Bourdain Finally Feels Pain on “The Taste”

By Karen

It had to happen: Anthony Bourdain had TWO team members (Mia and Diane) on the bottom. But if any judge deserved sympathy, it’s Nigella Lawson, who lost Huda and is left with only Lauren, the Mississippi trailer home cook.

Sandwiches were the theme, and we all found out how far some culinary hot-shots will go to over-think and muck up a sandwich.

Again, I didn’t know from Adam the two immunity guest judges, Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi.

Tony chose Diane’s pulled pork club sandwich to compete for immunity, but the judges declared it “messy” and “wet.”

Yeah, guys, that’s generally what good pulled pork is, unless it’s dry and inedible (or “unedible,” in Malarkey-speak).

Ludo Lefebvre picked Gregg’s seared tuna sandwich for potential immunity AGAIN. And Gregg won immunity AGAIN.

During the mentoring segment, I think Bourdain said of Ludo’s silly histrionics, “I wish I could understand him, but I don’t speak drivel.”

Really. If there’s any Frenchman who embodies a “cheese-eating surrender monkey,” it’s Ludo.

Karma was sweet in the next competition when Ludo voted Gregg’s sandwich his worst. But since Gregg had immunity, Ludo’s distaste was moot.

As the teams dwindle, I think mootness will begin to trump everything.

In the end, Tony seemed genuinely upset when he sent Mia home for baking (and allegedly burning) her bread.

Diane got a pass on her pork banh mi because her pre-made bread just expanded. But you kinda knew Diane wasn’t going anywhere. She’s found a niche in Tony’s sweet spot with the exotic stuff.

I was in and out of the room, so someone please fill me in. Did I see Diane weeping through some pathetic backstory intended to inspire empathy?

Next week, The Taste moves to 9 p.m., and from the previews, it looks like the challenge may involve guts and “unedible” animals parts.

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18 Responses to Bourdain Finally Feels Pain on “The Taste”

  1. Trishia says:

    Guts and inedibles – because gee, we haven’t seen THAT 80,000 times before. Does a new time slot mean ABC acknowledges that the show isn’t doing well?

  2. catsworking says:

    Trishia, I think I saw one of the cooks holding up a pig’s head in the promo for next week, and an unidentified blob of something that looked like stomach or intestine. When they announced the new time, I thought maybe it’s because there’s so much bleeping going on, they realized the kiddies shouldn’t watch. This show doesn’t come with the parental warning like No Res did.

    I was vaguely hoping to pick up some new ideas for sandwiches last night, but no dice. Who would jump through so many hoops for a sandwich? One of the cooks made one with a fried oyster, and I don’t think any of the judges (including Bourdain, whose whole live changed on an oyster encounter) could figure out what it was.

  3. Zappa's Mom says:

    I got the last 15 or so minutes and all I could think was that major network lighting and makeup just doesn’t suit AB

  4. adele says:

    I still think Ludo’s assholian behavior is easier to take than Malarkey’s blandness, rolled pants , bowties, and unknown cooking ability. I liked the sandwich show better only because we didn’t need to hear snarky comments about desserts, and AB seemed more like himself — although ZM, I agree that he just doesn’t look like himself on that that stage.

    But once again, we saw little cooking and almost no mentoring. The sandwich that looked best to me was Lauren’s Armenian lamb meatball — I really think the girl can cook, however she’s an entire team now.

  5. Chinagirl says:

    Karen, I agree with Zappa’s Mom AB is looking old and is that a new haircut??? The man needs a stylist and wardrobe person and fast!! Very little hope for this show to be renewed, IMO!!

  6. Bacardi1 says:

    “Very little hope for this show to be renewed, IMO!!”

    Ditto. And I don’t even watch it (except for the last half of the very first episode). Will just live vicariously through you folks.

  7. catsworking says:

    Adele, I also found this episode easier to watch for some reason. Maybe it was because nobody committed the sin of “sweetness,” although I think somebody was tempted and got slapped down by their mentor. Was that Malarkey? Did I dream it?

    So nobody is telling me what Diane was getting teary about. Was she just chopping an onion? (BTW, the other night I tested the theory that you don’t cry if you don’t chop off the root. I usually remember and work from the other end, but I forgot this time, and BOY, was I watering up. So it’s true.)

    I don’t see a season 2 for this show because there’s too little cooking, mentoring, and actual food. Just a bunch of people flapping their gums about what’s not shown. I still have no preference whatsoever for who wins it. Couldn’t care less.

    In one episode, Bourdain’s hair was almost a buzzcut, but now it’s normal length again. He does look very tan, but that just highlights the wrinkles. I was gratified to see Nigella sporting less cleavage in her Pilgrim-inspired black dress.

    Malarkey is a nonentity, devoid of style and presence. I don’t listen to anything he says. As someone mentioned earlier, Fabio Viviani would have been the perfect spice to give zest to the judges’ table.

  8. Trishia says:

    Yes AB’s hair definitely looks much better longer; the buzzcuts are just spooky. I think overall he looks better now than 10 yrs ago but only because back then he looked like he’d just escaped a POW camp. As for the pig head, I dont get why this stuff is still considered ‘shocking tv’. Survivor was doing it eons ago, and how long has Zimmern been on the air? Plus AB’s been showing us heads and other vileness for years on No Rez, so… yawn. It’s not even interesting enough to offend me anymore.

  9. catsworking says:

    Trishia, longer and gel-free.

    If next week’s show features everybody hacking up pig’s heads and serving guts on a spoon, I’m outta there. I’ll watch sitcoms else until the last 10 minutes when everybody’s standing around being judged.

  10. adele says:

    I think Diane was tearing ;up telling us that she’d gotten out of a bad marriage and remade her life, and nothing was going to defeat her.

    I have been watching Mind of a Chef on PBS, which has David Chang as the star and is Bourdain narrated. As expected, most of the travel is to Asia, but Chang comes off as much more appealing than in previous outings, and it’s obvious that AB did his homework on the narration. I’m finding it to be a fast-paced half hour and liking it.

  11. catsworking says:

    Thanks, Adele. So she’s divorced. Who isn’t?

    I watched the whole Mind of a Chef series several months ago when PBS here was airing it at 2 a.m. I taped it. I think they’ve since run it again at a more reasonable time.

    I thought Chang came across very well, not the neurotic nut job he usually is. It held my interest and was one of the better food shows I’ve seen lately. Bourdain did a good job as narrator. And that’s saying something, because you know how picky I’ve gotten!

  12. adele says:

    As far as I know, we just started getting Mind of a Chef about 6 weeks ago, and it comes on right before Bill Maher on Friday nights, so I’m usually by the TV anyway.

    I kind of think Diane was on the verge of telling us she came out of an abusive relationship, hence the tears, but if she did, I was distracted or perhaps momentarily unconscious.

  13. catsworking says:

    Adele, I have been reading some vicious reviews of the show, and I think one of them mentioned Diane’s trauma was financial ruin. Other reviewers seem to be having pretty much the same reaction to the show we are. One mentioned how Emeril is really blossoming over on Top Chef. I’m glad to hear it because I’ve always liked Emeril, but it’s not enough to lure me back into the clutches of Padma.

    Mind of a Chef has 16 episodes. Our PBS ran them in pairs, so it was only on for 8 weeks.

  14. Trishia says:

    I’m finding Mind of a Chef watchable because you can actually learn a technique or two. Vicious reviews? links please lol. Padma is the Vanna White of food tv – eye candy. Actually scratch that, Vanna had more of a purpose because at least she had to turn letters. Emeril seems like a nice guy. If you really want to puke try watching The Chew. The other day they were arguing about movie theater popcorn. I forget the name of the bald guy who looks like he’s done time, but I can’t stand him.

  15. Chinagirl says:

    So I’m watching a Layover Marathon and have seen AB enjoy sweets in Beirut and New York. So why slam a dessert on the show?? If you are a judge you are to eat anything that the contestant makes and judge on the merits of the dish. AB is going of the rails for me. Catsworking, you are right, the last 10 minutes is enough of this show.

  16. catsworking says:

    Trishia, you hit a nerve here with The Chew. I checked it out in the early days because I like Carla Hall, but found it so frantic and noisy, with the audience always in the background and everybody talking at once, I vowed never to go back.

    No, I take that back. I did once. But when I heard Sandra Oz (is that her name? Dr. Oz’s daughter?) say she’s never eaten a hotdog before, I fled. (And probably made myself a hotdog for lunch that day, just for spite.)

    On the other hand, a friend just told me she loves it and NEVER MISSES it. She says they’ve organized things a bit better into segments.

    Here’s a link to a nasty Taste review by Andy Greenwald:

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8965587/top-chef-taste-state-food-tv

    It had Grub Street LEAPING to Bourdain’s defense (I think there’s a serious man crush going on there):

    http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2013/02/against-the-taste-anthony-bourdain-top-chef-chopped.html

    Chinagirl, you have a will of iron to watch a marathon of The Layover. Since he was always hitting places he’s already been, watching him return just to shove in more food and drink quickly lost its charm, and if I sat through whole episodes, that was an achievement. I know I skipped out early on Seattle. I think the tape is still in the VCR. (Yes, some of my electronics are throwbacks.)

    I guess it’s impossible to judge food without injecting personal bias, and Bourdain claims to have one against sweets, although he does sometimes eat them and like them. If someone tried to feed me monkey brains, I don’t care how delicious they were, I’d hate them.

    The whole “you can’t call yourself a gourmand unless you are contemptuous of sweets” is foodie elitism at its worst. I think it has something to do not considering pastry chefs “real” cooks, although desserts often involve a high level of artistry.

  17. Trishia says:

    Oz’s daughter never ate a hotdog? Good for her. Wish I could say the same, perhaps I wouldn’t have been such a sickly child. As for tonight’s Taste, what happens if everyone on a chef’s team is kicked off? Does that chef exit the show, having no one left to mentor? I’ve never watched the Voice so I don’t know the ‘rules’.

  18. catsworking says:

    Trishia, I grew up on bologna sandwiches, which are just flat hotdogs, and I’m OK.

    OK, since I talk to cats, maybe there was a teensy-weensy bit of brain damage. 😉

    Bourdain and Nigella are both down to 1 cook apiece, and next week they’re also kicking off 3, so I’d say there’s a good chance one of them will be wiped out. They haven’t announced any plan for that, so I’m assuming the judge will stick around (to maintain the “dramatic tension”), rendering irrelevant opinions.

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