“The Taste” Leaves a Bad Taste

By Karen

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…

And I lose 16 hours of my life I’ll never get back. (Well, 12-13. I DVRed so I could zip through commercials.)

Last night was the finale of Anthony Bourdain’s cooking competition, The Taste, and two of my three picks to win, Marina and Lee, made it in to the final 3.

The ultimate challenge was to prepare a spoonful each of breakfast, lunch, and dinner in 2 hours. All the cooks had the benefit of coaching by Jacques Pepin. Pepin had earlier picked Marina’s chicken testicles as the winner of a challenge, making her the first home cook to reach the finals.

During that first challenge, Marina was even gracious enough to help Bourdain and Lee learn to use a pressure cooker to prepare tripe, without missing a beat herself.

Eliminated in that first challenge was Jeff, one of the strongest cooks, for a steak. This shocked me because Louise served undercooked lobster but, once again, she skated through.

On what planet does underdone seafood trump a freaking steak??!!

What became the repeating chorus for the whole episode was, “Nobody who plays it safe and makes steak deserves to win.” Remember that.

Now, fast-forward to the ultimate 3-dish challenge.

The dishes were (by my simplified descriptions, omitting the aoli and ramoulade, etc., BS)…

Lee: (B) Parmesan flan with a quail egg and asparagus, (L) Crab cake, (D) Steak with pureed cauliflower.

Marina: (B) Egg McMuffin with a quail egg, (L) Pork belly spring roll, (D) Short ribs with kale

Louise: (B) Quail egg with tomato sauce, (L) Oyster po’boy, (D) Steak with crispy potatoes and red wine sauce

In the end, Lee lost, Marina came in second, and Louise won. With, basically, steak and French fries.

Nothing against Louise, but she coasted through it all being a relatively mediocre middle-of-the-pack cook. And in the final moments, Pepin stepped in and salvaged her breaking wine sauce.

Marina, on the other hand, was daring, wily, bizarre, cooking things no one had ever tried. She deserved to win. She was robbed.

And poor Lee. He sabotaged himself by going all gooey over fellow contestant Cassandra, who was in the audience for the finale. They even gave Lee and his lady a touching scene backstage, forcing Louise and Marina to watch the lovebirds suck face.

If this mess is renewed for a 3rd season, unless I come down with selective amnesia, The Taste is joining Top Chef as a show I don’t watch. Enough already.

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5 Responses to “The Taste” Leaves a Bad Taste

  1. fitfreshnfun says:

    I watched one episode of The Taste because Anthony Bourdain is one of my favorites. Yeah, let’s just say I didn’t make it to the second episode.

  2. catsworking says:

    Welcome, fitfreshnfun. You are far wiser than me. I hated the first season, then let myself get suckered in again.

    On the other hand, it’s no different from any other “reality” show out there. The reality is hard to come by. Things are done for reasons not divulged to viewers, and we’re supposed to play dumb. (Well, actually, a lot of us don’t even have to “play” at it. We ARE!)

  3. ScruffyRocco says:

    I hear you, Karen, but they aren’t judging the chefs, only the tastes. The lobster may not have been all that underdone, just a little according to the master chef.

    Supposedly they rated each taste for the final blindly of eachother’s scoring. I’m sure by then they had a pretty good idea whose food was whose.

    I think Lee’s steak preparation was inferior to Louise’s. Not that I tasted it, but the self described “Best cook here” could have done better. Over-rated by all and cocky to the point of hubris.

    I think Marina should have won also. She might have been a little too “all over the place” for the classic palate. Still, she was the best of the three, not that that matters under the set-up of the Taste.

  4. Zappa's Mom says:

    Aaahhhh……I have my computer back!
    I guess you have to figure out WHY Louise won…….I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s banging an ABC executive. And did you say chicken testicles?? Why would anyone eat chicken testicles?

  5. catsworking says:

    Welcome, ScruffyRocco. I hear you. More than once when I was watching the show, I asked myself why, since watching people eat is about the most pointless way to waste time there is. WHY DO WE KEEP GETTING SUCKED IN??!!

    ZM, yes, they were chicken testicles. And we know who finds that kind of stuff delicious. I think Marina did herself in with the spring roll. They all knew it was her, and the 3 male judges with the restaurant background would have probably rather died than see a home cook win. Maybe not Bourdain so much; he’d have taken perverse pleasure in it, for Nigella’s sake.

    But we’ve had 2 seasons now where home cooks (remember that little trailer girl first season?) made it far, only to be crushed in the end.

    Your theory about Louise is an interesting one, but I guess we’ll never know. More likely she’d be fodder for Ludo. He always hits on at least one woman on his team, and once Cassandra got knocked out, Louise was next in line. (Marina would have laughed at him.)

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