Trying Not to Hate “The Taste”

By Karen

After 2 weeks of competition, Anthony Bourdain pointed out that his team on The Taste is the only one with no members gone, and no dishes ranked on the bottom.

But that’s not to say we’ve been allowed to see Bourdain do any stellar mentoring. In fact, he thoughtfully selected tongue and kidneys as his team’s ingredients for the immunity challenge, and seemed to drink his way through their prep time.

Sure, Tony, you love eating guts, but WTF?

Not surprisingly, no one on his team won immunity. Instead it went to Gregg, the arrogant cooking teacher on Ludo’s team who’s apparently the male bitch-on-wheels counterpart to Tony’s Diane.

I left the room briefly and missed the introduction of the 2 guest judges. Like Gabrielle Hamilton’s last week, their participation seemed gratuitous and negligible,  and I still don’t know (or care) who they were.

But I am figuring out that for a team to win continued mentoring from the guest judge is the kiss of death. This week Ludo’s team won it, and Ludo lost Shawn, whom Ludo personally and petulantly kicked to the curb because Ludo had promised to do so if Shawn’s food went unloved again, which it did.

So much for impartial decisions based on ONE spoonful of food.

This week’s theme was to pair food with wine and, once again, a home cook on Nigella’s team made the “sweet” mistake. She paired a Reisling with some berry dessert and got her ass handed to her for it, although she wasn’t sent home.

OK judges, we get it. Anybody who likes sweet is a total rube with a palate as refined as a slab of cement.

They’re down to 12 cooks now, and I still don’t give a rat’s ass who stays and who goes.

The only person I haven’t come to loathe is Nigella. Bourdain’s so overdoing the jaded world traveler schtick, I actually applauded Shawn when he bristled at having his food dissed by “a guy who hasn’t cooked in 20 years.” (I think it’s closer to 13 years, but whatever.)

What makes for lousy food TV is fleeting glimpses of entire meals crammed onto spoons before the judges wolf them down and discuss them each for a nanosecond.

ABC is boiling it down to 3 arrogant pricks (Nigella excluded) being capricious, and mostly condescending and mean, to hapless schlubs trying to eke out 15 minutes of fame.

I don’t know if I’m going to be able to stick this out. The only annoyance missing from The Taste is Padma Lakshmi.

9 Responses to Trying Not to Hate “The Taste”

  1. Trishia says:

    Ha Karen when I saw the title of this post I was laughing because I totally agree. I kept thinking last night while watching that the reason this show sucks is because I’m not seeing anything except a flurry of hands and arms and then ‘plating’ into the spoons, (so I guess they are really ‘spooning’). At least on Top Chef you have a shot at learning something. While that show doesnt show the full prep, you see a lot more cooking than you do on the taste, and they tell you more of what’s in each dish – not every ingredient – but when they intro their dishes, they say things like ‘in a balsamic basil reduction’ so you can google that (or go on bravo’s site) and get the recipe. Not so on The Taste.

    I also kept wondering who is this show for – Serious foodies? Amateurs, despite that they won’t learn anything that will improve their cooking skills? Weird females who think Bourdain is hot? (I would question how much they get out.) Or people who enjoy seeing arguments – that is actually my fave part of the show, that the judges argue and insult each other, though Nigella refuses to partake.

    Tony’s idea of mentoring seems to be drinking lots of wine and saying things like ‘remember who you’re cooking for’. Wow, what insight! At least Nigella seems more hands on, saying things like ‘Add more salt’. THAT is what I would want/need from a mentor if I were an aspiring chef. Question – how does he, unlike every other former addict on earth, manage to be able to drink like a fish?

    The best part of last night’s show was when Shawn said ‘a homemaker, a leprechaun and a guy who hasn’t cooked in 20 years’.

    I can only hope the ratings continue falling.

    Last night was a series low. Perhaps viewers were saying the same thing Shawn said lol.

  2. leannenalani says:

    Go with your gut. I’ve been watching it too, and I don’t see myself watching many more episodes.

  3. Zappa's Mom says:

    I haven’t watched the show,but,”capricious”,”condescending”,and “trying to eke out 15 min. of fame” sounds like “Real Housewives Of Somewhere”

  4. Zappa's Mom says:

    PS Happy Valentines’s Day! Karen,post some pictures of your hot bod!

  5. catsworking says:

    Trishia, thanks for that link to the ratings. So The Taste continues to slide. Given that no really compelling personalities (except a few assholes) have emerged to cheer for, and they’re knocking them off at such a fast clip, it’s impossible to latch on to anybody, I don’t see things picking up.

    I think that’s the problem with ALL these competitions. They start out with too many, using half of them as cannon fodder for the early episodes. Why not just start out with a max. of 8 really viable contestants and let the viewers build some loyalty? Unless the show really isn’t about the cooking at all, but about the judges.

    Clearly, there’s a lively rivalry between Bourdain and Ludo. Don’t know what to make of Malarkey, except, why the hell is he a judge? And Nigella seems to be the only one not coasting along on ego. She really tries to be helpful. I do wish she’d just said no to the low-cut dresses and push-up bras. They diminish her.

    I also have a big problem with pitting home cooks against professional chefs. There seems to be a snide bias among the male judges against the home cooks as somehow less than worthy. They don’t “speak the restaurant language” and they didn’t get the memo that NOBODY LIKES SWEET!!!

    Funny how men who have worked in restaurant kitchens think there’s no greater accomplishment than churning out hundreds of plates a night. But they follow a menu, they’re not paying for the ingredients, and the repetition is almost like factory work.

    How about the mother who has to deliver tasty meals for YEARS to satisfy a finicky family — AND stay within a food budget? The argument could be made that it’s more demanding.

    It would have been much more compelling (and have broader appeal, since foodies of Bourdain/Ludo’s caliber represent a tiny slice of humanity) to have ALL home cooks, mentored by pros. We could all learn from seeing that, and it’s why we UnFoodies watch cooking shows in the first place.

    leannenalani, since I’ve already sunk 4 weeks into the show, I may hold my nose and stay with it, just to maintain my unbroken record of seeing every Bourdain series. Or maybe not. One saving grace was I realized yesterday that Smash (which I didn’t realize had premiered) doesn’t air in the same time slot. If it had, I’d have watched my last moment of The Taste.

    ZM, Happy V. Day right back at ya! I am in the home stretch with Weight Watchers, and as soon as I have a day when my hair looks decent and I bother to wear makeup, I may see about getting someone to take some “after” pics. When I hold up pants I was wearing last summer, I look like Jared in the Subway commercials.

  6. adele says:

    Karen and Trisha, me too. I keep looking for something to like in The Taste, but I’m not finding it. Malarkey has about as much personality as dry wall; Ludo did blow the idea of blind tasting out of the water when he sent Shawn home; sadly, those of us, who’ve watched Bourdain over the years, have heard it all before, and only Nigella seems to try to mentor — though even with her, thanks to the way the show is cut, we see little mentoring or cooking.

    I didn’t love every No Reservations, but I liked most of them and loved several. Many people found Treme unwatchable, but I liked it very much and even appreciated many of the Bourdain written restaurant scenes. Since there are only four more episodes of The Taste, I’ll probably watch them all, but I can’t imagine it being renewed. That 8pm Tuesday time slot is owned by CBS and NCIS, so it’s probably a good place for ABC to try new things. In the meantime, I’ll eagerly await CNN’s Parts Unknown and hope that Tony and Zero Point Zero can make some magic again.

    And happy belated Valentine’s everyone. I don’t know about anyone else, but my cats did absolutely nothing for me. I at least gave them their favorite canned food for dinner. And Karen, get those pictures taken.

    And as a side note, Karen, I thought of you as I followed the progress of that disabled cruise ship. Hope nothing like that ever happens to you.

  7. catsworking says:

    Adele, I watched CNN until midnight when passengers began straggling off. I’ll probably do a post on it because I have lots of thoughts. All I’ll say now is “Shame on CNN!”

    I’m cruising again very shortly (my 38th), but not on Carnival.

    If I got HBO, I’d still be watching Treme, even though I was broken-hearted when John Goodman offed himself. The music left me cold (as most of it does), but several of the stories were compelling, and I think it’s a good place for Tony to stretch his creative legs with fiction.

    If The Taste has accomplished anything, it’s to have made me a Nigella fan. Now I want to see her cook. I really do like her, and the fact that she’s friends with Bourdain makes me like her even more because he befriends interesting women. If she were buddies with Ludo, that would be another thing.

  8. adele says:

    I liked Nigella from the first time I saw her. She has a lusty Tom Jones-ian attitude that I appreciate. I don’t love all of her recipes by any means, but it’s nice to see someone on TV, who is really a home cook. She’s also overcome a lot. Her mother, her sister (at quite a young age), and her first husband all died of cancer, causing her to have a real carpe diem attitude. And she started out writing for I think the London Times as a book reviewer. It was her first husband, who encouraged her to pursue the cooking thing.

  9. catsworking says:

    Adele, thanks for the bio. I knew nothing at all about Nigella, but I’ll be watching to catch one of her cooking shows.

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