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Worst thing about cooking shows? The tasting at the end! Is anyone with me?

  • s

I would be perfectly happy if all cooking shows eliminated the tasting at the end of the show. It doesn't add anything of value, IMO, and grosses me out or irritates me more than anything. Of course they are going to say it tastes good! Spare us having to watch the host's "foodgasm" face & listen to them rehash all the ingredients ("oooh, I can really taste that bacon, and the whipped cream is so creamy"). Not to mention the talking with their mouth full. Ugh. Just dish it up & show me the finished product. Are there any shows that do skip the dreaded tasting?

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  1. I agree it's stupid, phony and unnecessary but we are in the minority. Most people like it and want you to prove it's not fake stunt food. I was at Food Network for years and we did program audience research and everyone wants to see you taste the food to prove it's real and yummy.

    When I began producing my own videos I didn't do the tasting and people would write me and ask why I wasn't eating the food and accuse me of using fake stunt food that just looked good.

    So now I eat on camera.

    Your foodgasm analogy is correct. Without it, it's all just foreplay.

    But I do think if anyone is seriously grossed out by watching someone eat, they may need to get out more.

    3 Replies
    1. re: acgold7

      Giada's squealing and chomping on crunchy things makes me uncomfortable. It's like I'm eavesdropping on an intimate moment or listening to a child chomping on crackers or something. I can deal with the rest of them.

      1. re: Njchicaa

        Oh, yeah, ol' jack-o-lantern face baring her teeth on camera is...odd, to say the least.

      2. re: acgold7

        Off the top of my head I think the one who gets this right is Alton Brown. As far as I can remember he gets all his talking mostly out of the way before he digs in--or has someone else do the digging for him. He's not talking with his mouth full, and we aren't patiently waiting for him to chew. We still get the satisfaction of someone eating the food but it's better television overall.

        Come to think of it, watching Chopped right now (where eating on camera is a big part of the story) there's always a voiceover when people are shown eating--rarely much dead air. Iron Chef is similar. If eating must be shown, any sort of distraction would be welcome I'm sure.

      3. Julia Child did it way back when during the advent of cooking programs. It completes the cycle to taste the food. Why cook it in the first place? The finished dish tastes different than the components and describing that will help the viewer understand the cooked dish better. Now, the way in which certain hosts do this may be an issue, but the actual act of doing it doesn't bother me in the least.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ttoommyy

          It would be fine if it was honest, but as shown on the Next Food Network Star, the producers expect emphatic moaning and vague descriptors that are perfectly timed to the closing sequence. But, most of everything on Food Network is contrived.

          1. re: catroast

            WELL then. Stop watching it if you don't like it.

            This tendency to bash tv food shows for no apparent reason other than snobbishness is getting really old.

            As has been pointed out: Julia Child did it. If she did it, then for gosh sakes there's nothing wrong with it.

            Honestly. Some people.

            1. re: jmckee

              I love Julia Child but just because she did something, that doesn't mean every yahoo with a cooking show needs to do it. And certainly, some hosts are more OTT and annoying than others in the way they do it. I was just raising the question of whether it is really necessary, and why.

              1. re: jmckee

                i don't. there's no need to be hostile. criticizing media, just like praising it, is a perfectly normal human activity.

              2. re: catroast

                I don't watch much on FN anymore; mostly just PBS cooking shows, where the tasting is still a bit over the top at times but at least it adds something to the show like I said up above.

              3. re: ttoommyy

                One of my favorite memories as a child was watching the French Chef.
                On one episode, Julia made some sort of really fancy hamburger with all sorts of things added to the ground beef. At the end of the show, you could almost picture the producer circleing his finger to tell her to hurry up....
                She took the patty so carefully constructed, slapped it in a pan, flipped it over and slapped it in a bun. Opening her mouth wide, she says "Bon appetit" and shoved the raw thing in her mouth.
                The screen went black at that moment. I figure she spit it out.
                All that said, I loved the show.

              4. One thing that I liked about Anne Burrell's show was that she tasted the food during cooking, sometimes more than once, at various stages. Her stock statement was something along the lines of "I want to make sure this is going to taste good and not just hope it turns out OK".

                Of course she also did the obligatory tasting at the end as well.

                5 Replies
                1. re: pamf

                  I liked everything about Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. I wish she'd do another cooking show -- it's so much fun to watch her work. She's got an amazing personality, but the reality shows are tedious.

                  1. re: JonParker

                    She had a restaurant in nyc for a few years. It was quite good. I guess TV pays more! :)

                    1. re: JonParker

                      Most shows seem to be cooking competition shows now, aside from Guy's DDD. While it may generate the entertaining spectacle for some, cramming a handful of asshole chefs into a sinking van and giving them a hotplate and a bag of leftovers isn't really about cooking at all.

                      I started watching Justin Wilson (which was a spectacle in and of itself). Loved that old timer. Used to kick back and watch Emeril and Mario Batali's shows a lot as well.

                      I don't mind the extreme nature of shows like Chopped or Iron Chef, but it's more about competition than cooking to me. I miss your basic setup of bad-ass chef/cook, camera, and kitchen.

                      1. re: Agiyosi

                        You could easily make your own cooking show - and post it on Youtube. Thousands of people have done that already.



                        ready set cook


                        1. re: paulj

                          One of the first cooking channels I remember finding is Chef Todd Mohr


                          and he's done exactly that for years now. It's a shame he has so few subscribers, because his info seems pretty solid and he has an incredible number of videos available. Then again I find him to be kind of loud and haven't watched many episodes myself.

                          This is in a way what's "wrong" with food television right now: anyone can make a cooking show and many have. Jamie Oliver and Mario Batali have their channels, among others. There's no shortage of cooking instruction on the Internet, and so FN and CC are having to find other ways to compete.

                          Which means big name chefs on cooking competitions, or packing Eden and Alie and Chuck across the country to eat the food we don't bother to. Shows that cost a little bit of money to produce, and a crew.

                  2. Yep - close your eyes and you could be watching a porn movie.

                    I hate the clich├ęd stock phases they come out with too.

                    1. Why do they have to talk after the taste? I don't mind the taste, I can watch people eat. Plus if something is eaten a certain way it might be important to know. End with a taste and music over the credits.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: melpy

                        "Why do they have to talk after the taste?"

                        As I stated above, the finished dish has a different taste than the components and with an educated instructor, they will impart that to the viewing audience after they taste it. Watch Jacques Pepin or Sarah Moulton, for 2 examples, to see what I mean.

                      2. I actually don't mind them tasting their food.

                        In fact, I LOVE the way Nadia G enjoys her efforts on Bitchin Kitchen and I hate the tiny little nibbles that Bal Arneson takes on Spice Goddess.

                        Hey, you cooked it, ENJOY IT!

                        1. I don't know who are sillier: those of us who hate-watch shows and complain about the things on them that annoy us or those of us who come to threads where we can, by their very title, quite reasonably expect a near 100% likelihood of running across the former so we can tell them how ridiculous they are. :)

                          1. It's hardly the worst thing. The worst thing I remember is the applause from the audience when Martin Yan whacks up a vegetable. There must be worse things than that by now, but I gave up my television years ago so wouldn't know about them.

                            1. The food tasting has never bothered me. I think it would be ridiculous to demonstrate cooking a finished dish without tasting the dish after it is complete.

                              There are some car restoration shows on TV now. It would be just as ridiculous if they didn't drive the restored car at the end of the episode.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: John E.

                                "tasting" the take-out in the car would be a good new "concept"

                                1. re: Gastronomos

                                  Chow Supertaster does a lot of his tasting in the car.

                                2. re: John E.

                                  I disagree; I would not find it ridiculous at all. I would assume that someone would eat whatever had been cooked, and that they would enjoy it; but I don't need to see it, like I don't need to see the shopping, prep work, or washing of dishes. It's a cooking show; all I need to see is the cooking.

                                3. I don't expect them to spit out their food and say it is awful, so the tasting at the end isn't a taste test, but it is completion. I would find it a bit odd if food was prepared and never touched. It is kind of like a golf swing... the follow through.

                                  1. I agree, most of the tasters really go over the top, may have more positive feedback if they were more normal or even have someone else taste it. I like Alton Brown but can't stand it when he eats and talks with his mouth full.

                                    1. It's not big deal to me about the tasting. We have great PBS cook shows in the bay area. I always like finding a new technique or recipe. On the other hand did you learn anything?

                                      1. Worst thing about cooking shows is the lack of detailed instruction. For example, beating an egg and sugar mixture. Many times the TV "chef" will instruct to beat well...but they don't go into detail to say beat for three to four minutes....

                                        1. The thing that I find gross is that on MasterChef (Australia, at least) the judges have come out and said that all the dishes they taste are cold by the time filming comes around. :(

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: cronker

                                            I wouldn't call that gross, but I have wondered about on many shows, including Iron Chef.

                                            1. re: sandylc

                                              I read somewhere online that the dishes we see the iron chefs make in an hour are not the dishes eaten by the judges. After the hour is up, the sous chefs later, off camera, make the dishes served to the judges.

                                              1. re: John E.

                                                During the televised hour everyone, including the sous are working on the dishes. But you'll notice that they plate only one set. This is used for the beauty shots and serves as the model for servings that are prepared off camera.

                                                The way I read it, each side gets an hour to plate the food that is served to the judges. That way each side gets the same opportunity to serve food at the optimal temperature.

                                                In the Japanese show they did not have this extra plating hour. However in one or two cases, one side quit cooking with 10 minutes to go. The other side then finished and was judged. Then the 1st side finished up and served. This was done for udon, which according to Japanese standards have a narrow optimal serving window.

                                          2. I hate it as well, especially when they get all flowery with their descriptions.

                                            1. Sorry, I enjoy the tasting at the show's end, especially when I find the cook to be very personable and sincere. Example:

                                              Pati Jinich, from Pati's Mexican Table on Create TV. Seems like a very fun person with whom to break bread, and her tasting of each dish after its' completion endears me to her TV persona. She takes a big forkful of her creation, chews with her mouth closed, then takes a couple of more bites. She's an attractive person, but her attitude is even more so.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: silence9

                                                I haven't seen this show but it sounds great. It is really the WAY that most people do it that bugs me. I'm trying to remember if and how Laura Calder did it in 'French Food at Home'. I'm sure she would do it in an inoffensive way. Except the camera would probably be focused on her chest anyway.

                                              2. Guess I don't mind the tasting at the end...just HOW they do it. Chris and crew (ATK) are dainty, Lidia shovels it in and talks with her mouth full. Guy Fieri is another shoveler, and Paula is just a pig in the kitchen. No class whatsoever. IMHO, of course.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: njmarshall55

                                                  Paula is disgusting. But Giada drives me nuts, talking with a mouth full of food and not in a dainty way either. Open trap with food in it. Where is Miss Manners when you need her?!

                                                2. The worst thing for me is probably the easiest to ignore... since the focus of the show should be the food, I'll wander over to the mute button and proceed thus.

                                                  http://buildingmybento.wordpress.com/ http://collaterallettuce.com/

                                                    1. re: Gastronomos

                                                      Yeah, that one is really bad. Not just the tasting, the whole show!

                                                      1. re: Jpan99

                                                        I've watched it purely for the way she treats John verbally and with her body language and facial expressions. I am amazed at it and sometimes amused. I don't know if I ever bothered to actually pay attention to what they might be cooking or demonstrating or what ever else that show might be about.

                                                    2. first thing I thought of when I read your header was:
                                                      Graham Eliot and how he takes a bite of a contestants' offering and always (looks up) & to the left....