are not good enough to be on Top Chef but not bad enough to go on Hell’s Kitchen. 

Anthony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson who are well known here in Australia played up to their stereotypes. Bourdain was the bad arse and Nigella was coquettish with an edge. Brian Malarkey looks like the US version of Bill Grainger and Ludo is a charming french chef who seems to have a competitive thing going with Malarkey.

Like The Voice the judges were always more effusive when a good looking person was revealed.

The first contestant was allegedly a professional chef from Las Vegas, however the only wow factor was  the mass of ingredients which he managed to fit on on small ceramic spoon. It was a pineapple, maitake, ground turkey, sun-dried tomato, mac and cheese stir fry. Needless to say he did not get in. Bourdain said it was geninely revolting. Brian Malarky said it was a rollercoaster to nowhere and Nigella said she did not get it.

What I did not get was why the girls who was serving the food were wearing a very tight and very short dress. It looked like a uniform that you would see at Hooters if it ever went upmarket.

Sarah a food blogger from Florida made seared scallops with a peach habanero salsa. Apparently the scallop was cooked perfectly. Brian Malarkey decided he wanted her on his team as did Ludo Lebreve. Both of them seemed please she was such a looker and they then had to pitch to her why she should be on their team. She chose Ludo.

Kyle a professional chef made Chicken Fried Watermlon with pickeled watermelon rind. They through they had made a terrible mistake but none of them pressed the button. He was pissed off that none of them got his dish.

Khristianne was a personal chef to Charlie Sheen and also to the royal family in Saudi Arabia. She made Seared Scallops with Cream Corn and Corinader Chili Oil. Bourdain thought it tasted like restaurant food however he did not press to have her on his team. He seemed to be taking the cautious approach when choosing his team. Brian Malarkey was not hesitating and took her.

Jeanette  from New Jersey made Jalapeno kugel with mushroom sauce. She was an amateur chef with a back story about their business going bust and they were about to lose their home. However she was not going to win the $100,000 prize as none of the judges picked her as they did not like the twist she had put on traditional jewish food.

Todd who is the hottest chef in Miami  made seared tuna with ginger sweet potato puree. None of them picked him and they told him they had regretted not picking him. Nigella said “he was the one she needs”. Maybe she thought he was hot.

Renata is a home cook who made Chicken and Mashed Potato with cabbage, carrots and sauce. Nigella picked her she told the other judges her grandmother would have made something like that. Ludo told her his grandmother could cook better then that.

Markus was another professional chef with some crazy food combinations first there was a lamb medallion with crab and cranberry ravioli. Of course no one wanted him on the team.

One professional chef had the shits that she did not get through and that a person who had cooked mashed potatoes did.

Mia went to Harvard but is also a Yoga Instructor. I am just going to presume she is also working somewhere else. She made Indian Spiced Lamb. No one wanted her except Bourdain who told her he had wanted more of her dish.

It is not the best cooking competition show on television but it is entertaining enough in the sleepy non-ratings season and does give the viewer an insight into American cooking. NINE have the rights to make an Australian version of the show, however a local version is very unlikely to occur!

What did you think?

The Taste on GEM Sunday nights at 6.30pm.

32 comments

1 Laura { 12.29.13 at 11:25 pm }

I think it has potential – the judging panel is probably the best out of any reality cooking show (I think I’ve watched them all!) Malarky has been dumped for season 2, sadly as I quite like him, replaced with Top Chef Masters winner Marcus Samuelson.

I think the show needs a host – you’ll see in later episodes that the judges share the hosting duties and it’s awkward. Also I wish they had dropped the whole “spoon” thing after the auditions stage – in the competition stage every single dish (except one) has to be served on a tiny spoon. It’s stupid.

Also some of the later decisions (who is eliminated) are nonsensical – either producers are having a big hand or the judges are very biased/ idiots.

Also there should be prizes for winners of challenges, like on Top Chef. All they get is a “gold star” which means absolutely nothing.

I just watched this show as a marathon and it definitely annoyed me in some ways! But I absolutely loved Nigella especially so I hope that season 2 will lift its game. I’ll be interested to read your recaps and see if you agree with me.

2 Reality Raver { 12.29.13 at 11:33 pm }

Laura – Thanks for your insight of the show. I will be sticking with it. Ironically season two starts in the US on 2 January. I think one of the criticisms of Malarkey was he was too arrogant.

3 Laura { 12.30.13 at 12:25 am }

They are all arrogant, maybe with the exception of Nigella. Ludo is definitely just as arrogant as Malarky, if not more, and I’m sure the producers would have encouraged it! I think they just wanted/ needed a bigger name chef (that’s what I’ve read), which is fair. Also a lot of the contestants are very good so the premise only works if the mentors are better than them and able to give them valuable advice. There was a few occasions where Malarky’s advice hindered rather than helped his team. Though the same happened for all the chefs, even Bourdain.

4 zee { 12.30.13 at 1:14 am }

The first episode didn’t do much for me. The waitress or carrier of the spoons was a bit strange. I may give it another go as there is nothing else on.

5 Reality Raver { 12.30.13 at 6:50 am }

Laura – in a way Bourdain would be the least renowned cook of them. He has not cooked professionally for years and does not put out cookbooks. Nigella puts out cookbooks and at this stage they don’t appear to be ghost written. We will have to wait and see if the Grillo sisters reveal that…

6 Sandii { 12.30.13 at 6:57 am }

I really enjoyed the show but the waitresses were over the top. Reminds me of the film clip “addicted to love” by whathisname Palmer.

7 Reality Raver { 12.30.13 at 7:06 am }

Sandii – Now that you mention it that is exactly what they looked like. It just looked really out of place with the tone of the show.

Zee – Not the best food show but I will be interested to see how it pans out once it is past the auditions.

8 Chookpea { 12.30.13 at 7:25 am }

Looking forward to your recaps as I don’t have Gem at home. Got to watch it since I’m on holiday, yay!

I enjoyed it, a bit too overdramatic with the music etc, but that’s American reality tv for you. I also found Malarkey very arrogant. I was surprised only 2 got through on last nights show. At this rate, it’ll be a month before get their teams together.

ETA: does anyone know if it can be watched online? I only have foxtel and can’t get Gem…or can you?

9 Littlepetal { 12.30.13 at 10:56 am }

I quite enjoyed the first episode. Fast pace and like the blind tasting.

Not sure about serving food on the spoon as not all dishes can be served that way.

Agree with comments about the waiters. Why are they in short dresses?? New dress code for waiters??

10 all happening { 12.30.13 at 12:07 pm }

Chookpea, you need to be able to get gem etc on the aerial before foxtel will pick it up, I believe. I only get 8 free to air stations on my foxtel but I have a satellite dish. Family in the city have all channels I believe.

I must watch the show next ep. Sounds ‘interesting’.

11 Techhater { 12.30.13 at 6:12 pm }

Laura Thanks for the info. I’m surprised that all dishes are going to be one spoon tastes. That dampens my enthusiasm a little bit. However, i have to say that Desi and i absolutely loved it. I really love the format but do hope we get to see full dishes being served later in the series.

We had a really good laugh at Jeanette’s Kugel, as i make the tradional dish all the time and think i’m being extravagant by adding sun-dried tomatoes, but her’s was no longer kugel. More like Mexican macaroni and cheese. (If that’s possible)

12 Georgie { 12.30.13 at 6:27 pm }

So everything has to be served on a tiny spoon? Jowlsy wouldn’t survive as a judge on this show.

13 lollie { 12.30.13 at 6:31 pm }

I’ll be watching this one.

14 Littlepetal { 12.30.13 at 6:46 pm }

Jowlsy will have a taste test with the spoon and then scoff off the rest from the cooking bench 😀

15 Izobel2 { 12.30.13 at 6:46 pm }

I think this was on again today and I missed it. (probably the replay).
Will have to search for it. Tried Channel 9 website and couldn’t see it.

16 Techhater { 12.30.13 at 6:51 pm }

Izobel2 Gem had the encore on today right before Great British Bake Off encore. For me it’s a great Monday afternoon’s viewing.

17 Georgie { 12.30.13 at 6:58 pm }

Lol Littlepetal, then after he cleaned up the bench he’d eat it too. Obviously the judges aren’t concerned with plating up on The Taste either.

18 mittens { 12.30.13 at 7:01 pm }

He’d be OK if they used a giant spoon.

19 Izobel2 { 12.30.13 at 7:02 pm }

Great Techater… now they just have to do that again this week so I can watch it!

20 Sandii { 12.30.13 at 7:09 pm }

I think those dinky spoons are great for the preliminary rounds but would be more of a nuisance as the competition progresses. I cant imagine how I would serve up a chicken parmy and chips.

21 Andrea { 12.30.13 at 7:17 pm }

Only caught a bit of this but wasn’t a great fan from what I saw.
Its very much like The Voice with the contestants choosing their mentors.

22 Littlepetal { 12.30.13 at 7:31 pm }

I think it is the mentors choosing the contestants

23 Techhater { 12.30.13 at 7:34 pm }

But just like the Voice if 2 mentors pick the same contestant then the contestant chooses.

What i like about this show is ALL dishes are blind tasted so mentors can actually vote their own contestant out. This should be fun.

24 Andrea { 12.30.13 at 7:35 pm }

Thanks for that Littlepetal, did you like it?

25 Sandii { 12.30.13 at 7:35 pm }

Andrea and Littlepetal you’re both right. The mentor chooses the contestant and if more than one mentor wants the contestant, it is then up to the contestant to decide which chef they go with.

26 Littlepetal { 12.30.13 at 7:42 pm }

Thanks Sandii for reminding me about the contestant choosing the mentor when there are more than one mentor who want the contestant.

I like the show, Andrea

27 Andrea { 12.30.13 at 7:46 pm }

Thanks Sandii and Techhater for clearing that up.
The blind tastings are a great idea.

28 Reality Raver { 12.30.13 at 7:48 pm }

Maybe the spoons are there to stop sliders and tacos from being dished up.

29 Techhater { 12.30.13 at 8:00 pm }

RR LOL I’m sure Nigella and Anthony wouldn’t even consider a slider or taco. 😛

30 Sandii { 12.30.13 at 8:11 pm }

Yea I like the idea of blind tasting.

31 Panda { 12.31.13 at 10:55 am }

I enjoyed it. It had a good pace.

32 steam shower installation { 02.13.14 at 5:03 am }

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