In the second installment of ABC’s new cooking contest show “The Taste”, featuring chefs Anthony Bourdain, Brian Malarkey, Ludo Lefebvre and British home cook extraordinaire Nigella Lawson, the four cooks finalize their team of cooks and chefs who will be battling for the show’s final $100,000 prize and a new car.
All four chefs/cooks ended the auditions on Tuesday night with teams of four, specifically chosen by the celebrity chef judging panel after tasting only a spoon size portion of what the contestants prepared. Contestants ranged from home cooks to culinary instructors to professional executive chefs. Blind taste tastes prevented the judges from knowing if the cooks were professional or not until they revealed themselves after the judges tried a small, spoon size taste of their prepared bite size creations.
Chef Ludo Lefebvre and Chef Brian Malarkey were on the same palate wave length as they kept choosing the same cooks to mentor, with Chef Lefebvre winning the cooks choice after making his case for his team as a French cuisine expert.
Nigella Lawson was the first to shore up her team, with a knack for picking out comfort cooking, she expertly chose an all female team of home cooks. Bourdain was the last to pick his final contestant, giving him the label of most picky among social media chatter. Bourdain also chose an all female team, although the judges are unaware of who cooked the food until after they locked in their choice of “yes” or “no” before the cook was revealed.
The most controversial part of last night’s show was the shunning of vegan and vegetarian bites. The panel made it pretty clear for future contenders — they like meat. Anthony Bourdain said of one vegan taste, “I want to vomit with terror.”
The theme for the rest of the series was revealed after teams were finalized. While Bourdain, Lawson, Malarkey and Lefebvre will mentor their team, the tastings going forward will also be blind. The judges will not be aware of who prepared the dishes, even if those cooks are on their team. The set-up leaves the possibility open that each chef can potentially vote off a member of his or her own team without knowing it.
Chef Lefebvre and Chef Malarkey seem to harbor some added competition against each other, with Malarkey making his annoyance clear of Lefebvre’s constant mention of his French heritage and culinary expertise. “Why must he always do that?,” asked Malarkey as Lefebvre tried to woo contestants over to his team after Malarkey and Lefebvre went head to head with the same contestant picks.
So far, the biggest criticism of the show on discussion boards has been the omission thus far of a wild card pick with many excellent chefs being passed over. The thinking appears to be that a better cook may still be out there, who hasn’t competed yet, but in the end, that proved not to be the case.
“The Taste” airs Tuesdays at 8 P.M. EST on ABC.