The Taste has seen 4 weeks of actual competition, and I’m hooked. Bourdain, you magnificent bastard. I tried to walk away, but you pulled me back in.
It was a golden TV moment last week when Jacquelyn, that pink-haired POS from Nigella’s team, delivered her coup de grâce by walking off the set — and the show — leaving Nigella teamless. Nice way to repay Nigella for eliminating the clearly more competent Crystal so Jacquelyn could live to cook messily another day.
So now Nigella’s reduced to eye candy. Wasn’t her team also first to wipe out last season?
That’s my one peeve: does Nigella always have to look like Morticia Addams in jewel tones — long-sleeved, low-cut, and tight? It’s inappropriate for cooking and made her attempts to whip her kooky crew into shape seem even more futile than they were.
Even that crazy Sophia Vergara wannabe who was eliminated the first week accused Nigella of doing it out of spite because “Sophia” wore higher heels. I wouldn’t be surprised, after seeing Nigella draped across the backstage sofa as if she’s waiting for someone to peel her a grape, while the men all sit up like adults.
Another must-see moment was when Tony out-maneuvered Ludo with a well-timed can of Spam to win a team challenge. But then Tony had to screw up by using pasta to “go green.” I like the increased focus on mentoring strategies.
You had to cheer when that annoying home cook/blogger Audrey got eliminated after her teammates accused her of not cooking “up to their level.” At least it spared us any more of her delusions of blogging fame.
Ludo’s natural dickishness is being used to best advantage to heighten the drama between him and Bourdain. And Marcus Samuelsson is playing the wildcard extremely well.
And who could forget the sad little cross-team romance between Ludo’s Cassandra and Tony’s Lee? Ludo couldn’t resist flirting with Cassandra (who returned the favor). But in the end, Ludo’s passionate defense of her tasteless falafel couldn’t save her, so now Lee cooks in Cassandra’s memory.
I think my favorite is Ludo’s Marina. You gotta love a woman who sticks to her Asian ways right in Ludo’s face, puréeing pork and boiling beef with mad abandon, and it works. After her, I’m betting on Bourdain’s Lee to place, and his Shellie to show.
All in all, the loosened format does seem to allow Bourdain’s diabolical side to shine, and we know that’s always a good thing.
The Bourdains have new digs, a $3M+ double condo in New York City off Fifth Avenue. For that kind of money, they could have bought the governor’s mansion in Virginia. The Real eStalker published some information about it.
Here’s how the place was configured by a former owner. The bedrooms’ layout is pretty strange, and the galley kitchen is tiny. But it looks like they’ve got lots of room for MMA thrown-downs.
And here’s the actual listing. Tony should prepare himself for lots of mail, now that his address is splashed all over the Net.
Last week, Bourdain turned up on The View, but who I’d really like to see on the sofa is Ottavia, perhaps demonstrating a choke hold on Barbara Walters.
Andy Greenwald at Grantland did an entertaining hour-long audio interview with Bourdain recently that I recommend.
Tony and Ottavia gave a great joint interview to SB nation, where Tony confirmed he’s really embracing jiu-jitsu, and also that’s he’s working on a prequel to his graphic novel, Get Jiro!
I’ve enjoyed the vast majority of Bourdain’s “bus stops,” as he likes to call his various endeavors, but Ottavia never fails to add her special flair when she’s included. She’s becoming quite a personality in her own right.
PS: Congratulations to Bourdain and his fellow producers. The Producers Guild recently gave Parts Unknown the Outstanding Producers Award.