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The Taste Discussion - continued from original

Hi all - it was taking forever to open the original post and hard to follow. Hope we can continue the discussion here.

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      1. re: wincountrygirl

        Just by posting something in this thread, my post becomes a "bookmark" so it's then listed in my profile threads.

    1. I didn't read through the original thread. But I'm surprised that people were shitting on the shepherd's pie maker. She attempted the shepherd's pie only because she had immunity.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Worldwide Diner

        My only comment about her shepherd's pie is...cheese? I have never put cheese on shepherd's pie or cottage pie. She apparently also put on too much boring cheddar.

        1. re: John E.

          Yeah, when I saw that cheese going on top, I thought "huh?"

          1. re: John E.

            Right, it's okay to make something you've never made before, but shouldn't you at least have eaten the real thing before? If the only shepherd's pie you have seen is the stuff you mom made and then she called it shepherd's pie, don't say it is shepherd's pie, say it is your mom's pie.

            1. re: GraydonCarter

              As I understand it, Shepherd's Pie is made with lamb and Cottage Pie is made with beef. I could be wrong however. I've only made it with beef. I've made it both with lots of vegetables in addtion to the meat and I've made it with mostly just meat and onions. Both need to have plenty of mashed potatoes, or 'mash' as it is referred in Britain. I have not made it in a long time, but it is one of those comfort foods Mom used to make.

        2. Since you opened this thread, I will respond briefly to two questions asked in the last thread.

          Linus - I expected more from Nigella and Tony. They aren't usually associated with "crap on a plate" productions. There was more than your "standard" amount of pr and hype for this show. Much more. Read through past threads. Your mileage may vary.

          HillJ, Yes, I did dodge a bullet. I am never going to audition for a cooking show again. The same group as The Taste, Casting Duo, sent me an email about a new TV home baking show that's in the works. Pass!

          31 Replies
          1. re: TrishUntrapped

            i have read past threads, etc., and yes, mm does v. i found the amount of pr and hype to be fairly bog standard. you could certainly tell from the ads what kind of show it was going to be.

            as far as expecting more from tony and nigella, i think there are worse things in life than putting out a bad t.v. show.
            'the taste' certainly doesn't turn me off them for life.

            1. re: TrishUntrapped

              Trish--I got the email for tje baking show as well. I passed on the audition because A. I was too busy at home doing christmas baking for my family. B. Couldn't be bothered.

              Now--since we are on a new page. Someone mentioned replacing some of the judges with a more diverse panel. OK..I would replace Malarky and bring in Alton Brown in his place. Nigella would go and I would bring in Nathalie Dupree--she had a PBS show some years ago--and she's from the South but totally different than Paula Deen. Dupree is lovely and her cookbooks were great! I would keep Bourdain and NEVER get rid of Ludo. If Bourdain were to be replaced, I think Ted Allen would be an excellent choice.

              1. re: jarona

                You actually like Ted Allen? Wait -- next you'll say that the Guernaschelli (sp) lady from the appropriately- named Butter restaurant should also be a judge.

                1. re: rjbh20

                  rjbh--Listen--I swear--Quite some time ago, I was having an issue with a recipe from ms. Guarnachelli (sp)--so I sent her an email at Butter...she answered me in such a timely manner so she's ok in my book, but I would not want her as a judge on that show. Ted Allen--yeah, I DO like him--I know, it's odd, but I think he would be a very good judge. He seems all business and focused and I think he could be a good mentor as well--it would be an interesting move to have someone who is an "expert" but yet not a true chef.

                  1. re: jarona

                    Ted Allen reminds me of Tim Gunn on Project Runway. I agree - I think he'd be a good mentor.

                    1. re: jarona

                      I cooked with Alex G. once in a mock iron chef promo for Bombay Gin. Personality rhymes with "runt" and can't handle a knife.

                        1. re: rjbh20

                          Good to know. I have been turned off her lately where I used to think she was pretty good.

                      1. re: jarona

                        I have been posting storm updates for the past few hours and need a break, so I'll join you for a round of "Replace That Judge."

                        I'd keep Ludo. He's the enfant terrible you hate to amour.

                        I'd replace Nigella with Ted Allen. I follow him on Facebook, he's an interesting, down to earth guy. Knows his comfort food.

                        I'd replace Tony with Elizabeth Falkner. She's got a barbed wit as sharp as her cooking skills.

                        I'd replace Malarkey with John Besh. Respect and admire him. Probably have a crush of some sort on him.

                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                          Possibly the start of a whole new thread. Major issue is whether the criteria is palate or cooking/mentoring skill. Lots of folks -- maybe even Nigella -- can coherently critique a dish. A lot harder to show how to do it yourself. I'd love to cook for Jacques Pepin and get feedback on everything from knife skills to seasoning. Same with chef Gray Kunz. Wait -- I get to do that every year at about this time. What a kick.

                          1. re: rjbh20

                            I love Jacques Pepin - but not for this show. He's too good.

                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                              I suspect he would have made some good choices in the auditions. And the competitors would all have learned a lot of technique and perspective.

                              1. re: rjbh20

                                Well rjbh, you seem to be on the inside track of these things, make it so and I will watch. ;-)

                          2. re: TrishUntrapped

                            As someone who initiated an idea of replacing the judges and also had the far less popular suggestion of Paula Deen - I think that if this show wants to continue striking the balance or the mix of home cooks and professional cooks, then I'd like to see two mentors that have greater sympathy for the home cook with 2 professionals.

                            I agree that Ludo should stay, and the other three could all go and I wouldn't care. I think Ted Allen would be a good idea, but also someone like Alton Brown could bring a solid "home cook understanding".

                            However, more so than specific personalities - I think it would be interesting and relevant for the judges to really have a different point of view. Sure Bourdain has spent the past ten or so years mostly traveling - but if you want to have an "ethnic flavors" judge - get someone like Marcus Samuelson or David Chang. Someone who really has experience working professionally with those kinds of spices/flavors beyond just traveling and learning.

                            Obviously not all ranges of cuisines can be represented on the judges panel - but that's clearly what The Voice tries to do. They have judges that represent very specific categories - R&B, pop, rock, country. I think that obviously paying attention to the personality and chemistry of the judges is important. But I think it would help make it more of a dynamic food show if you have a French and Chinese judge trying to explain to a chef who presented Mexican food why either technique or style will best mesh with them. It could also serve to make the show more about food and less about personality.

                            1. re: cresyd

                              You bring up good points regarding the the "ethnic" flavors judging. It's also interesting because I would have thought that the judges....hmmmm, how can I word this? OK...they may have not tasted a spoonful of the most "amazing" type of dish--but being professionals, don't you think they would think--"Wow--the taste of THIS spoonful has potential" ..I think Bourdain actually judged a spoonful in this manner. Really--to truly mentor someone, you kind of have to mold them...I don't see the show going in that direction.
                              OTOH, what is your opinion of John Besh for a judge? I think his personality would blend well with a mentorship.

                              1. re: jarona

                                Jarona, I think you and I need to create a cooking show.

                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                  Oh Trish. I'm totally with you on THAT one! And it would be greatness!

                                2. re: jarona

                                  In general - from what I've seen of John on tv, I do think that he has more umph than what I've seen of Samuelson. He's funny, witty, etc. I also think that Southern has enough of a spin from French technique. My only complaint on that front is that this leaves our 2 professional judges with some kind of French background. (totally unrelated, I think that fried chicken cook off between Ludo and Besh would be amazing.....) And to me, in this season Malarkey and Ludo strictly from a cooking standpoint have shown absolutely no variation. I feel food in either of their restaurants would be quite different - but how it's presented on tv, I would expect near identical menus. So Besh would really need to ham up the Southern background - which I fear that this show doesn't really set the judges up for.

                                  Basically, my thoughts came from the perspective that the current format has ended up boring. Bourdain and Lawson are long time tv professionals. I can't imagine either one of them still being on tv today if either of their first attempts came off like this. So I am taking the view that a) they're phoning it in (in either case any person who'd want to be there would be a better choice) or b) the structure of the show isn't letting them succeed. If the issue is column b, then perhaps more difference between the judges cooking styles might help?

                                  1. re: cresyd

                                    Yeah. I hear you. Bourdain and Lawson, well, in my opinion anyway, come off as though they are either on high dosages of tegretol (sp) or they have had frontal lobotomies with a steak knife and a skewer. Where is Nigella's "Domestic Goddessness"? One thing I do love about Nigella is that, on her shows, she is shown as a woman who loves her midnight snacks..who dips her finger in the frosting (so like me) and enjoys it--and really enjoys every nuance of cooking. Bourdain is really killing me. His bad-boy reputation was always kind of entertaining (especially since I have a mouth that would shame a sailor), but here--he is like the schoolyard bully who as met his match and is now a meek puppy--not in a good way. I can say it is good to have a judge who does keep the integrety of his/her personality, but is focused enough on the food and mentoring...that is why I swear up and down that Ludo is the one to watch. He is so typically French in his personality but they guy absolutely knows his stuff!

                                    1. re: jarona

                                      100% agree about Ludo. He's managed to come off as both entertaining and actually giving insight about food. He's not used limp personal preferences for dismissing someone "oh, I don't like creamy pureed things" (Lawson) nor told dreadful stream of consciousness stories "I was in Lebanon during a war, and then got home and conceived my daughter so rosewater has meaning for me" (Bourdain).

                                      The only insight that I think could be had about Bourdain being no good at this is from the time he was interviewed by Marc Maron on Maron's comedy podcast. I understand that referring to Bourdain as a "comic" is a stretch - but Maron will interview personalities that aren't strictly comics. Either way, it was an interview that now reminds me of Bourdain on The Taste. Bourdain came off very low energy and almost compleely unable to engage in conversation that was aimed at being humorous. He was treating the interview like he was on NPR, so Maron was often very heavily dominating conversation to try and force a dynamic element. Sigh - either way, Bourdain is not doing himself any favors on this show.

                                      1. re: cresyd

                                        I think Tony and Nigella are fish out of water in this type of format. The actual show does not live up to its promise or potential.

                                3. re: cresyd

                                  +1 on the more about food less about personality. Right now I feel like it is about the judges and a few of the bigger personaltied contestants. The food and the other 12-14 or so contestants are like props.
                                  My favorite parts are the focus on the food.

                                4. re: TrishUntrapped

                                  Love the idea of John Besh being a judge/mentor.

                                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                    Check this week's The Splendid Table for more on Nigella and the Taste.
                                    http://www.splendidtable.org/episode/526

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      Good for Nigella. And Tony and Malarkey have on either too much makeup or are WAY too airbrush-tanned.

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        I think it's makeup because I think some of the contestants were a little 'off' too.

                                  2. re: jarona

                                    Good choices. I still don't get Malarky. I know he was on Top Chef and did ok, but it was season 3 where there was not much competition.

                                    1. re: jarona

                                      Nathalie Dupree would be GREAT! and her books are still great. She's still writing. Would NOT like Alton Brown anywhere, much less in lieu of Brian. (Why are they callink him by his last name?) Altho I wonder why he is acting so elf-like.

                                      1. re: jarona

                                        Ted Allen? Alton Brown??? Nuh uh, IMO!

                                      2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                        TU, I can understand believing you dodge THIS particular bullet now that we're all getting to see how the editing turned out on this "show" but I'm sorry to hear you are never going to audition for another. I mean same casting crew, okay...but scratch the itch..keep your options open. You just never know where stuff leads. And fwiw, pitch your own ideas--there are other ways to get things done & off the ground.

                                        I've tried watching this program and it's the banter btwn the judges that's turning me off. Who writes this stuff?

                                      3. Changing judges would not solve the problem with Taste, IMO. The major difficulty is in the format which is much too fussy and complicated: first contestants make spoonful, we see some of that with annoying contestant snarkiness; then judges taste and make push-button judgement; then contestants come out, are interviewed and then either chosen for a team or not; this happens again; and again, etc. Then, weeks later, teams compete with judges controlling or commenting over their shoulder and little teamwork evident; then final tasting which is repeat process of original tasting. Fine writer and interesting restauranteur Gabrielle Hamilton appears in confusing cameo role as mentor (maybe??) and is wasted; talk to her somebody!! The concept and execution of this format are like some dishes in cooking contest shows: too many ingredients, vague focus, look and taste is just grey mush. I could go on about those creepy torture boxes guests are shut into and having sad final comments in front of lockers reminding me of middle school gym which is decidedly not the right memory bank to tap for a food show. But this is already too long.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: alfairfax

                                          :nodding: I've only caught a couple of episodes so far, and I knew there was something about it that bothered me -- I couldn't figure out if it was the format or the hosts or both or neither or something else!

                                          One thing that does bother me: It's so rushed it isn't funny. I realize they had to do that when choosing the teams, but even after that, I have no sense of who is who or what is what or even the food itself, even if it does look pretty on a spoon.

                                          And what was Gabrielle Hamilton doing there anyway? That was the biggest waste of a mentor/judge I've ever seen :boggle:

                                          1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                                            I thought it was rushed too, and Gabrilla Hamilton, looking to me a bit like a Pilgrim chef -- very prim-- seemed to have very little role. I would have liked to have seen more of her as well.

                                            1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                                              Glad you said that about the food itself. I had already said enuf in prior posting, but wanted to add that we know nothing of concept behind dish and see little of technique in prepping. More a show about production than cooking. And production aint good.

                                            2. re: alfairfax

                                              Compared to a show like Masterchef (which I don't think is brilliant television but definitely watchable) - I agree that The Taste doesn't have enough room for variation.

                                              Masterchef has team challenges (which allow for snarkiness in a more natural way based on high pressure team work), and then a variety of individual challenges that either seek to showcase creativity, precision, or the threat of going home. Top Chef only has the Quickfire and Elimination challenges but within those there have been a variety of kinds of tests beyond "make something tasty".

                                              So I understand what you're saying in regards that the current format doesn't really generate enough variety. That being said, I also think there are ways to work around that. There can be challenges where each team member makes one spoon, but it's supposed to be part of a cohesive tasting. Or making them cook with something "unusual" - either in the gross prepackaged or "not typical" way.

                                              To fix The Taste - if the show wants to retain this very simple framework - looking at Chopped (or Iron Chef) would probably be the best way to get inspiration on how to take a simple format but still make it dynamic. Both of those shows rely on strange combinations - but they're also heavily involved in the details of the food or the drama of a cut finger/dropped blender/the 'play by play' action if you will.

                                              Right now I think this show is running too much off of the Masterchef model when it simply doesn't have the variety of challenges and naturally built animosity that MC builds. I'm sure that spending that much time with people mugging to the camera is gonna make people dislike one another - but that doesn't tranlsate to television like someone being a bad (or mean) leader in a team challenge. It really needs to either look at Chopped for how to generate interest, or alter the challenges to become more dynamic.

                                              1. re: madeliner

                                                +1! Is it just me or does it look like the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" set?

                                                1. re: punkin712

                                                  no it isn't just you-it looks like a big shiny black ice skating rink to me and that chef cage thing is just weird