Sunday, February 17, 2013

Review: "The Taste" on ABC

I'm a huge fan of TV chef Anthony Bourdain and sad when the run for his last show ended recently. I love the way he brings his matter-of-fact opinion with an edge all his own to all of his endeavours and I looked forward to what his next project would be. I was excited to find out he would be taking part in ABC's new cooking competition show "The Taste" as one of 4 culinary star judges and mentors.

The Taste pairs 16 culinary competitors who range from professional chefs to home cooks who were chosen by the panel of judges from a large field of contestants. I always love seeing the preliminary round or rounds of any competition first and I found the premiere episode presented a very good picture into the prospective contestants and those who ended up in the top 16 mixed in with feedback from the judges on each prospect's competition dish, plated in a hearty spoonful size portion for each judge to taste.

The format is 4 judges who then serve as a mentor to 4 contestants serving on their team. The judges chose contestants they hoped to be on their team and invited them at the judging table with the other 3 judges. In some cases, a contestant was requested by two judges and had to decide between the two. When the 16 contestants were divided up into teams, not all 16 ended up on the team of a judge who had hoped for that particular contestant to be on their team. It will be an interesting component to watch how those situations play out in the competition kitchen this season. I have to say that my personal favorite among the contestants is a home cook who won her slot in the top 16 with a chocolate cake.    

The premilinary competition was in the same format as the top 16 competitions, done in a blind taste testing format. I love the dimension the blind taste testing brings to the competition. It also creates the possibility that a mentor judge will end up voting off their own team member from the competition. The spoonful portion only of each dish for tasting is a fascinating component.

The first contestant competition episode aired last week and I love the intensity of this one hour cooking competition format each week as contestants are shown during the preparation process for their designated competition dishes. I recommend this show for fun cooking competition show viewing. The Taste: Tuesday at 8|7c on ABC. You can watch the most recent episode here.

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