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The Taste - coming 1/22/2013 on ABC

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It sounds even less promising than The Chew. They should call it The Spew. Bourdain (I've been saying for years that he resembles Tom Bergeron's hedonistic older brother, in which respect the gig's a logical fit), Malarkey, Lawson, and I can't remember who, all celebuchefs, mentor contestants competing to win with the dish they produce. The gimmick is that the judges are blindfolded when sampling the food. BFD, IMO. Don't imagine the likes of Achatz and Adria would approve of deleting the visual element.

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  1. I actually like the idea that they are tasting blind. To me that is not a gimmick. It eliminates the extraneous biases - sometimes subtle, sometimes not - that we all have. I'm sure judges on Top Chef try their best to overlook their dislike of a given contestant, but let's face it - they have three or four eligible for elimination and sometimes there is no error that is more egregious than the others, or two of the dishes were equally bad. Surely, at least subconsciously, the "let's get rid of this jerk" factor must kick in. Conversely, with the contests up for the best dish, there are often two or more that are of equal creativity and prep, and surely they must - again subconsciously - go with the crowd-pleasing contestant or the one who has tried really hard but hasn't won anything yet. So blind-tasting actually seems like an improvement.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Just Visiting

      I agree. I think it's a great idea to have blind tasting by the judges.

    2. Are they actually blindfolded, or just trying the dishes blind - meaning they don't know who made the dish?

      5 Replies
      1. re: LindaWhit

        I hope they can see the food (because the visual aspect is important) but not know who prepared it nor what ingredients and methods were used. This is the way I interpreted the press release. But I don't know for sure.

        1. re: drongo

          That's the way I interpreted the commercial I saw for the show as well.

        2. re: LindaWhit

          The tasting blind reminded me of the current show where judges are listening blind; that is part of the judging process on The Voice.

          1. re: HillJ

            Exactly. Judging on their voice, not whether they are "camera-ready" for videos, etc. As drongo noted, visual is important for a plate of food, but not knowing who the chef is will be interesting. The blind tasting would be well served to be used in a few more TC challenges as well. But as Tom C. has said, eventually they get to know the "style" of the chef after a couple of QFs and ECs.

          2. re: LindaWhit

            Not blindfolded.

          3. I auditioned for this show along with a gazillion other people. Didn't make it. Wondering if anyone from CH made it?

            4 Replies
            1. re: TrishUntrapped

              Trish, this is not in any way meant to be critical of you, but may I ask what you hope to achieve when you audition for a cooking show? I ask because it is pretty obvious that some contestants are chosen for looks or backstory or quirkiness... not criteria that would be used by executive chefs interviewing potential hires. Is it your goal to attain a position in a professional kitchen, a cookbook contract, or other career step, or do you regard it as an adventure or opportunity to see what goes on behind the camera in TV production?

              I don't have cable but did watch the first season of Hell's Kitchen and a few other network cooking competitions. Between the living accommodations, the scut work assigned to losers in team competitions, and the scorn heaped upon contestants by imperious celebuchefs, I am surprised that people are eager to participate. What am I missing?

              1. re: greygarious

                Everyone has different reasons. No ulterior motives for me. I like Tony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson and thought the show would be fun. I like to cook so this particular show piqued my interest. I also love the show Jeopardy and would love to be on that someday. Not to get rich, not for the exposure, but because I love trivia and I would enjoy the challenge and .. the fun.

                I once went to a taping of The Daily Show and asked Jon Stewart why on earth people agreed to have his "reporters" interview them, because they really made fun of them and portrayed them in a negative light. (I.e. an interview with a man who threatened to sue the town of Greenwich, CT because his "I Voted Today" sticker ruined his jacket.")

                Jon said, "Because people want to be on TV." And for some people, that's the allure. Not everyone though.

                I am a journalist, and former chief elected official. I don't need any time in front of the cameras. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, dirtied it, washed it, mortgaged it, and lost it.

                There is no doubt in my mind that some of the chefs auditioning were doing so to benefit their careers. Some home chefs too.

                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                  I can't speak about cooking shows, Trish, but I was on Jeopardy! in the early '90s. It was absolutely the most fun I've ever had in public. Go for it!

                  1. re: rockycat

                    Hey, me too with Jeopardy in the early 90s! I didn't do so well, but I made it a great vacation in LA.

            2. Maybe if you had actually seen the trailer for the show you'd have at least a clue of what its about. Nowhere do they say anything about being blindfolded -- the "blind" part is they don't know identity of the person/team that created it, or what's in it.

              And the 4th mentor is Nigella Lawson -- obscure, I know.

              4 Replies
              1. re: rjbh20

                Why the hostility? I read a couple of on-line stories that mentioned blind tasting/judging. It's easy to make a mistake about something like that. Besides that, who cares that much about a program that has not yet been telecast?

                I notice one of the judges/team leaders is going to be Ludovic Lefebvre. Every time I have seen him in a cooking situation on TV he has been one of the most unpleasant chefs I have ever seen. I suppose we'll see if his disposition has improved.

                1. re: rjbh20

                  greygarious mentioned Lawson. The 4th mentor not mentioned in the original post is Ludo Lefebvre

                  1. re: rjbh20

                    Why is Nigella obscure?

                    1. re: LikestoEatout

                      I think that was meant ironically...

                  2. <The gimmick is that the judges are blindfolded when sampling the food.> Why? If the judges could be kept from knowing whose dishes they were tasting, that might create some impartiality. Blindfolds, imho, are just dumb. I think how the food looks on the plate is also important in judging how good it is.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ChefJune

                      Uhm, no, the judges aren't blindfolded. It will a 'blind' judging just as you suggest.

                    2. I fear with this show that there may be a lot of "wow - such amazing Thai flavors from a chef/homemaker (whether this is for amateurs or professional) from Des Moines". Or worse "this is such a clinical plate of x cuisine, now that I see you're from y culture, I really think you need to tap into your roots".

                      Basically, other than being shocked that someone from Japan is making Kansas City style BBQ, or some variation on that theme, I'm not really sure I see the point. While I'm sure over the years in Top Chef there have people who have saved or sunk themselves in front of the judges, I've never thought "that person was sent home from Top Chef for not being camera-ready or not attractive".

                      If anything, I think not knowing who cooked what could harm the contestants. Part of these cookings shows is basically being able to show something new. So if you're a chef that is known for making incredible pizza, and then in a later (blind) challenge someone else makes pizza - I could see that having an impact. Judges basically thinking "hmm, I assume this is just another pizza from this contestant so I'm going to judge more harshly".

                      Part of the appeal of The Voice is this idea that how someone looks impacts the evaluation of their success as a vocal performer. But with food, I'm not sure I really see the point.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: cresyd

                        one need only look through the comments on a typical "top chef" thread to realize WHO cooks something has a drastic effect not only on the perception of the dish, but how appearance and heavily edited comportment has on the perception of the chef.

                        1. re: linus

                          If we're talking about Top Chef, while I don't think that the judges are never touched by personal stories, histories, and overall demeanor - I don't think it matters that much. If anything, I would say that Top Chef actually doesn't consider a lot of things that could be considered important - essentially kitchen hygiene. The last episode of Top Chef where Bart made the foil colander on his head - made no difference in regards to judging. Chopped however does judge kitchen behavior (both personality and things like hygiene), as well as presentation, food taste, and somewhat personal stories. While editing definitely impacts what viewers at home think, I don't think lot of that actually goes into judging.

                          Also - while there are times when personality may have given a contestant an edge, I've never felt that the cooking industry or cooking reality shows favor pretty faces over talent. Whereas say the music industry where challenging that perceived standard is interesting. The only cooking themed show where personality is a strong factor is the Next Food Network Star - and that's a case where I think it genuinely matters. You may be the best cook in the world - but that is not the same as being a cook I'd want to watch on TV.

                      2. Judging blind is a great way to judge.

                        1. The following is more of an ad than a review... I'm not even sure the reviewer has seen the show yet.

                          http://www.monstersandcritics.com/sma...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: GraydonCarter

                            I'll be tuning in. Hope to see some of the people from my audition.

                          2. The NY Times had a review this morning. They (mostly) liked it.

                            http://tv.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/arts...

                            23 Replies
                            1. re: DGresh

                              Good descriptions of the "characters" of each of the judges. :-) I'm still looking forward to watching this to see how it goes.

                              Interestingly, before I read this Times review, I thought the previews of the "tastes" on the spoons looked very overwrought - which was confirmed with this comment: "These morsels tend to be overly elaborate, multi-ingredient preparations whose descriptions read like the Esperanto of modern cooking show and food blog culture."

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Oversized spoons/morsels so the camera can pick up every detail, the audience is satisfied watching and the judging is complex.

                                If there contestants only have one spoon to dazzle with, it had better be "overwrought."

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  I'm a little ambivalent about this show going in. I hope it is really good or really bad. I don't really need another 'appointment TV' food show. If it's good, I'll watch it. If it's bad, I'll skip it. But what if it's marginally good, and then I have to keep watching it just in case it improves? I don't know if I can handle the axiety.

                                  1. re: John E.

                                    Heheeee.

                                    1. re: John E.

                                      LOL! I'm assuming this is like "The Voice" where they pick contestants to then mentor in the kitchen. I do wonder if they will continue to taste the food blindly. Guess we'll see after a few episodes. If you watch long enough. :-)

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        Oh to be mentored by Anthony Bourdain. "This is a good time to sneak in a smoke break. Grab our drinks."

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          I've never seen The Voice, America's Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor, Survivor, or American Idol. I think the last talent show competition I ever watched was the Gong Show. (My favorite Gong Show moment was the ventriloquist who came out wearing a surgeon's mask because 'he had a cold'. You could still see his lips moving).

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            LOL!!!

                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                            Yes. Since they will taste blind every week they could kick off their own team members.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              It was just like watching the voice. Maybe replace Malarkey with Cee Lo Green.

                                              1. re: emglow101

                                                I'd prefer Nigella over Orange X-tina any day of the week and eleventy-seven times on Sunday.

                                                1. re: emglow101

                                                  I kind of had them pegged like this for their alter egos

                                                  Nigella = Cristina (no brainer)
                                                  Tony = Adam Levin
                                                  Ludo = Cee Lo Green
                                                  Brian (I refuse to call him Malarkey) = Blake Shelton

                                                  YMMV

                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                    "Brian (I refuse to call him Malarkey) = Blake Shelton"

                                                    I assume that is not his real name?

                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                      Believe it or not, it *IS* his real name. :-)

                                                      http://brianmalarkey.com/

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        Wow. Husband and I were wondering if and when when kids might know that word.

                                                      2. re: Shrinkrap

                                                        That *is* his real name. I happen to live in the city in which his restaurants are located. YOu can mosey over to the San Diego board and either search his name or the "fabric empire" and you'll find lots and lots of hits.

                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                          I had never heard of him before reading the CH thread about his claiming that Obamacare means he can't afford to open new restaurants. He's far from the only employer unwilling to pitch in toward the cost of employee health care but with the size of his empire, this seems like nickel-and-diming on his part..

                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                            Now there's a thread I missed.

                                                          2. re: DiningDiva

                                                            I might, but it would have to be for a pretty good reason.

                                                      3. re: emglow101

                                                        replace malarkey with tom brady, emma thompson, sonia sotomayor or a bowl of goldfish (live or crackers).
                                                        god, what a dilweed. was he this bad on his season of 'top chef'?

                                                        1. re: linus

                                                          "was he this bad on his season of 'top chef'"

                                                          Ummm....yes....

                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                            i sure don't remember him being a raging bell end to such a degree.

                                                            1. re: linus

                                                              well I learned a new term :) Guess I'm getting old. What would I do without google.

                                              2. What would your approach be, as a chef/competitor?

                                                For a single taste, I think I might tend to go flavor-intense. Sort of like, with one bite you really liked it, but a whole plate would be too much.

                                                Have you ever had one of those dishes where the first bite was divine, but then by the end you were sort of overwhelmed by it all?

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                  Had I gotten on I would have made a bite of Steak Diane.

                                                  1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                    I'd make Joe H.'s risotto lol:

                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2889...

                                                  2. What professional would offer a spoonful of kitchen sink dump macaroni??
                                                    Yikes!

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                      A naively pretentious one.

                                                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                        But he came through an amazing porthole of time!!

                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                          Some kind of hole anyway.

                                                          Yum, nothing says love like Jalapeno Kugel!

                                                      2. re: monavano

                                                        Yeah, the Vegas chef who makes "mouthfuls of awesomeness" was a mess. Just the description made me cringe.

                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                          If I'd heard awesomeness one more time, something would have been thrown at the tv.

                                                        2. Gosh I wish they would allow these contestants to step out of the booth so that they don't sound like they're in a tunnel.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                            Yes let them walk on stage.

                                                          2. So they are going to mentor contestants, and yet still have blind taste tests. Can't wait to see how this works.

                                                            Good first show I thought, and the number of "good but not good enough" that got sent home has my hopes high for the real competitions.

                                                            EDIT but also, if I hadn't had qualms about single-spoon competitions from shows like NIC I sure do now. The more I think about it the tricker it sounds. Surely the answer is to make a meatloaf or lasagna rather than these bit-of-this-and-that dishes we're getting.

                                                            10 Replies
                                                            1. re: ennuisans

                                                              And there's another hour of auditions next week. I also found it interesting that they'll mentor and still blind taste test. If the mentors are in the kitchen, won't they know what the chefs are cooking?

                                                              I actually was wondering at Nigella picking the mashed potato home cook. And the NYC chef, Diana, seems to be cast as the bitch contestant.

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                Were two of the finalists were on Chopped? Diane Dimeo looks so familiar. Also, the lady at the beginning with the word chef tattooed on her fingers, forget her name, but she looked familiar from Chopped too.

                                                                I like Lauren, the gal from the trailer park. A lot! Very gutsy making a cake. I will be rooting for her.

                                                                I auditioned with several guys from Chopped. Don't see any of them there - yet.

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  Yeah she wasn't subtle about wanting to play the villain. And yet she was almost sent home even after nailing her [dish I can't pronounce] for balance reasons. I'm telling ya this is a minefield.

                                                                  We could have a QF/EC situation here where they mentor in the first challenge, but the two (?) on the bottom are on their own. Or something else entirely.

                                                                  Unlike The Voice I'm liable to watch this beyond the auditions.

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    I liked the show and thought it was fun and not stressful like Top Chef! Diana is a piece of work. Showing your stomach at 45 - my age - please remind me never to do that. She didn't pull it off. She'll definitely be the bitch contestant. I thought the trailer park girl was gutsy, too, Linda. (Isn't it past your bedtime? Recap day tomorrow!) Trish, what did you make for your audition?

                                                                    1. re: KrumTx

                                                                      I'm heading upstairs now to get a good night's sleep. :-D

                                                                      And so far, I liked the show as well. The interaction between the judges so far is easygoing and fun. I knew Tony would be bleeped at least twice.

                                                                      1. re: KrumTx

                                                                        I made Thanksgiving on a plate for my audition.

                                                                         
                                                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                          Very cool! You should be really proud of yourself. Serious props to you for auditioning.

                                                                          1. re: KrumTx

                                                                            Thanks, hoping to see someone I auditioned with on the show next week. There was one Chopped chef, I think his name was John. He was way cool and got a call back. Will be surprised if he didn't make it.

                                                                          2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                            That is a beautiful plate! Thanks for the inside information.
                                                                            The typecasting was so obvious; the villain, the tug-at-your-heartstrings trailer girl (she did seem so sweet and I'd go nuts cooking in that kitchen, so extra props to her for her fortitude and general can-do moxie), the arrogant prick, the lovable joe schmo etc...

                                                                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                              Never mind what I asked. I should have read the whole thread first. You answered below.

                                                                      2. Tuning in but missed the first half hour, right after the guy they all seemed to regret sending home.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                          you didn't miss much.

                                                                        2. I used to love Bourdain. No more. If I wanted to watch insincere fawning over food I would eat at my mother in law's.

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: ahuva

                                                                            Sounds like you need a nasty MIL. Fawning beats hostile criticism.

                                                                            1. re: sal_acid

                                                                              It was painful, and like a car wreck, I had to slow down and look. I won't be watching next week. Hope Guy Fieri's on The Food Network.

                                                                              1. re: Evil Ronnie

                                                                                I kind of agree with you. I didn't quite understand what was going on at first when Bourdain's red light came on but he kept saying he wished he would have chosen the contestant. Well, then why didn't he? After a while. I understood the BS.

                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                  I kind of fell asleep but I also didn't understand that. Did they already vote and the "pushing the red light" was just for show?

                                                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                                                    The red/green lights are under the counter top and each judges button is on top and when pushed, reveals whether the judge pushed the yes or no button by lighting up their space in green or red.
                                                                                    It's hokey.

                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                      I thought there was way to much button pushing going on. Push a button to vote, push more buttons to reveal. Reminded me of a Price is Right game! I guess they wanted to avoid the additional cost of a host so the judges have to do their own reveal.

                                                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                                                    Thank you! I was confused until about 1/3 into the show. What? Who picks first?
                                                                                    I got it after a while.

                                                                            2. Trish I'd love to hear your take on the first episode since you shared earlier that you auditioned for the show.

                                                                              15 Replies
                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                Perhaps this is a little bit of sour grapes. I didn't love it.

                                                                                The show is called The Taste and that's how it was sold to prospective contestants - all about how your food tastes.

                                                                                Yet who gets on the show - "types." How on earth did the crazy-looking Jalapeno Kugel lady make it this far or the wacky pasta guy from another planet or that incredibly sweet wastewater treatment guy who can't cook?

                                                                                At the audition the girl next to me (a model) said a casting director called her and told her to go. Unlike the rest of us who waited hours, she was whisked right in. The woman interviewing us seemed to clearly be looking for "types." She asked the former Chopped winner next to me, who made an unbelievably delicious dish, how he treated people in the kitchen. He explained that at one point in his career he thought it was necessary to act like a dictator, but he had since learned that working cooperatively was a better way to get the job done. "Thanks, next!" He knew he wasn't going to make it, as did I, but I didn't feel like acting like a "type" just to get my 30 seconds on TV.

                                                                                So many talented home and professional chefs auditioned and this is who made it. Disappointed. But I'll watch it.

                                                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                  What part of the auditioning process would have prompted so many of the contestants to quit their jobs? I was gobsmacked at the thought of dumping your job for 2 minutes on TV.
                                                                                  I mean, the chances of winning or anything fruitful coming out of this is so slim, I just had to wonder what filled their heads with rainbows and unicorns?

                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                    No part.

                                                                                    Some people just want their 15 minutes and think once on TV they will be famous and the job offers will pour in.

                                                                                    It's a really easy excuse to use to quit your job.

                                                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                      Makes me shake my head even more, but I can't say I'm surprised in today's society.

                                                                                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                        That is SOOO crazy! My daughter is desperately looking for work, and my husband suggested she try to get one of those peoples jobs.

                                                                                        Just kidding though.

                                                                                    2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                      That's really REALLY disappointing to read, Trish. I had higher hopes, and was also baffled at some of those who had made it so far so as to be shown on TV.

                                                                                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                        I think you sized up the BS beautifully.

                                                                                        Couple of observations, fwiw. Unfortunately this type of television format is already past its prime, IOW, as viewers we have an awful lot of been there, seen that under our viewing belts and crave something fresh, energized and surprising. Unfortunately, The Taste didn't deliver.

                                                                                        I found it just as painful to watch the judges "act" as I did the contestants "try too hard" and for all the teasing tv chefs get-I think these judges were too cartoony for their own good and own loyal following. Do I really want to see AB act like a game show host-NO! Does Nigella really wish to be there for her sex-bomb appeal-sheesh I hope not!

                                                                                        But most of all, I kick myself for thinking ABC would keep teachable moments on camera. Not!

                                                                                        My kids all called me and asked if I had watched the show. We hoped it was something we could dig our heels into and talk about-nah.

                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                          It's the first episode. I'm going to wait at least 3 episodes until they start mentoring before I make a go/no-go decision on watching.

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            LW, you enjoy these shows that's great. And I know my opinion regarding some of them doesn't sway your enjoyment one bit. So enjoy away! I was responding to Trish because she kindly responded to my question of her experience.

                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                              I don't enjoy all of them. I've disliked Chopped since its inception, and I detest Next Food Network Star. I do enjoy Top Chef, as you know.

                                                                                              And I don't disagree that there is some BS in this show in what we've seen so far. I just want to see how far it goes. If it continues into the mentoring part (or if Ludo starts to pull the Gordon Ramsay yelling crap) I'll probably step off.

                                                                                              That said, I'm disappointed in some of those who were chosen by Nigella and Malarkey and Bourdain. I think that a home cook can hold their own with a professional; I just don't think that some of who were picked by those 3 can do so, and I don't understand some of their choices.

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                Then we agree on some points more than I realized. Your recall for the details of some of these programs discussed on CH always impresses me.

                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                  Well, the details on TC are only because of having a rewind button on the remote while I'm DVR/watching it. :-)

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                    I thought the OP's doubts and some misunderstood first impressions were pretty strongly worded (greyg) before any of us even watched the show. I probably won't be watching again because my tv time is pretty limited and there are shows I'd rather watch.

                                                                                                    We already know, so many of these judged programs create drama to catch viewers and the actual Judge drama sometimes overshadows the contestant drama. Food drama really is wasted on me. But Judge drama really bugs me.

                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                              Me too.....crap!

                                                                                            3. re: HillJ

                                                                                              My kid had to go to bed halfway through the show. The next morning she asked me if she'd missed anything. I thought very hard for a few seconds and said, "No, you didn't." Beginning and end of story.

                                                                                        2. Okay, so the premise is simple. Suck down a spoonful of said preparation, and, if the judge(s) like it, they press the green button. Easy enough.

                                                                                          Now, if the judges are judging solely on TASTE, why is it that they wanted to change their vote on several occasions *after* seeing the contestant or hearing of his/her credentials? Maybe that was just the judges way of letting the contestants down easy perhaps? Why all the woulda shoulda coulda from the judges?? I found that to be a bit bothersome. It's either you want the person on your team or you don't ... press the green button for yes, or press the red for no.

                                                                                          27 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                            I think the judges are coming at this true, and hedging their bets.

                                                                                            They are not only judging the plate as it is but how much promise is shown to go forward. This is why a home cook has footing on a trained chef--the trained ones have less room to grow. Asking questions like "why did you put vanilla in this?" gives them insight into the cook's process, and whether that can be fixed even if the dish is bad.

                                                                                            1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                              Agree - they pressed the NO button, but later said they wished the could change their mind? If it's about taste, you like/dislike. Period. So yes, I believe it's to let various people down easily.

                                                                                              1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                I agree, I only saw a part of the show but this is what bugged me the most. Some of the judges has so much "regret" but if the food didn't taste good why would you regret your decision....Based on the information you had, you made the best decision possible.

                                                                                                I watched a part of this on CTV in Canada. It was a 2 hr premiere on ABC but they only showed 1 hr in Canada. Not sure if the rest is to come another night or if it happened already because I only saw bits and pieces of it.

                                                                                                1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                  I think they regretted some of their decisions after they learned what the dish was. Like the guy with the chicken fried watermelon - they weren't sure what the heck they were eating (I think Tony guessed watermelon) so they voted no, but when they later learned what it was, it all clicked as a dish and they wished they voted differently.

                                                                                                  1. re: Bart Hound

                                                                                                    But should it *matter* what the dish was, as long as it tasted good? That's where my confusion is coming from. Unless they were holding off to see if another, better spoonful came along further down the auditions. Which could backfire if they lost a good tasting dish and were left with people who put up crap, but they needed to "fill their kitchen".

                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                      It is confusing. Why even meet the contestant in person (if not to give a "yowza" face or a "ooh la la" face)? Eat it, vote, let a host tell you what it is and then perhaps whether or not the contestant is pro or home cook.

                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                        This 'tasting without knowing' might be interesting for a while. It might show how important food descriptions are on menus. If you know what a dish is made of and how it is prepared you have expectations. It appeared a couple of times that the judges could not even figure out what the protein was on the spoon.

                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                          My take was their perception may have been screwed up without a verbal description of the dish. Like the deep fried watermelon again. They were looking at something that looked like a tater-tot but tasted like something completely different. It sort of short circuited their brain and effected their judgement.

                                                                                                          Sort of like an optical illusion: These two lines look like they're different lenghts, but they're actually the same size. But one looks longer than the other! Doesn't matter, they're the same size!! WTF?!?!?

                                                                                                          That's what I thought was happening. The eyes told the brian to expect a certain thing but the taste buds delivered a different sensation and it caused them to make choices they would later regret.

                                                                                                          1. re: Bart Hound

                                                                                                            I once picked up some stuffed cabbage from a deli in San Francisco. They had a flavor that I absolutely could not put my finger on. I didn't like it; it didn't belong in stuffed cabbage, imo, and I ended up throwing away the leftovers.

                                                                                                            Wasn't until the following morning that it clicked - thyme! They'd put lots of thyme in there! Well, I love thyme and cook with it often so was chagrined at not recognizing the herb but it was so out of context (in stuffed cabbage?? No!) that it just wasn't happening.

                                                                                                            1. re: Bart Hound

                                                                                                              Trompe l'oeil food is a hallmark of molecular gastronomy, with which these 4 judges are surely familiar. Even if they don't create this type of dish themselves, they must have consumed such things at the fine dining restaurants of their peers. While their eyes may have been fooled, and to some extent their taste buds, they should still be able to say if the morsel tasted good or not.

                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                Have we seen any MG spoonfuls yet? Any foam?

                                                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                  I wonder if part of the problem with a number of the dishes had to do with the quality of the ingredients that could not necessarily be assessed prior to purchase. In most large grocery stores I've ever been to, you can't taste watermelon before purchase. So perhaps for the best version of that dish he needed the watermelon to be a certain sweetness/texture that there was no way of determining before preparation. And by the time he was in the kitchen, he was left with just the few ingredients needed for that dish.

                                                                                                                  While the overall process of the auditions became very repetitive and dull to watch - I think the nature of this competition is interesting because it's not really testing every element of preparing food but rather the idea that there is such a thing as a "perfect bite". But it also means that quality of produce and proteins is so much more important. I'm sure when they talked about not being able to tell what kind of fish they were eating, it was a veiled comment of "not enough salt". However, it could also be a case where the fish just wasn't the best quality - and clearly if the judges aren't able to figure out the primary ingredients that they're eating, that is not good.

                                                                                                                  1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                    The perishable food was purchased at Whole Foods; staples are in the pantries on the set.

                                                                                                                  2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                    I get your point with the trompe l'oeil and molecular gastronomy, but doesn't it always come out with an explanation? "This is a deconstructed Caesars Salad", "This is a beet disguised as a tumbleweed", etc. The description callibrates your expections so you don't end up confused.

                                                                                                                    With these dishes, the judges had no frame of reference so it was much harder to figure out what they were eating.

                                                                                                              2. re: Bart Hound

                                                                                                                It brings up an interesting question which is; would we not further appreciate a dish, or find it more precious but for the detailed epistle offered on the menu or spoken by the chef/ server?

                                                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                  I found it intersting that the number of times these "Food Experts" said, after tasting, "What was that? I don't recognize it at all." It's watermelon and tuna for god sake! It's not like those are unusual flavors.

                                                                                                                  jb

                                                                                                                  1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                    Talking down on camera bothered me too. Insult to the audience, and ridiculous coming from experienced food people. Oh, and if they actually had blindfolds on then maybe...but they don't!

                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                      i was a member of the viewing audience, and i never felt insulted or talked down to.

                                                                                                                      i don't know what purpose a blindfold will serve, except to make the show...different.

                                                                                                                      remember, they tasted the food and voted BEFORE they met any of the chefs.

                                                                                                                      while meeting the chefs may have changed their opinion, it did not change their vote.

                                                                                                                      1. re: linus

                                                                                                                        Okay, and per our usual connection on CH, Linus, I wasn't speaking for you or your experience watching this program. There is room for all. Now I know your impressions.

                                                                                                                        It was already established upthread that the blindfold was a misunderstanding for some discussing this before airing. I was not under that impression and my remark here was in response to the impression at one point that some people thought (including the OP) that blindfolds were involved. Some of the judges remarks seemed out of step with what they ate. As JuniorB pointed out.

                                                                                                                        Wow, Linus. You make me think too hard.

                                                                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                                                                          Linus,

                                                                                                                          From watching on TV, it appeared that as the show continued, the chef's actually often voted AFTER meeting the cooking contestant - they ate the food, formed an opinion, then voted once they met the chef.

                                                                                                                          That really messed up the premise I had of the show, and it seemed really inconsistent.

                                                                                                                          1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                            i believe you are mistaken. the chefs said several times the votes were already locked in before they met the chefs.

                                                                                                                            1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                              No, no. There are two buttons. The one that they have hidden that the cameras cut to before meeting the chef is the vote. The second simply reveals the vote to everyone.

                                                                                                                              1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                yes, i agree with this.

                                                                                                                        2. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                          That was what bothered me the most. These are supposed to be seasoned chefs. Why do they not know what they are eating. Maybe not every spice but they didn't know if the meat was lamb? That did not make sense to me.

                                                                                                                          1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                                                                                            I liken it to tasting wine. Sometimes I'll taste a certain something in a wine that I can't put my finger on. I know it tastes like *something* that I'm familiar with, but I just can't name it. My wife, who is much better at assigning a name to a taste, will say it tastes like xxx or yyyy and a lightbulb will go off in my head. Duh! Of course that's what it tastes like.

                                                                                                                            The same thing happened with Tony and that dish (or maybe it was just a spice) from SE Asia. When he tasted it, it was familar to him and he knew what it was, but just couldn't name it until the chef told him what it was

                                                                                                                        3. re: monavano

                                                                                                                          tom colicchio on 'top chef' constantly and annoyingly gets caught up in what a dish "is" or what it's called.
                                                                                                                          seems to me it's more important what a dish tastes like.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                        i had that same question. if your first impression, by taste, is to eliminate that person, then why would it matter that once they saw the person, talked to the person, did they go "oh, damn, i regret my decision? i do think that once they spoke to the contestant they realized that there was maybe potential there, and that that person might have fit the bill as one they would want on their team. because i'm still unclear about how the rest of the contest is going to play out. they assemble their team, by getting chefs they think are like-minded, mesh with their own cooking styles, and hope that they won't be booted off later - even by them - by a simple blind tasting.

                                                                                                                      3. I liked it. A bit long at 2 hours and Ludo was a bit hard to understand at times, but all in all, fairly watchable.

                                                                                                                        I counted 3 former Chopped contestants. 2 that made it on to a team and 1 that didn't.

                                                                                                                        19 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                          I'm going with trainwreck. About a half hour into it I found sleep to be a more productive endeavor.

                                                                                                                          Game show glamour and set mixed with forced and uncomfortable repartee between judges and the non-drama drama of pressing buttons. I could not understand why they continually hit the "no" button then regretted their choice. I guess after the taste and making their choice based solely on food, they regretted it after talking to the cheftestants? If it is supposed to be based on the taste of food, why does the interview have any bearing on how they felt about the food. Way overly contrived premise and execution. Won't be seeing any more of it.

                                                                                                                          I like Anthony Bourdain but since he does resemble that guy who hosts the "people hurting themselves and finding it funny as long as they aren't hurt bad home videos show" maybe he's morphing into a prime time game show host. Or, maybe it wasn't AB but really was that guy.

                                                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                            I think I spotted two Chopped contestants: Diane Dimeo and the lady with the Chef Tattoo on her hands... Who was the third?

                                                                                                                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                              I find it interesting that so many chefs try out for all of these various shows. Don't they have real jobs to keep them busy? Or is it just for the fame? (With Diane Dimeo, I believe the latter.)

                                                                                                                              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                Dumpling lady was the third one. She was part of a real quick montage of 4 contrstants they did toeatds the end of the first hour

                                                                                                                              2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                My fiancé kept saying that Ludo needed to have subtitles.

                                                                                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                  He has lived here since 1996. I bet he hires only French speaking kitchen staff and his GM is French. He never needed to speak English often enough on a daily basis to learn the diction and lessen his accent.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                    My MIL's husband has lived and worked in this country since he was a teenager in the 1950's. He still sounds as if he got off the boat last week. Some people just don't lose accents easily.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: rockycat

                                                                                                                                      My paternal grandfather died when I was six years old. A few years later my grandmother got a 'boyfriend' and his English was so bad we never understood a word he said. He smiled a lot when we were around. He and my grandmother got along great. They only spoke to each other in Ukrainian. At that point he had been in the U.S. for over 50 years, about the same as your situation.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                      If you aren't surrounded by a native accent after the ages of 11-14 the chances of ever completely adopting a new accent (opposed to language) is slim. After that point, adopting an accent/diction requires serious effort.

                                                                                                                                      I worked at a large university hospital that offered diction classes for foreign doctors but it was only recommended in cases far more extreme than Ludo's.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                        My grandparents never lost the accent. That was not my point. However, I know many people who immigrated to the U.S. as adults and over the years, even as short at 16 years, the accent lessens to the extent that they are completely understood. I just don't think Ludo has spoken English enough on a daily basis to lessen his accent as much as he should, as long as he is going to be a television personality that is. (My father barely spoke English when he started school even though he is U.S. born).

                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                          I only watched for a few minutes but had no trouble understanding Ludo. In contrast, I found Jose Andres very difficult to understand when watching the Made in Spain series on PBS. I think adults can largely lose their foreign accents if they think it's important. My parents spoke no English when they emigrated to the US when they were in their mid 20's. When I was a teenager, I heard a tape recording of my parents talking to me when I was saying my first words. They had prominent accents at that point, 21 yrs after arriving here. But by the time I was a teen, their accents only came out in occasional words. I regret that I did not grow up bilingual, but they were determined that I not speak English with a foreign accent, so they worked hard to lose theirs, and to only speak English to me.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                            The French speakers are probably the most difficult for me to understand. Éric Ripert is one example.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                              Wait. Eric Ripert speaks? :-P

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                god i love you.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                  ;-) Too obvious?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                    Ha, he speaks and he cooks (always fully clothed I'm told).

                                                                                                                                            2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                              I never actually said I could not understand Ludo. He does however have a thick accent and to me anyway, a somewhat disagreeable personality. He seems to be the kind of guy who would not attempt to improve his English speaking ability in order for others to understand him better just becauose somebody once suggested it to him. I recall he said to either Tony or Brian, "Don't you understand English"? When they asked him to repeat something or indicated they didn't get what he just said.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                I have a hard time understanding Ludo. Mostly it's an unfamiliarity with how the french mispronounce english. In the movie Sexy Beast it took me 1/4 of the movie before I realized Kingsley was speaking with a cockney accent, then it all fell into place.

                                                                                                                                                jb

                                                                                                                                          2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                            Ludo's pop-up staffs are composed entirely of English speakers (many of which are interns and students). His "GM" is his wife, who is an American.

                                                                                                                                            On a side note, I didn't have a hard time understanding him, but my husband couldn't comprehend much of what he said. But then again I can't comprehend Scottish accents and he can't understand my dialect in Japanese (we both speak standard Japanese to each other).

                                                                                                                                      2. The promos piqued my interest since I thought the judging panel was an interesting mix and might make for good tv and differentiate this from other competition cooking shows.

                                                                                                                                        Like others here, I felt the format was almost identical to that on The Voice.

                                                                                                                                        -I did enjoy the panel, especially Nigella and Bourdain.
                                                                                                                                        -Based on some of the questions the panel asked, I felt they had more information on the contestants than just that spoonful of food in front of them.
                                                                                                                                        -I got bored with the format after a while. I think it has potential to be more interesting when they start mentoring.
                                                                                                                                        - The mashed potato/chicken spoon looked and sounded like a train wreck to me and it didn't seem at all plausible that Nigella (or anyone) would select a contestant putting that dish forward in the earliest hours of the judging.

                                                                                                                                        I'd hoped to enjoy it more than I did but I'm not giving up on it. We'll see what next week holds.

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                          i think the 2 hour format did not help them. it went on too long.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                            I totally agree w you mc. Interestingly the Canadian networks elected to air only one episode so we tuned in to the US station to see both....maybe big brother knew best after all!! ; - )

                                                                                                                                        2. The waste disposal worker's story was compelling, and I was sure it was foreshadowing him being accepted on someone's team against all odds.
                                                                                                                                          But when his dish started to look eerily like the stuff he shovels everyday, I knew it was headed in another direction.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                            This show isn't using the same standard of foreshadowing you see on Chopped or Top Chef. One contestant said she wanted to be on Bourdain's team, and sonufagun she got what she wanted! I think another later said she wanted his team and got nothing. Sad when a show seems fresh because it's manipulating the audience in a new way.

                                                                                                                                          2. It gets a bg "meh" from me. As Trish and many others have noted they went with types rather than cooking skill. This is not a cooking show. It's a "let the crazies run around and act like idiots" show. Still could be entertaining, but is in the "If I have nothing else to do" category.

                                                                                                                                            jb

                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                              i'm confused by this, not being snarky - how could they go for "types" rather than skills, seeking out crazies, if they make their decisions upon tasting the food, before they even meet them? by the time met the contestants, they were locked in.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                I don't agree they were looking just for crazies, but I do think the producers were looking for "types." The villain/villainess, the overcoming the odds cook, etc...

                                                                                                                                                Out of that pool of semifinalist "types," the actual players chosen for the finals were based on taste of their dish.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                  At this point in reality tv - whether it be yahoos living together or a competition that does require skills or talent - the way these shows are cast is no longer accidental.

                                                                                                                                                  For a show like this, I'm sure there's a basic talent threshold that finalists need to make - but then you don't make it in front of the judges unless you are capable of being a certain kind of reality show character.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                    the way these shows are cast was never accidental.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                  The "they" I was referring to were the producers.

                                                                                                                                                  jb

                                                                                                                                              2. I have never seen any of the shows this was ostensibly modeled after, but I have to say I enjoyed the opening episode.

                                                                                                                                                Found it very interesting what the contestants chose for their singular bite.

                                                                                                                                                1. A lot of great comments made here in this thread, but I still have to mention that I was bored with the show (especially after two hours of it). I think I was expecting more ribbing amongst the judges, I was expecting Bourdain to be more Bourdain, I was expecting maybe a flash to go off in that ridiculous photo booth the contestants had to stand in.
                                                                                                                                                  I mean, come on. Did you see the tall thin black dude in that booth? What are these producers thinking? Ludo is the judge to watch ... he's bringing his A game, IMHO.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I made it to one of the last 100 finalists. Here's how it went down. Went to audition in NYC. Made macaron. Taster loved it. I was asked to come back for a callback which was a video taped interview. Made the next cut. Had to cook 6 dishes in a matter of hours, photograph the dishes and send them in. Then I made that cut. Had to send in a home video. Made the last 100. The producers did not like me for some reason or another. Regardless of how bummed I was, the casting people were great and it was a fun experience. However, I did have a bit of a meltdown when I saw a commercial b/c it appeared that everyone on the commercial was young and "acty" looking. So last night I watched the two hour premiere. I've got some mixed feelings. First of all, I was so happy to see Jeanette (The Kugel Lady)--she was in my audition group and she was soooooooooooooo nice and sooooooooooooooo funny. I was rooting for her so much!!!!! However, I was dissappointed she got the heave-ho. What disturbed me was the way the judges were all moaning and groaning about being sorry they didn't pick someone. What I thought was really strange was that Bourdain seemed to pick (sight unseen) women who would love to either do the bouncy-bouncy with him or where crude and set up to be the bad girl. Honestly, I couldn't figure anything out but that the cute girl that happened to have $43 bucks to her name, total tearjerker moment, got picked to be on a team--it just seems to "set up" to me--although I was glad that someone--the ONLY one who made a dessert got picked! I also loved the fact that Ludo offered that other girl who have up her job for the show. a job working for him. It could be decent. I will only keep watching b/c I am rooting for team Ludo-I would have loved to have been on his team!

                                                                                                                                                    18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                      great story and generous of you to share it. i'd rather watch the show with you (now).

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks:) I'll tell you--I'm a darn good cook, but I do ultimately feel that the final decision was purely about "type". Oh well, the experience was way cool, but I'm not digging the way Bourdain and Lawson are coming across. I swear Ludo is going to end up being the best part of the show because he is classically trained and is a perfectionist. I liked him ever since I saw him on the Burgundy episode of No Reservations.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                          i dig ludo, but i don't think he comes across as any less jambonny on the t.v. than bourdain or nigella.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks, jarona! They really put you through the wringer to make it into the group that cooks for the judges!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          Linda-they did, but it was a fun and interesting process. I'm amazed at the number of "repeat" competitors that pop up. A lot from Chopped, etc. I still have a bit of an "ouch", but it's cool and ok. I really do think Ludo will be the breakout star of the show.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                            Provided we can all understand him. There were a few times last night I couldn't fathom what the hell he was saying. Although I do love his comment to Nigella "Do you speak English?" :-)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                              LOL--my better half is a Frenchman, so I'm used to zeeee ahhcentt. I think the show may need subtitles at times:)

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                              Ludo had a show - not on a major network or Food Network - in which he and his wife started pop-up restaurants in little towns all over the country. It was called Ludo Bites.

                                                                                                                                                              He's an interesting guy. He seems to be demanding and he has a hot temper and his wife was a good balast for him. It will be interesting to see how he shows up on this.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                            Jarona, yay! I have been hoping to hear back from you! So sorry you didn't make it on the show. I'm sure you would have been great and a lot of fun. Their loss.

                                                                                                                                                            For me, the dichotomy is the show is supposed to be about - the taste of the food, end of story. Yet, in fact, it is about backstory and type as much as any other reality show.

                                                                                                                                                            That open audition was a lot to ask of people, wait hours in line, bring a dish, serve it, cameras rolling, interview. And then all you went through Jarona - WOW!!! I would have expected the cooks chosen for this show would be phenomenal! But ... so far anyway, many aren't.

                                                                                                                                                            As much as I love Tony and Nigella, like you I would have wanted to be on Ludo's team. He's obnoxious and abrasive for sure, but I really could learn from him. His style of cooking sings my song.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                              Hi Trish!
                                                                                                                                                              Now...now, you and I both enjoyed our time on that long line! I met some really, really nice people and fun conversation made the time go by quickly:) I'll tell ya, at the time, I was not employed so anything that was asked of me--I had the time. Now--there are not enough hours in the day--I have a job I love. But back to the show. I'm telling you, the casting people were great and supportive and just amazing. I found out later from a friend that the casting folks have nothing to do with the final decision--it is ultimately up to the producers. Watch the show next week--I'm telling you--watch it. Watch the credits and see who the producers are...that will give you an idea of how the "blindness" of the contestants worked--it was daunting for me. I was not picked and it could have been for a number of reasons---i.e., I didn't have a back story. I could have given them a backstory to keep the entire country supplied with tissues, but I don't believe in victimizing oneself nor do I believe in airing dirty laundry on TV. Perhaps my personality was too goofy. Perhaps my voice was TOTALLY annoying (my nasal NY/Long Island accent has been known to make people jump off bridges..lol). Whatever the case--I am happy that I made it to the final 100--it was a fun experience and one that brings fun conversation to parties:) And.....this Ludo guy is so much fun to watch!!!!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                Looks to be 3 other people with Bourdain and Lawson as producers.

                                                                                                                                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Taste

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                  Jarona, that's a good point. The casting people aren't the final decision makers. It is the producers, so these are the people they wanted.

                                                                                                                                                                  And I did love my time on that line. I heard some great stories from the Chopped chefs. My husband brought a chair and was reading Keith Richards' book and every now and then would look at me and raise his eyebrow as if to say, "Remember this moment. I came and waited with you for hours. You, my dear, will owe me." That's how we roll. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                  I am so thrilled you made it as far as you did. A great experience. I believe CastingDuo is now working on a baking show.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                    This is fascinating to hear about - and I completely agree that Ludo is by far the most interesting part of this show so far. Clearly the Simon Cowell/Gordon Ramsey mean-thing isn't as popular anymore for this kind of show - but it's left someone like Bourdain basically saying the same thing over and over. Ludo however managed to come across as dynamic and engaging.

                                                                                                                                                                    I'm not sure how many people on these boards listen to the podcast "Dining with Doug and Karen" - which is a comedy take on a food podcast, but they have an episode with Ludo that's pretty charming.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                      You're right, Ludo was pretty fun to watch. I like Tony Bourdain, but I got over the rockstar, badboy appeal quite a while ago. I found Nigella very annoying for some reason.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                        Bourdain's mellowed. A *lot*. And I still like him. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                          Ha! He gets his ya ya's out on the Layover with lots of gratuitous swearing and potty humor. :o)

                                                                                                                                                                          jb

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                  Wow! Congratulations on making it as far as you did!!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                    very interesting to hear from someone who has been through it! and so great that you did well! thanks for sharing.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Let's see if I'm getting this right. They taste the spoonful, decide Yes or No and press their button. Then they talk to the contestant and reveal what they voted before they talked to the contestant. And the earlier, blind vote, can't be changed?

                                                                                                                                                                    I came in during the second hour and found that process confusing.

                                                                                                                                                                    jb

                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                      Correct -- after all, "its all about the taste."

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                        I get teh taste thing. but partly why I wondered is they acted so pained sometimes when talking to the contestants, as if they were considering changing their vote.

                                                                                                                                                                        thanks,
                                                                                                                                                                        jb

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                          I think they're feeling pained because they wish that they had chosen someone.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                            Possibly they're trying to emphasize the whole "its all about the taste" bit. I.e. based on the taste alone they said no, but if they had known that contestant was pro/amateur/male/female/old/young/sewer worker/investment banker, these "non-taste" considerations would have made a difference.

                                                                                                                                                                            Or maybe they were just trying to be nice on TV

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I lost interest when I, almost immediately, saw the "casting" at work vs. actually choosing good foods. It was so...forced.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Oh, and this is silly, but I thought one of the chefs said he worked at a restaurant in LA called 5420? I either misheard or it's not in LA, because I just could not find it!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. I think $100,000 is way way too small of a prize.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. What is a chef consultant, btw? I can't remember the woman's name but she was grating.

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                A chef consultant is an out-of-work chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I need a LIKE button for this.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I did not like it. What was up with them pushing the NO button and then constantly saying they'd made a mistake. Don't push the NO button then.

                                                                                                                                                                                It was schizophrenic for me...some great tastes were tossed out and mediocre ones saved. huh?

                                                                                                                                                                                Seemed like everything decided beforehand.

                                                                                                                                                                                Did not like it at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. I just have to say this, in addition to many of your comments I agree with on it was just kind of a PITA of a show, after all....

                                                                                                                                                                                  but, really WHAT IS WITH ALL THE SHOTS OF THE LOCKER ACTION? Did we really need to know they ran in with a backpack and a pan of ingredients, and after getting cut, had to take their stuff out of the locker and leave with a heavy heart?

                                                                                                                                                                                  There must have been a dozen shots of people getting stuff into or out of a locker.... just wierd, IMO

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I watched last night and really enjoyed it. But am I the only person who has no clue who Ludo is???

                                                                                                                                                                                    Also, I'm almost positive that the female contestant who said she is Charlie Sheen's personal chef was on Chopped. I think she said she's the chef for the royal family in Saudi Arabia, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HeyImBack

                                                                                                                                                                                      I thought I saw the contestant who said she was Charlie Sheen's personal chef on Anne Burrell's Chef Wanted show. IIRC, she didn't win.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pamf

                                                                                                                                                                                        I just googled her and yep, Khristianne a/k/a Chef K has been on a number of TV shows.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Her very Hollywood website: http://about.me/khristianne.uy.ChefK

                                                                                                                                                                                        An article about her appearance on Chef Wanted: http://entertainment.gather.com/viewA...

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: HeyImBack

                                                                                                                                                                                        More information than you will ever need about Ludo:

                                                                                                                                                                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludovic_...

                                                                                                                                                                                        He was very much an enfant terrible on Top Chef Masters, and I would expect the same temper flare ups on the Taste. But to me, that's kind of cool.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HeyImBack

                                                                                                                                                                                          Ludo was on Top Chef, so that's how i knew him originally.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                            Same with me. Watching him on TCM first might have colored my opinion of him, as he definitely has attitude. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out in a mentoring role.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                              I was sort of turned off by his attitude on TCM and saw some of the same attitude on this show (which is probably why he is on the show). I don’t remember the details, but Ludo did offer one of the prospective contestants a job at his pop-up.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Exactly. I was impressed he did so, and which is why I want to see how he does in the mentoring part of the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                              Ludo is an amazing chef and had a show with his wife on Sundance which is my favorite ever food tv show - http://www.sundancechannel.com/ludo-b...

                                                                                                                                                                                              You can get it on Itunes I know - not sure where else - but it's such glorious food fun!

                                                                                                                                                                                              His appearance on TCM was just not the full story.

                                                                                                                                                                                              This Taste show however is dull - and the weird guillotine contestant disposal machines awful. Malarkey bugs me but AB, Nigella and Ludo all could be great if the format was fixed.

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: HeyImBack

                                                                                                                                                                                              There were several who have been on Chopped, including Diane DeMeo (aka the bitch character) and the older Norwegian woman who was referred to as the dumpling queen (she was only onscreen for a few seconds before being eliminated).

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                Methinks the producers are delighted with Ms DeMeo as the villain that we will all love to hate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                  What about Charlie Sheen's personal chef. She looks very familiar too. Maybe Chopped?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Diane is just unpleasant to watch. I hope she screws up and gets eliminated before I stop watching this show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah. How disappointing was it when they liked her spoonful? Ugh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I didn't mind the show - the set was way too big and shiny and dark-hated the chef cage

                                                                                                                                                                                                  tony is simon cowell-the honest bastard who is so witty everyone loves his candor-right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  nigella is paula or some other softy person-the mom

                                                                                                                                                                                                  ludo - whoever he is-is the voice of reason, experience - whatever - randy jackson?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  and that other person is the kook-aka i have no idea-that host guy?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  i only watched one season of american idol and there were only 3 judges then-the formula seems to apply to all these awful shows

                                                                                                                                                                                                  gag me with a spoon?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: madeliner

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think that most reality shows (including the ones Simon Cowell works on) have moved away from honesty perceived as meanness. If anything the worse a dish was on The Taste the more likely they were to just say "not for me, sorry".

                                                                                                                                                                                                    If the rest of the show is like the auditions, then I won't keep watching - but once the auditions end, I hope the format becomes less repetitive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: madeliner

                                                                                                                                                                                                      i did hate the set too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I just want to say that I didn't read this entire thread, but wanted to chime in and say that The Taste is a terrible show. It's cooking version of the show The Voice, stealing the format of "one's raw talent being solely judged by the cooking and not their looks."

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not sure if it was editing, but I felt like I watched 2 hours of people NOT getting picked... Sort of like how American Idol shows 2 hours of bad singers... Showing 2 hours of poor cooks just doesn't have the same entertainment value.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm upset cause I think this is Bourdain "selling out." He of all people whom rip on Emeril and Flay and Symon and Batali for becoming chef personas that is palatable for the masses, has just become the thing he use to mock.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't see myself watching show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggietales

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Actually, it wasn't 2 hours of bad cooks, though there were some. Quite a few of the cooks who didn't get chosen were actually good, and the panel regretted it afterwards.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                          It seemed like Nigella responded to her regret by picking the next person, regardless! I imagine the editing was done to make us have that impression though. I hope to be wrong, but I think the mashed potato lady may not have much potential to grow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Anyone know when the interminable selection process is done & the mentoring begins? Watched about 45 min. of the selection, and got bored with it. May hang around for the mentoring/cooking/judging part--looks like the same blind tastings for judging, correct? I like that idea, even if the judge "aufs" (I watch too much Project Runway, where blind judging would be a great idea!) his/her own protege.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Per TV Guide Online (yes, I'm one of those ancient relics who still gets TV Guide for the coffee table!), we have 1 hour remaining of auditions this coming Tuesday, and the following week we move into the mentoring part.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh that explains things. I thought they were done, and I couldn't recall enough being chosen (but I wasn't really counting)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I wish we still had tv guide here in Canada Linda. We have the online guide and the on-screen guide but it's not nearly as informative or as easy to take in the week ahead. TV Guide pulled out of Cda quite a few years ago now. They should have retained a "for fee" online service IMHO but alas...no one asked!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My mother was a TV Guide subscriber for at least 30 years, but when they reformatted it is when she let her subscription lapse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, I wasn't happy with the reformatting to magazine-size, but I've gotten used to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    you can subscribe to tvguide for a song now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I won't bother because I don't have cable :P

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    they don't even put a tv guide in the sunday papers here anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    15 dollars and change for a whole year here-official 'tvguide' site
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.tvguide.com/keywords/tv-gu...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was curious and did a google :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      HA! I only recently stopped my subscription, and I never got used to the big format. I look at it now on my IPAD - how 21st century of me!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, I'm old school on this, wincountry. No iPad (just a Kindle Fire), and no smart phone either. Not until my LGenv breaks. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You and me both Linda. I don't want my cell phone to be smarter than am I. I still have too many books (novels) that I have not yet read (thrift store purchases for a buck each) soI have not jumped on the e-reader train. Last year we were at our cabin and a friend of my brother's was there. He was overserved, laying in his bunk, and attempted to change the font on his Kindle. He was having a little trouble because he was reading a paperback. (Or he was attempting to read it anyway.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ROFL! Yeah, trying to change the font on a paperback is going to require a bit more than a finger sweep. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Just got caught up with this show via 'On Demand'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Have to say I like it so far. Really like the 'blind ' judging aspect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My one issue so far is hearing the judges seemingly endlessly say 'I wish I hadn't pressed no'. If the food was so good why did you press 'no'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                And I was really sorry that the chicken friend watermelon guy didn't last. Thought he would have proven to be very interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Our cable provider just added some On Demand content. I had ony caught the second hour and after reading your comment went and found it in our system. I have to say the first hour was much better than the second. More regular people, fewer stereotypes. Still just as many "Oh I wish I'd voted for you." moments, but having seen it from the begining it gave me a different perspective on what the judges were dealing with. I realize this is obvious, but it just didn't occur to me coming into the middle. From that single taste you were trying to determine, not just is this tasty, but also the skill level of the cook. It might be a home cook who does this one thing great. It might be a pro that has a lot of experience. And of course the opposite can be true as well. So in some ways it's not all about the taste. Probably will be more so later on after the mentoring starts, but here in the begining they're looking for more than just a good bite, they're trying to assertain a cooks resume from that bite. Tough for them and the cooks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I may like this show more than I thought.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I'm eight minutes into Auditions Part Two. I'm sorry I had to push the red button. I would love to have you on my team.You could really work on your set design,dialogue,timing,pretty much everything.It's my personal prejudice.I hope I didn't screw up with my decision .Good luck in the future.I will be watching reruns on another network.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: emglow101

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nicely done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: emglow101

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Didn't see it last night. Worked late. Tired. I do agree that the set design needs work. I actually posted something to that nature on their FB page. My suggestion was to tone it down and really--get rid of the models--or maybe just put them in old-school waiter suits. The set is just wayyyyyy to over-the-top. I'm interested to see how the ratings are though b/c it won the timeslot last week and scored a win for ABC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The models who bring the tastes to the judges are integral to the show. They're called the Tasty Girls, btw.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You're kidding, right? No, unfortunately I'm sure you're not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Last night I forgot about this program until ten minutes into it. I saw a couple of the contestants bring their food and then the same tired "I wish I would have chosen you" crap from Bourdain. Malarkey was wearing the same bad shirt. (He HAD to have brought that one from home. I would say he should donate it to Goodwill, but then someone else might actually wear it.) I fell asleep about half-way through the program. Did I miss anything? Did they start with the teams yet? (These are rhetorical questions, I don't really care.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Teams are next week, John. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Missed last night's show, had to work. Newspapers never sleep.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But don't you put them to bed? Sorry, couldn't help it...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Reality Blurred is frustrated too, but points out that since the judges are limited to four contestants each on the first go (rather than pick, say, eight to narrow down later) they may have cut perfectly good cooks loose in hopes of someone extra good coming along. Bourdain even hinted he was doing that toward the end, when he was taking forEVer to finish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.realityblurred.com/reality...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          50 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "They should have been allowed to assemble a larger team and then narrow to four in a subsequent stage, whether by blind tasting or just after talking with each of their chosen teammates."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I like that idea. But I wonder if ABC only gave them a limited # of episodes for the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Could well be. Wiki says there are only 8 episodes (with two of them auditions) (so at least 1/4 of this season is boring) so there's not a lot of leeway there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So, only 6 cooking/challenge shows to weed out 15 people? Wow, gotta be some ruthless "auffing" (I watch too much Project Runway). Looking forward to seeing the real cooking and how they'e gonna present the blind judging -- will it be everyone cooks the same dish, or contestants own choice of spoonful, like the auditions?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  15? I thought each judge was picking 4 people?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Okay, I'm no math genius, but 15 "auffed" + 1 winner, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Me neither, only info I have is that each chef/judge will be mentoring a group of four cooks. Where does the 16 number come from. Not picking on you, just curious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 judges with 4 cooks each = 16 cooks total.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Cinnamonster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LOL at me. Like I said I'm bad at math. {walks off sheepishly reminding himself to use toes when conuting next time}

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LOL! I kept re-reading your post asking where does the 16 number come from after you had just said that each judge will be mentoring 4 chefs, and asking myself "Umm, JB?" :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Junior, thanks for the laugh. Good to know I'm not the only one who has brain farts. As for the show, the set is horrendous and Bourdain seems to be intentionally toning himself down. I wish he'd be himself - not necessarily mean, but real. I think next week, when the real competition begins, will determine whether I continue to watch. The premise has so much promise, but leave it to the big networks to screw it up. I do think Ludo is hot, though, so maybe I'll keep watching for that. I didn't like him at all on Top Chef Masters, but think he's charming on this show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I totally agree that the set is horrendous. What was the set designer thinking...and I still really think those models/servers are ridiculous---it proves the contestants of Toddlers and Tiaras have a future! Seriously--the show can be extremely good and interesting if it gets an overhaul.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                OTOH, I'm going off-topic for a moment. Just got a call from my better half. He's in Paris for a family funeral. Anyway, he went to a neighborhood bistrot that we frequent--he said the owner came up to the table more than once asking why I wasn't there and to tell me I'm missed. I thought that was funny. Carry on:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow. Being a regular in a bistro in Paris. WTG, jarona. But sorry for your better half's reason for being there. :-) and :-(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks LindaWhit..I'm looking forward to his return!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    yes, sorry about your BF's loss, but your post made me instantly green with envy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    hope he gets back safe and sound to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Something Bourdain said in an early interview, "We all work for The Mouse now," runs through my head every time he talks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think some of the real Bourdain came out when he pointed out that the three times that Ludo and "Malarkey" (what's up with that?!) went after the same cook, all of the cooks picked Ludo. I was thinking the same thing and I cracked up when AB said it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't know why, but I am totally annoyed by Brian Malarkey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I finally got to see Auditions Part Two:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://abc.go.com/watch/the-taste/SH5...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Agree the set is cheesy (Annoying also to see a head bob up now and then under Ludo from the kitchen below). The banter among the hosts is strained at times, talking over each other so you can't understand them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        On the other hand, good for those cooks who made it! I congratulate them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As for Tony v. Brian. As I recall, Tony was a judge for one of Brian's episodes on Top Chef and was totally unimpressed with Brian's dish. He thought the quality was poor and Brian overcompensated by putting a huge amount on the plate. So there's a little history there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Probably because he is insisting on being called Malarkey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've checked out this name thing and as far as I can tell it's his real name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It is his real name. He's a local guy for me and our local paper ran a rather lengthy article about him right before The Taste started. It mentioned in the article that he'd dropped his first name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Let's just say that Malarkey doesn't exactly have the same cachet as, say , Cher...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wait - he *dropped* his first name, Brian?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Eejit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This all that comes to mind
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  From Robinhood men in tights
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt3gcS...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Also in San Diego county and saw that article. However, Malarkey DOES fit his "see me, see me!!!" personality. If this show comes back for another season, either replace him or give him a sedative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Why would you go with a name whose definition certainly not positive? You're right, Dining Diva. It does fit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just guessing, but I'd expect he thinks it's cool and fits with his brash and out-there personality (I'd use the word obnoxious, however).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Either that (the sedative) or let him be off somewhere opening up another fabric restaurant. He was this annoying on Top Chef too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So he does not wish people to call him Brian any longer? If I knew him, or ran into him, I'd call him Brian with every single sentence. I once ran into someone in my business who used just a first name. She even had just her first name on her business cards. I told her I would not do business with her unless I knew her full name. She told me and it was not a strange name (I don't even recall what it was.) Being known as just "Marlarkey" is an affectation that seems ridiculous to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You'll get no argument from me ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kind of suits him, don't you think?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          According to the dictionary:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ma·lar·key

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          /məˈlärkē/
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Noun
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Meaningless talk; nonsense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Damn. So how many people are the "auffing" :::vbg::: each episode? They've got 16 now with only 6 shows left. So that means maybe 3 per show to get down to a Final 4?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Apparently two are sent home each episode, which would leave six left for the finale (which is titled "Triple Threat"). There will be immunities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ahh - didn't have time to go to the Wiki page about it. Thanks, ennuisans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ultimately, it just made for poor tv. With the exception of Ludo, the rest of the judges were very inarticulate as to why they didn't want a chef. And even after it was clear that Bourdain was favoring heavily spiced food - he never had a way of explaining it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I do find it interesting that the non-native English speaker (Ludo) did the best at giving a reason why a chef wasn't chosen. Whereas Bourdain, who considers himself now to be a writer, was reptitive and completely lacking charsima.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You're right; it seemed there was a lot of "this was really interesting,really well cooked, great balance of flavor, great technique. But I didn't pick you. I have no idea why not."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If this show makes it to a second season - the audition process will have be changed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Agreed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I like the show, but I found myself getting annoyed at the end when all 4 judges were still eating and judging even though 3 of them had their teams complete.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was also more confused on the second episode when they regretted not picking someone. In the first show, there seemed to be some logic in their decisions, but this time it just seemed strange.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bart Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It just wasn't compelling - and I think honestly the task of the judges was too hard. Hearing Lawson say "I'm not picking you because I don't like smooth purees" was incredibly dull television and bizarre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also - perhaps in the interest of making the show seem 'more serious' - other than the tutu vegan there were no real wackos or "terrible" cooks. I am in no way a good enough chef to be competitive on any home cook show - but I also don't have the self-delusion and unconventional palate to combine Skittles and ground beef. So instead of having awesome, not quite, and terribly awful mistakes - they just had awesome and not quite awesome. Which made the show all running at the same level.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Top Chef and Chopped (geared to professionals) elevate the pressure/stress and difficulty so that experienced professionals are more inclined to make mistakes - and ultimately gross dishes. The result, in my opinion, gives the challenge more drama and the show intrigue (without people just yelling at one another).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This will happen in the competition. The auditions allowed the competitors to choose their dish (presumably one they were competant in) so there were (mostly) no weirdo combinations of ingredients (the opening chef on episode 1 notwithstanding)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And since the 58 competitors were whittled down from more than 7,000 who applied, there was a reasonable basis of talent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would have liked to see them get a chance to select one more person for their team, from all of the cooks eliminated, after everyone tried out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The set only has 16 stoves/workstations, so adding another 4 competitors would have been a problem. BTW -- the "cooks" at the stoves in the back row aren't competitors nor are they really cooking anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Window dressing, background scenery, extras. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          More and more I feel this this was all just thrown up in a YMCA gym somewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Thrown Up" may end up being prophetic words!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Uh, it's not as if they couldn't change the set, rjbh20. The point was that I would like to see of all of the people that were told "I wish I would have said yes", who would they pick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The point of this program is the 'Taste'. If the judges/mentors were allowed to choose from those not selected after just tasting their food, the choice would be based on criteria other than taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not entirely -- they could have another blind tasting, same as the first. Of course, they would know who's in, but still not the individual dish. I suspect that was plan B in the event they ran through all of the auditions and one or more teams weren't filled -- if they were down to one place left and the final flight of tastes were all awful they would have had to do something like this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I hadn't thought of doing another round of the cooking/tasting. Then again, if they did that we'd just hear Bourdain lament again about how he should not have voted no.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: dmjordan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Rebuilding this particular set (expanding it to add 4 more stations) would be a major deal -- they would have to tear down the current one & start from scratch. And its already a very big set and requires a large crew to film, since there's a lot going on simultaneously. Not impossible, just very expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Couldn't agree more that it would have been fun to have had a playoff of, say, 8 that were in the "wish I'd picked you" category.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For goodness sake! I'm not saying that they would have to rebuild the set. IF they would have an opportunity to pick one more person for each team, it would have ALREADY been part of the plan! You seem to be obsessed with the size of the set and missing the point that I would want to see who they would pick from the leftovers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. apparently the ratings of the second episode were, well, not tasty.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidetheb...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I found myself wondering how many people the judges saw each day. With some of those giant-sized spoons of food they ate, it must have been hard to keep going at some point.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Or do you think they spit the food out?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Do we know how many contestants there were from the start? The judges had one spoon from each contestant. It was shot all in one day. I am basing this statement only on the hideous shirt worn by Malarkey. (I can't believe one of the producers didn't say "Uhm, are you SURE you want to wear that shirt?")

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There were 58 total competitors, 29 each over 2 days. They kept the clothing of the judges the same so they could edit the sequences however they wanted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  RJ, there was a contestant form our area, Kristopher Plummer who goes by "Chef Plum," from Newtown, CT.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Here is a link to a story about him:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.newstimes.com/local/articl...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I didn't see him at all on the show. I take it some contestants didn't make it on TV?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I didn't keep count but it looked like most got at least a quick shot on air. What does your friend look like?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just checked you link -- he was in one of the promos and I saw him on the first episode -- he was at Whole Foods asking for pork belly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Excellent credentials - CIA *and* interning at The Jefferson Hotel? Not shabby a'tall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And he got cut, while the mashed potato and cabbage girl went thru. BTW, this guy is how you can tell it WS shot in two days, or at least that the editing wasn't sequential. He got cut in the first episode, but is seen on the set on the second -- he passes by the Washington DC caterer (shrimp & grits) in the pantry on episode 2.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, the mashed potato lady choice is still baffling to me. It will be interesting to see how she plays out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ditto, I can't fathom the choice at all. I am surprisingly underwhelmed with some of the choices, especially those of Nigella and Bourdain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mashed potato lady was sent home on episode 3, right? She made the apple thing?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, that's right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They did 29 over each of 2 days-- remember, the competitors had an hour each to cook their dishes. And except for the wacky vegan girl, I didn't see them spit anything out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ABC is running the first episode again right now, 90 minutes before the Superbowl. I watched the beginning that I missed the first time. I am reminded that the qualifying part of this show has not been compelling. Maybe I'll like it more once they get into the actual competition. Maybe they should have started with fewer contestants and just get right to the competition. (I have never seen The Voice. I understand this show is patterned on that one so I might be missing something.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Do you know if ABC is rerunning the 2nd episode with the rest of the auditions? I thought both the food and competitors were more interesting on the 2nd episode and they got it done in one hour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's half-time and I stopped watching about when I posted that message. I fell asleep during the second episode. So far, it hasn't been compelling TV for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Spitting food out is something done by folks with eating disorders and is damaging to the teeth as bulimia would be. I hope no one is doing that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          not true at all. stomach acid is damaging to teeth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I found the elimination rounds much more interesting than the first battle of the kitchens tonight. Maybe I'm just jaded from watching too many cooking shows but it just seemed like more of the same old formula and the blind taste idea wasn't enough to make it compelling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There was so much packed into 45 minutes that there wasn't enough time to relly understand what anyone was making. Maybe it will improve as the number of contestants is reduced.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't mind the fast pace but I would like to see more if the food/description of things. Half the fun of these types if shows is the food aspect. At this point they could be doing arts and crafts and judging appearance with the lack of food focus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. oh my lord - the show has been on for 11 minutes and i'm thoroughly annoyed by the aggro yelling and testosterone display - by the mentors! well, Ludo and Malarkey, mostly. the screaming is insane. this had better get a whole lot better by the end of the episode or I won't be back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ETA - I'm out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I turned on the TV 10 minutes into the show and never could figure out what was supposed to be happening. All I heard was obnoxious trash talking and whining. I kept the TV on but wasn't paying too much attention.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm out, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah, I wasn't too thrilled with that. Glad to see Tony and Nigella were keeping it calm. It was also WAY WAY too frenetic - I'm hoping that will change as more contestants get eliminated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I will continue watching - I'll just turn down the volume if that keeps up. I did find Diane DeMeo very irritating. I suspect she'll end up going down and not make it to the end, what with all of her bragging.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Thank goodness Bibimbap girl was showing some cleavage or I would have changed the channel even sooner than I did. I didn't watch the last 20 minutes -- boobage or no boobage. Sorry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                She is so totally obnoxious - and of course filmed to appear that way although I'm sure she is in person too - I was really hoping she'd go out. They'll probably keep her in just for her negative "appeal". And of course the fact she loves to flaunt her body - even at her age.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I like the show and will continue watching - although I do agree it is so fast paced that it is hard to keep up with at times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jeanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Who is that woman? She looks vaguely familiar and I could swear I've heard her name before? Has she done other "reality" TV?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Otherwise, what an awful show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Further upthread:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8818...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yep, plenty to read online about her.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      She has a FB page set up also.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I’m giving this show one more episode and if my attitude about it does not change, then I’m done with it. The first part of the first episode with the actual competition was difficult to watch. At the beginning when they were doing the Quick Fire thing (to use a Top Chef reference) where they were competing for immunity the video editing was done so they were jumping around so fast I could not keep up and figure out what was going on with any of the food prep. I suppose the point of the show isn’t to show us the food but the people talking about and tasting the food. I don’t think this program was intended for the same audience as Top Chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The video editing slowed down after the ‘Quick Fire’. However, I noticed something else that bugged me a little. It seemed like Bourdain, Lawson, and Malarkey all had too much make-up, especially Malarkey. I didn’t notice it as much with Lefebvre. I also couldn’t figure out the color thing. Each contestant had some sort of colored ribbon that I think was supposed to designate one of the ‘mentors’ but I never did figure out which color was for which chef. All in all, mostly this was a waste of time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Caught the show here this morning:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/the-taste

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Two words:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hot Mess

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Oy! I gave up on Food Network long ago with the focus on soap opera rather than food. I can't imagine that folks haven't gotten tired of the formulaic programming.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was expecting better from Bourdain. But in addition to being just as formulaic (if not more) this was so frenetic that it completely lost me. I'm out and so disappointed in AB. I thought he wouldn't buy in to the stupidity and lack of respect for food. Too bad,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TerryG

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Throw enough money at someone and they will succome. Why should AB be held to a different standard than anyone else. He's got an abused body and a young child. He also knows that the window of opportunity rarely happens as late in life as it as for him and he's going to take advantage of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But I agree that the show is too frenetic and confusing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Does anyone else other than me find this show to be somewhat creepy? Other than Ludo, who is animated, the other 4 hosts are awkward and dull. AB is phoning it in, NIgella appears bored by the whole thing and Brian Malarky is doing far too much chest pounding. Then they put the contestants in that closet like they're getting ready for lift-off or something. Bibimbap girl is just plain devisive and surly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The 4 hosts don't "gel" as a team or even cohorts and the contestants scurry around in a frenzy of confusion. This is eatertainment? I'm confused, but I keep getting weird and very unhappy vibes from everyone involved with this train wreck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I switched to The Ed Show. More interesting.... Too bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I had a glass of wine and couldn't make heads or tails of the odd rules. I don't know if I'll watch it again but I barely watched it last night. What is up with those Land of the Lost capsules that the contestants appear/disappear in?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I completely agree that these judges don't really work as a unit. Ludo on his own comes off well - but the other three come off so awkwardly and repetitive that Ludo seems cartoonish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. All I can say is this is a horrid, horrid, horrid show. 12 minutes in and we switched to Downton Abbey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I so wanted to like this show, because I think the blind tasting premise is a good one. However, between the chest-thumping (and that includes cleavage girl), weird set, frenetically paced editing and hyperactivity, I may not make it through to the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In its current iteration, can't imagine it having a second season. Upthread, someone said they didn't think it was aimed for the same cohort as Top Chef, which seemed to capture it spot on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Which makes it even more disappointing, as I would have hoped that that is what Bourdain and Lawson would have been going for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Did I mention what a horrid show this is?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Here are the overnight ratings:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                8:00 CBS NCIS 3.7/10 21.49
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ABC The Taste 1.8/5 5.28

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That last number is Millions of viewres. Will be intersting and surprising if they can maintain that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I doubt ABC will pull the show - there are only 8 total episodes, and 3 have already aired. So I suspect no matter the ratings, they'll let it play out over the next 5 weeks..although it *is* February sweeps month, which doesn't bode well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Agreed, they won't pull it. My question is whether viewership will drop next week. A lot of people here, not that we are the target demographic, said they would like to see the mentoring phase, but almost all the comments are negative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm sure the ratings will continue to drop, unless the Ludo/Malarkey yelling baloney attracts the Gordon Ramsay Hell's Kitchen crowd.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, the chest-thumping was my least favourite part. It seems like the guys think their team's food reflects on their virility.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If it does what does the weak ass mac and cheese that Ludo and Malarkey served up say?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh how sweet it would be if one of them would yell, "YOU COULD HAVE KILLED SOMEBODY!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Unfortuantely I will not be around to see it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You forgot "YOU DONKEY!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agree, but they'd need to subtitle Ludo's ravings.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Edited: this was supposed to be under Linda's comment about the Ludo/Malarkey yellings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Were the ratings higher on the rerun night ...?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't know. I'm not familiar with the nielsen site so don't know how to look up past performance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Only today did I realize how young all the contestants are. I don't think even one is in their 40s.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          How old is the apple cobbler lady? I would have guessed she was over 40.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Renatta is 32.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ow, apologies to her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Diane is 45 IIRC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My mistake. Three contestants - Diane, Erika and Shawn - are in their 40s. Sad that I'm only 47 and yet want these whippersnappers off my lawn already.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Erika?!?!??? Who the hell is Erika?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  She's the blonde from Arizona married to a baseball player. Think she does the weather on a TV station there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thank you. As you can see, she hasn't made much of an impression on me ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      She said she's from Paradise Valley (suburb of Phx). I'm in Phx and she doesn't do weather on any of our local stations. I never saw her before this show, and I'm a news junkie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HeyImBack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My mistake -- she was an anchor on Good Evening Arizona and The News Show on KTVK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. To all who are turned off: I still posit that the premise is a good one (blind tasting/judging). If so, what would you do to make it a watchable show?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "what would you do to make it a watchable show?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For starters, get rid of the stupid hatches.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't pick contestants soley for the drama. Drop the trash talking. Have some actual mentoring. The group challenge could start with the Lead Chef showing them a technique which they then have to incorporate in a dish that would be tasted by the guest judge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  After the group challenge, how about a little discussion of what each did with that technique, why it worked or didn't work. Mentoring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Elimination cahallenge they have to take that technique and put a twist on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  More substance, less flash. But that would be a show I want to watch and may not be what America wants to watch. I am reminded of the difference between Ramsay's BBC Kitchen Nightmares and the American version. There's no yelling on the BBC. It's impolite. :o)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree the show could be saved (I watch Masterchef, so it doesn't need to be Peabody Award winning for me to watch).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Things that would need to happen to fix the show:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1) The auditions should involve a two stage process where the first stage is "yes, we like it, you move on" and the second stage is team building. I like the idea of 2 blind taste tests because in the first round you'll have judges thinking "wow - this is the kind of chef I want to work with" - and then in the second round the game of "is this second taste from who I think it is" - so there would be greater opportunity to generate excitement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2) I think that Nigella and Bourdain bring two very different approaches to cooking. I think that Ludo and Malarkey bring nearly identical approaches that aren't very different from Bourdain's. To fix this, I think that another "home cooking oriented" judge would help. I'm no Paula Deen fan - but she'd definitely bring diversity to judges panel and has the fun potential of being a judge people would either love or hate. And she'd bring an appreciation for desserts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3) Bourdain needs to go as a judge, he's just a wet noodle of a personality on this show. His sentence tying Lebanese food to the conception of his daughter was just awkward. I think that Ludo is a very strong judge, Nigella is fine, and Malarkey should be replaced due to similarity to Ludo. If the idea is to have a judge who favors "ethnic" flavors - look for someone like Eddie Haung (who I would guess would avoid being a wet noodle).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4) More constraints on the challenges. "Comfort food" is such a vague term that basically just means "food that makes you feel good" - which essentially all good food should. An argument between judges of what is or is not comfort food was not interesting to watch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5) The show needs a new editting staff. I don't know enough about making tv to say what could improve it - but just hire someone who's worked on Masterchef and let him fix how the show is put together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I like your idea #1. I REALLY like it - like Sally Fields like it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      #2, however? I wouldn't watch if Paula Deen were on the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      #3 - I think it's still early on; Bourdain is a great judge on Top Chef; this is a slightly different format, but I still think he can do it well. Just hasn't grooved yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And I like #4 and #5. The editing is absolutely horrible, especially now that we're in the team concepts and they're all in the kitchens. There's no focus; jumping camera shots do NOT make it good to watch. This is not an MTV video. It's a TV show. And I'd rather there be walls up so each kitchen couldn't see what the others are doing. I dislike the shouting going on between teams and mentors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Personally, I can't stand Paula Deen - and honestly I think the choice came more from my viewpoint of the judges they do have (aside from Ludo) not working for me. Wouldn't have to necessarily be her, but someone with a sympathy to the home cook. And a personality. Any kind of personality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And for a show without many episodes Bourdain has earned the axe from me. I agree he was a great judge on Top Chef - but he's come off too soft to be the mean guy, not funny, and repetitive. It's this tragic feeling of watching someone become "too old".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Watching him talk about he's happy that he has a team of women so that there won't be any chest thumping egos - made me feel like he'd only spent 5 minutes with his team (had he met Diane?). Or if he had spent more time, that it was dominated by him checking his iPhone and asking his accountant how he's going to spend the money he makes from network tv.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When laypeople can recognize that editing is bad - they really need to look at that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Violatp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agree that the editing is way too erratic, but that seems to be the case with most TV -- a shot of more than a second or two is rare, unless its some "dramatic" moment like the shepherd's pie girl bawling after she got slammed by Nigella. Personally, I would like to see more of the actual cooking techniques -- getting complex dish together on that set (there is very little counter space) in one hour is not easy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm with the "OMG, no Paula Deen, crowd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For me, the show needs to decide whether it wants to be a show for home cooks or a show for people in the business (i.e. chefs, caterers, culinary instructors and so on). There's a pretty big gulf not only between their skill levels, but also their approaches and relationships to food. While I think the idea of having everyone compete equally regardless of level of experience, the execution so far of that idea hasn't been very good

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I disagree to a point, DDiva. I think it was the judges' choice of home cooks that has made for such an uneven playing field.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Based solely on what I've seen of roxlet describing meals made by her husband on the What's For Dinner threads, *AND* what he chose to make on The Taste (handmade seafood sausage with a cognac beurre blanc), I think he could more than hold his own with some of the people who do this for a living. Better, in fact.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Point taken

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Why, thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  WAIT. Are you Mr. roxlet??? How the hell did I miss this???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Actually, one of the biggest hitters in the audition episodes was Brian Jupiter, who owns and chefs in a restaurant called Frontier in Chicago. Look it up -- it's a fairly big deal I believe. He got cut. So did James, the personal chef fr CA who had excellent execution and skills. The fact that the mashed potato and chocolate cake girls are going down in flames speaks more to Nigella's weird judgement than anything else

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  FWIW, I don't live far from Frontier in Chicago and it's not what I'd call a big deal. I'd never heard of it until this. It might be good, but had to look it up, It seems to be casual and serves Southern barbecue/comfort food that includes fried chicken and lots of wild game like antelope, elk and wild boar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And one could say that this particular challenge (comfort food) was one that should have been relatively easy for those two. Of course chocolate cake girl did make the winning soup, but one wonders how much Nigella's suggestions might have helped with that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But that's the potential pitfall in this kind of testing -- just because they can make one delicious dish doesn't mean they're good cooks overall. Baking an awesome cake won't get you far in this type of competition if you can't do anything else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Subtitles sometimes necessary with Paula Deen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is probably painfully obvious, and has likely been mentioned up thread, but it just occurred to em what a rip off this show is of the latest Next Network Star show. Same team/mentoring concept. Only difference is the blind taste. And while I don't care for NFNS, it is a much better put together show than this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    With Bourdain, I was very surprised at how limpy he was while his team was cooking. He seemed uncomfortable and out of place. I wouldn't be surprised if, after the show, we here comments from him about knowing he was on train wreck that was about to smash into the station and just hoping to survive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. I thought that it was definitely a bit of schadenfreude for the professional chefs that the woman who was chosen by Nigella for the hideous-looking mashed potatoes and cabbage was the first to go. And if chocolate cake girl hadn't lucked out getting immunity in the first challenge, she would have been gone too. That "Shepherd's Pie," or whatever it was she was calling it, looked truly hideous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    26 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm very, very dissappointed in this show--actually "saddened" is more appropriate. As I've stated upboard, being one of the last 100 finalists from the auditions was a blast. I had a great time and was a bit sad when I didn't get picked to go to L.A., but nonetheless, I was very excited to see how the show would pan out. I found out the reason I was not picked was due to the producers not wanting me. Now I'm REALLY having a "whatthef**kiswrongwithme" moment. The pickins on the teams are so contrived and I'm sorry, it just is not good entertainment. I was expecting a competition show that focused on the competitors being pretty classy and really honing in on cooking simple, tasty, dishes and trying to achieve a "personal" best. Instead we have a typical cast of competitors who just trash talk the others, who want the extreme boobage v. extremely good cooking, and who want TV stardom rather than wanting to be mentored and groomed into the best cook they can be. I shake my head and am just happy that I am, in the words of my adult kids "Mom, you are the most amazing cook and baker" and my Frenchman who is currently in Paris and returns on Saturday says to me " Donnn wach zat shew--eez not good for you. You ahr much betahr zen zah pipol on zah Teh Vee. I can not wait to come 'om and 'ave zah ve'l kidnays wiz zah mustarr' souce"...Yup. I'm happier in my coccoon of a kitchen! But I'm soooooo dissappointed in the competitors!!! Darn it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Be proud you didn't get picked. You're obviously too normal and drama free and that's a good thing. OTOH, if you do want to get on the show, develop a brash ego, lots of cleavage and you're golden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          How does that explain the sweet little mashed potato and chocolate cake girls (both of whom showed last night that they're out of their league) being picked?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "both of whom showed last night that they're out of their league"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Jarona, I suspect your kids and husband are right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not particularly enthralled with the way the competitors have been treated or portrayed. Maybe not getting selected was a blessing in disguise?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chowser--Right??? I mean, really, what's with the cleavage--I could see if you were a nursing mother, ran out of milk for your "taste" recipe and...well...supplied your own--yeah...then I can see the cleavage. Does everything on TV have to be sexed up? Trust me, I'm no prude, but....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dinina Diva--thanks---I think you're right. I'll tell you, I've almost lost respect for Bourdain. His saving grace is that I truly, truly like his restaurant Les Halles in NYC-the steak tartare is excellent and, although I'm not a fry girl, the fries at his place are amazing. I want to old Bourdain back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Awww, I like your kids and your Frenchman! The drama that they're promoting is probably what sells, but it doesn't sell me. I want to see good cooking, but reality shows seem to push the drama.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jarona

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am so disappointed in this show. I have the utmost respect for Tony and Nigella, but they look like fools, completely out of place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tony shuffles around like a constipated 90-year old man. Nigella acts like a fairy godmother.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As a serious journalist, my reputation means a lot. Had I been associated with this hot mess I would have been incredibly embarrassed. Mortified.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So much time and money was spent and wasted on this show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Huge casting call goes out, auditions set up across the country. In NYC, hundreds of people lined up for HOURS with homemade food waiting for their moment to audition at the Flatotel. Some people flew in from far away and spent significant $$$ for their "moment."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. The audition form took hours to fill out, had to create a special résumé, make the sample dish they requested, photograph it as requested. More dough and time wasted. I truly doubt mine was even reviewed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. The producers went through all the rigamarole of having a professional "taster" taste all our dishes at the audition. (Ours was Eddie, a really nice guy). There were some wonderful chefs in that room with me and they COULD cook, but THEY were NOT the right TYPE! Waste of time for the casters and the Tasters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4. Contestants like Jarona went even further, spent time (money?) making a video, more interviews. Getting their hopes up just to be dashed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5. The casting people were professional, but in the end not...their...call. The producers could have just had audition tapes sent in, but then they wouldn't have built up an audience for this trainwreck, would they? I think that's what the process was mostly about - pr and hype for the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              6. Why go to all this trouble and have a stinker? It really wouldn't have taken much to have a good show. Amateur v. pros, blind tasting, great ideas. The producers had something there. They piqued my curiosity, which isn't that easy to do... and they blew it in the execution.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My final peeve. The smart chefs know how to play this game, especially Tony's team. He picked them for their ethnic foods and they are gonna keep giving him that. For example, Spoon A has Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes, Spoon B has Bibimbap. Which one came from Tony's team? So how blind is this after all, really?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I will keep watching. It's my cross to bear. Lessons learned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Good points. Not every competitor went thru the cattle calls, which were only in a few big cities. The has over 6,000 applications.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Trish. You bring up excellent points. You know---I'm actually wondering as of late, just how many of the 16 picked were part of the cattle call. It really does seem way too much of a contrived formula on those picked. It almost reminds me a bit of all the "diverse" characters in the film "Rachael Getting Married"--that movie was just too--too contrived in it's cast. The same with "The Taste" I wanted soooooooooooo badly to be rooting for that show. I wanted to be a cheerleader and sunshine pumper for it. Yeah--I still want Ludo to be the breakout person, but the show needs to have a revamp to be a success. On paper, the idea is greatness but in reality, it isn't playing out too well!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Better they should have put that in the casting notices. Wanted: people who can cook (or make a good go at it). Looking for the following - the Diva, the Sweet Young One, the Cocky Dude with Tattoos, the Sad Sack, etc., etc. Must look good on camera.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    At least they wouldn't have wasted quite so many people's time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I only watched half the first episode, but I'm assuming everyone falls into a very specific Reality Show Type.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      y'know, making television, like many, many things in life, is hard to do. some shows are successful -- popularly, critically, financially -- and others aren't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "so much time and money was spent and wasted on this show."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "why go to all this trouble and have a stinker?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      couldn't that being said about ANY television show people don't like?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      someone came up with an idea for a t.v. show, mapped it out, pitched it to the network, and sold it. they put the show in production and had at it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      the result: a t.v. show some people don't like. there's no vast conspiracy at work here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      as far as how the contestants and potential contestants were treated, well, unless they feel they were legally defrauded in some way, hey, they pay their money and they takes their choice.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      there ain't no god given right to be on the t.v. to think looks and personality weren't going to be taken into account is disingenuous at the very least.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My point was not aw gee, television is expensive to make or aw gee some people made it some didn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My point was an ::excessive:: amount of people's time and money was wasted for this particularly bad overhyped show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I accept that I was lured to it. As I said above, lesson learned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          and my point was how was the money, time and hype spent on this t.v. show different from any other?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you're going to push us that hard to a show, at least give us something interesting, intriguing, useful or scandalous for our trouble. The Bachelor - or the Real Housewives of Anywhere - would have been more worth my time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            TrishU, since you originally auditioned for The Taste do you believe you now dodged a bullet?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree with you Trish. It's a waste. I think what gets most of us is this is a good idea, it's just poorly executed IOHO. This is a show that if done right would be enjoyable to CH'ers. I could care less how screwed up the production process was/is for Temptation Island.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              jb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                which raises a question: would a show "done right" and "enjoyable to CH'ers" (and by this i mean a food-centric program) be sustainable on a major broadcast network?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linus