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Category — The Taste

The Taste Season One – Episode Two – The Auditions Continue

Season two of The Taste kicked off in the US this week and showed that it is always good to go for round two. It was much tighter and therefore much more entertaining. My partner who was ambivalent about the show is now looking forward to the next episode. Unfortunately the ratings were not as good has it had been in the previous season. The Nigella scandal having an effect?

It is also interesting watching knowing Brian Malarkey was dumped after season one and to see whether he is annoying or arrogant as the social media sphere says.

However on season one the auditions continued as the coaches continued to try and pick their teams from blind tastings and it was hard to work out whether they were trying to pick professional chefs only or talented amateurs. What we do know is Anthony Bourdain goes for anything with a bit of spice.

First up was Nathaniel  a food blogger/server was making his version of shrimp toast which was a butter poached shrimp with curry sauce sitting on polenta. It did not impress the judges and he was out.

Nina Marie made Chilean Sea Bass with Butterscotch and Cilantro Relish and to top it off was some Bulgarian Feta. All the judges said no but Bourdain said it strangely worked for him and put her on his team.

Paul also a professional chef put a lot of ingredients on the spoon there was Chilean Sea Bass and then artichokes wrapped with prosciutto. Both Ludo and Nigella buzzed in for him He said he had to learn from Ludo and picked him.

Sieger who was a bit of a looker  from Chicago is a professional chef made watermelon and tuna crudo. It did look good. Bourdain thought it was too restrained in flavour and said no. Ludo said there was no olive oil or no acidity and said no. Maybe they are all looking for the 20 ingredients on a spoon but unfortunately the eye candy fell by the wayside.

A Sofia Vegara look alike made shrimp  and Yucca Gratin and tomato relish. Brian Malarkey said the dish does not sing to me and Ludo said it lacked flavour. It was back to cooking for her family for her.

Micah who is a amateur chef gave up his job to be here. Did he think he was going on Masterchef? He made pan seared fillet mignon with parsnip and vanilla mash. When the judges were wondering whether it was a professional or amateur Nigella thought it must be an amateur who had watched a lot of cooking programs. Brian Malarkey decided to put him on his team.

TJ seemed like a nice guy who works with sewerage his aim is to get into the culinary world so he can deal with the top end of the digestive system.  He made a Chicken Mole. Before he put the salsa on it, it looked like faeces. The judges hammered him and Bourdain said these are not flavoured I recognised or enjoyed. Has anyone ever eaten a decent chicken mole?

Up to 24 minutes Diane the chef consultant from NYC who said she was there to kick ass and take everyone down. She was making cumin dusted lamb cutlets. Her ego was big. She was sassy, arrogant and very good looking. Ludo gave her glowing compliments but did not pick her as she put too much of the “amazingly good tzatiki” on the dish. Anthony Bourdain was the only one of the judges that picked her. She is going to be good television.

Shaun was a professional chef is decided to cook something he had never cooked before… alway an issue. He made Ahi Tuna with jicama. Bourdain and Nigella declined but Malarkey and Ludo both wanted him. Shaun revealed he normally cooked french cuisine. So it was no surprise he went with Ludo.

Renee was from Chicago and a professional  cook but quit her job to come on the show. She made Pistachio Encrusted Halibut with fennel, tomato and pea shoots. They all said no, and Ludo said there it was a perfectly executed dish but there was nothing fancy in it. Ludo did offer her a job as a consolation prize.

Lauren was an amateur cook living in a trailer but she is not stupid she has her boyfriend living next door not living with her.She was making a chocolate cake with a pistachio ganache. With her sad tale of only having 32 dollars in her bank account I was hoping she would get through. Brian and Bourdain both said they liked it but wanted savoury chefs. Ludo thought she was great but did not pick her but fortunately Nigella did. You know Lauren will last all of three seconds once it gets into the next round. It will be interesting to see how far the amateurs get in the competition.

January 5, 2014   22 Comments

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.

December 29, 2013   32 Comments

The Taste Season One Starring Nigella Lawson And Anthony Bourdain To Finally Air


Better late then never The Taste the food reality TV show starring Nigella Lawson and Anthony Bourdain will screen on GEM starting 29 December.

This is nearly a year after it premiered in the USA. It is a good move by GEM as Nigella Lawson is creating a lot of publicity with the news she has taken class A drugs. Apparently shocking for Nigella whereas her fellow co-star Anthony Bourdain made an international career BECAUSE he had taken hard core illicit drugs. In more bollocks apparently the police are going to review the evidence in relation to Nigella’s drug use. Interesting most other celebrities who admit in media interviews that they have taken drugs have not attract this law enforcement scrutiny. See full story on this issue here.

The Taste is perfect summer television viewing and highly recommended. I saw the first couple of episodes, the audition rounds,  when I was in the USA in January.  The show is based on The Voice with the judges picking a team based on blind tastings. They then mentor their team until there is a winner. Amateur and professional cooks compete against each other.

There is a season two which will premiere shortly in the US and judge Marcus Samuelsson is replacing Brian Malarkey as a mentor.

Here are the full details:

The Taste, an exhilarating cooking competition judged by four of the world’s most renowned celebrity chefs including Nigella Lawson and Anthony Bourdain, begins on Sunday, December 29, at 6.30pm on Gem.

 This exciting new series puts competitors, from professional chefs to home cooks, into a pressure cooker of a kitchen where blind taste tests of their creations are served to the international food experts. One bad bite and the celebrity chefs could march a competitor out of the kitchen.

Joining Lawson and Bourdain on The Taste are famed culinary experts Ludo Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey.

Bourdain, Lawson, Lefebvre and Malarkey will each mentor a team of four professional and amateur cooks as they vie to create the best tasting dish.

Each group will face team and individual challenges with a variety of themes throughout several elimination rounds.

At the end of each episode the mentors will have to judge the hopefuls’ dishes. With each judge blindfolded, they won’t know whose creation they are sampling, what they are eating – or who they could be sending home.

 The Taste: Premiering Sunday, December 29, at 6.30pm on Gem


December 23, 2013   5 Comments

The Taste Premiering In The US on 22 January Will NINE Fastrack?

New cooking show The Taste is premiering in the USA on the 22 January and NINE is yet to announce whether they will be fastracking the program.

The show which is a food version of The Voice, that is, where the judges have to judge on taste alone.

The judging panel are Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey.

Channel NINE have announced it as part of their programming of 2013. Hopefully they won’t sit on it as they may risk it becoming stale or people seeing spoilers or downloading it from the US. Maybe they won’t put it up against popular local formats My Kitchen Rules and Masterchef Professionals. However it is a one hour weekly episode.

The show will have sixteen contestants and the first episode will be a two hour special.

The Taste to screen on NINE in 2013.

January 7, 2013   Comments Off on The Taste Premiering In The US on 22 January Will NINE Fastrack?

Channel NINE Relying On Reality TV For Rating Bonanza In 2013

Channel NINE launched their 2013 schedule this morning in Sydney with reality TV being the back bone of their schedule, and it looking like a very solid line up indeed.

There were few surprises. Big Brother, The Voice, two series of The Block – one an All Stars season, and Celebrity Apprentice are back.

New to the channel is Australia’s Got Talent switching from Seven to NINE, The Great Australian Bake Off, and the US version of The Taste. The Taste looks like it has the greatest cast ever including Anthony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson, see previous blog post on the show and how it is the food version of The Voice.

TV Tonight has noted that Farmer Wants A Wife is not mentioned and is seeking confirmation that it has been dropped.

No judges were announced for The Voice or Australia’s Got Talent. Ricky Martin is meant to be getting The Voice chair that Kevin Urban vacated and there are no whispers on who is in or out on the re-jigged AGT.

For full information from the NINE Press release see below:


The world’s greatest talent search has found a new home. Australia’s Got Talent will be on Nine in 2013 with new hosts and judges and exciting talent to bring to the Australian audience. The global success of Got Talent has seen the format top the ratings in Britain, where a massive total of 13.8 million people watched the finale, the USA, New Zealand and scores of other territories around the world.


The next global phenomenon is coming to Nine. Shane Jacobson and Anna Gare will host The Great Australian Bake Off, with Dan Lepard and Kerry Vincent joining them as judges in the search to find Australia’s Best Home Baker.

The ultimate kitchen battle is set to erupt when Nine serves up this brand new TV dish in 2013. Ten home baking enthusiasts will be put through a series of gruelling elimination challenges, baking a mouth-watering selection of cakes, pies, tarts, pastries, bread, biscuits and desserts, in the hope of being crowned Australia’s Best Home Baker.


The ultimate taste sensation has arrived on Nine, with four superstar chefs, 16 cooks hungry to win – and every delicious morsel tasted blind! This program is all about the taste. One bad bite and the chefs could be sending their favourite cooks home.

Famed culinary experts Ludo Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey will join no-holds-barred chef Anthony Bourdain and British food star Nigella Lawson as mentors on The Taste.

Each of the four culinary superstars – Bourdain, Lawson, Lefebvre and Malarkey – will coach a team of four pro and amateur cooks chosen from a nationwide casting call as they vie to create the best tasting dish. The groups will face team and individual challenges with a variety of culinary themes through several elimination rounds. At the end of each episode the mentors will have to judge the competitors’ dishes blind, with no knowledge of whose creation they are sampling, what they are eating, how it was prepared or who they could be eliminating. 


The ratings smash-hit of 2012, The Voice, is back with superstar coaches Seal, Joel Madden and Delta Goodrem in their red chairs again to discover Australia’s next Voice. And who will be the fourth coach of The Voice in 2013?

In 2013, there will be not one but two “Blocktastic” seasons. The Block All-Stars, back in Bondi where it all began 10 years ago, will feature four of The Block’s favourite couples – Phil and Amity (series 1), Mark and Duncan (series 3), Josh and Jenna (series 4) and Dan and Dani (series 5) – competing in an All-Stars version of the home renovation blockbuster.

Hosted by Scott Cam, with Shelley Craft, the four couples get a second chance at the top real estate prize on television when they renovate four heritage-listed Bondi cottages in record time – six weeks.

Then, later in the year, a new full series of The Block premieres with eight couples striving to win in 2013.

The Big Brother juggernaut stormed home on Nine this year, recapturing a whole new generation of Australian viewers.  In 2013, Big Brother will be back, hosted by Sonia Kruger, with new housemates, new tricks and new twists, brighter and more entertaining than ever.

In the third series of The Celebrity Apprentice, Mark Bouris returns to the boardroom as celebrities are in for the challenge and out of their comfort zones. In this crazy world anything goes in the name of charity. One by one the celebrities will be fired until one is crowned the celebrity apprentice of 2013.

Which of these shows will you be watching in 2013?

November 27, 2012   31 Comments