Can’t Wait for a Taste of “The Taste”

By Karen

Doesn’t it seem like we’ve been waiting forever for Anthony Bourdain’s new cooking competition, The Taste, to hit the airwaves? Finally, it begins January 22 with a 2-hour premiere on ABC at 8 p.m. I think it runs for 8 weeks.

Bourdain was an executive producer, as well as one of the judges.

One twist to the usual format is that the judges get to sample only one bite and won’t know who cooked what, nor how they prepared it.

But the judges are also supposed to be coaching teams of contestants. I’m wondering how they can do that in any meaningful way without knowing what’s cooking.

On January 15, Tony dropped by Good Morning America to talk about the show.

Eater had an exclusive preview clip featuring our Tony characteristically swimming against the tide to save a nonprofessional cook and recruit her to his team.

Last week, Tony attended some publicity event for the show in Pasadena and an AARP blogger wrote about eating with him.

LA Weekly had an encounter with him at another press event in Burbank, and it sounded like Tony was in top form.

Here’s the official ABC beta site with some video clips.

I gave up cooking competitions some time ago when I had all I could stand of Padma on Top Chef, but I’ll be tuning in to The Taste to see if Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre, and Brian Malarkey really can resuscitate a tired old genre with a fresh slant. If anyone can do it, Tony can.

If you watch it, please come back and let’s compare notes.

16 Responses to Can’t Wait for a Taste of “The Taste”

  1. Zappa's Mom says:

    I think Im more excited to see Nigella.I feel like she is lay some real zingers on AB

  2. Zappa's Mom says:

    or I could pay attention to what I type.”Braveheart” is on and it is one of my all time favorite movies

  3. Bacardi1 says:

    I don’t know if I’ll actually watch it tonight, although I will record it. Either way I’ll only watch it – at least this once – to see Bourdain, as I can’t stand reality “cook-off” shows (except for the original “Iron Chef Japan”) & REALLY can’t stand Nigella Lawson. Watching her is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

  4. catsworking says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen Nigella, but I hope she’s not as annoying as Padma.

    I’ve become a Layover defector. It’s now on against Being Human, so I tape Layover when it repeats at midnight and watch it later in the week. Last night he was in Taipei (Tony loves Asia, we get it!), so it’s not high on my must-see list.

  5. Bacardi1 says:

    I frequently miss “The Layover” as well. I don’t know – I just don’t find the “what you can cram into 24-48 hours or so” all that interesting. It’s too fast-paced for me. Guess I’m sinking into old-fogie-ism – lol!!

    As far as Nigella – no, she’s definitely not as annoying as Padma (another one I can’t stand), but is sort of a snooty upscale version of her minus the natural stupidity.

  6. catsworking says:

    Bacardi, the bloom was off The Layover for me this season, although I found the Paris episode enchanting. What’s not to like about Paris? 😉

    I also liked Dublin, but there I go, showing my Old Europe bias again.

    But, sticking true to form, it’s always all about hitting bars and eating. Yes, if you’re going to the place, it’s good to have a few Bourdain suggestions. But to watch him eat 15 meals in an hour is pretty absurd, and I’m betting he wasn’t sad to see that series end.

    (A few years ago in San Juan, I had an accidental meal at a Bourdain hangout. I was with my parents and the restaurant we’d been recommended was closed for reservations, so we wandered in to this hole in the wall that was lovely inside, with a courtyard. I had some delicious fish.

    Back home later, I was watching No Res in Puerto Rico and Tony walked in to that same place. I think it may be the one he said was the birthplace of the pina colada.

    I’m going back to San Juan soon and would like to hit it again. I probably wrote the name in my travel journal, or I’ll have to rewatch that NR episode.)

    Nigella: attractive, smarter than Padma, and snooty (in a Brit way)? Tony says they’ve been friends a long time, so she must be more down-to-earth than she seems or he’d be ripping her a new one at every opportunity. I’m looking forward to the 2 other guys, neither of whom I know anything about, except one sounds like Eric Ripert’s stand-in. They could be possible comic relief.

  7. MorganLF says:

    I love Nigella she’s assertive and can cook…watching the show now and digging it, our Tony does not disappoint. He’s the same on network as cable, thank god!

  8. Zappa's Mom says:

    Paris and Dublin were my favorite “Layover”s as well

  9. Bacardi1 says:

    I caught the last hour, & was less than impressed. Nothing new here except for the “judges” being a bit more polite & showing some compassion for their victims. I did think it was amusing that all the contestants seemed to want to get picked by either Tony or Ludo rather than Malarkey or Lawson. In fact, I only saw one contestant claim to want to cook with Lawson in that entire hour – lol!

    So that said, I doubt I’ll be tuning in regularly unless there happens to be nothing else on – Tony or no Tony.

  10. catsworking says:

    Morgan, I agree with you. Gratuitous cleavage aside, I liked Nigella a lot. Unlike Padma, she doesn’t pretend to be an accomplished cook.

    Bacardi, I watched the full 2 hours, and I plan to do another post with my impressions of it (once I get my real job done today). Stay tuned…

  11. adele says:

    Hi everyone. I hope The Taste is on On Demand, because I must re-watch it to learn more about the chosen cooks — I found the audition format kind of hard to follow, and my phone kept ringing.

    Liked Tony, but didn’t completely understand his choices. I’ve always liked Nigella, and I expected Chef Ludo to be less kind than he was — I loved that he offered one unchosen contestant a job, but I hate Brian Malarkey; I didn’t like him on Top Chef, and I wish they’d found someone else. I’m trying to remember whether he’s the testicular cancer survivor, who Tony felt very guilty about sending home.

    And Paris and Dublin were my favorite Layover eps as well, although I was chauvinistic enough to like Chicago — I actually liked it better than the Chicago No Res episode.

  12. catsworking says:

    Adele, RE-WATCH it? Are you mad, or just pandering? Don’t you realize it’s 2 hours of your life you will never get back?

    Since those poor schlubs are getting the boot on one bite, it doesn’t seem to behoove anybody to dwell too much on their background or qualifications, least of all the viewers.

    I don’t know Ludo or Malarkey, but I found Ludo the least likable last night. As Frenchmen go, he’s certainly no Eric Ripert.

    The big budget was evident in the set and the kitchen, but I think ABC did a piss-poor job of video editing. And stretching the show out for 2 hours served only to put light padding between the AVALANCHE of commercials. It’s one of the main reasons I gave up Dancing with the Stars (commercials, and inappropriate music). And if you try to watch On Demand, they disable your ability to FF through the ads. So screw ’em.

  13. adele says:

    Honestly, Karen, since I wasn’t paying close attention, I thought I must be missing something — after reading your review post, maybe not.

    Ludo doesn’t bother me. He had a series on Sundance called Ludo bites America, and he was pretty obnoxious; he seemed much less so on The Taste.I cherish the hope that once the mentoring begins, the show will become more interesting.

    There were a lot of commercials — I think I dozed a couple of times, so maybe I don’t feel like I spent the full 2 hours.

  14. MorganLF says:

    Karen ,
    Nigella has has two shows on Food Network, one was Nigella Bites, and the othe may have been Nigella Cooks, they are both BBC I think as the measures were metric.

    Google her she has a very interesting story.

    As you say she’s not a chef but an accomplished cook. Aside from being gorgeous she is clever and ascerbic a divine foil for Tony and a true believer in good home cooked food.

    I loved the show and found the back stories interesting. I will continue to watch. The format is unique in that the judges often regret their decisions after meeting the chefs/ home cooks.

    I did find it amusing that Tony so far has two cut e chicks on his team…which at some point (unknowingly) he may vote off.

    Karma is a beotch…..

  15. MorganLF says:

    Ps: as some may not realize that all the judges are building teams based on their palates after one bite.

    The next step is how they mentor their teams, what they do to influence their cooking, and then each will present a “bite” so it is possible that Tony can coach his team in a direction and not recognize the “bite” thus critiquing his own team.

    Since he’s been away from active cooking I am interested to see how he, and the rest of the judges mentor an guide their cooks

  16. Chinagirl says:

    Have watched The Taste reruns all week, think I’ve seen it 4 times, just to see if I missed anything and NO Karen even these 4 can’t resusitate the genre. 6 more shows and it will be canned.

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