We’re recapping the first season of ABC’s new competitive cooking show The Taste. Watch full episodes for free here.
Hey everyone! I’m Reese and I’ll be serving as your Recap Hostess this week. (Awww, just remembered that Hostess is no more.)
I’m not your average “reality/competition show” fan. I’ve spent hours upon hours watching Project Runway (before Lifetime ruined it), Chopped, Top Chef (season 1), and Iron Chef America. That’s literally where it stops for me. I am probably the only person to have never seen a single episode of American Idol. Oh, and I don’t know why Rebecca said that Tony is her boyfriend last week, because he’s clearly MY BOYFRIEND.
Beverage: Chai tea latte (made by yours truly)
Snack: Nothing. I just had dinner.
Here we go! Can I just say? That set looks like they re-purposed most of the set from “The Weakest Link.” I’m half expecting to see that woman Anne Robinson pop in when they are about to dismiss the latest candidate and say “You ARE the Weakest Link. Goodbye!”
We start off with more candidates – and jeebus, this is HOUR THREE of the audition process. Hey producers, it’s called editing. It’s like the Olympics with these back stories.
First up is a woman named Jennifer from New Jersey…and she’s not picked. I’d tell you my opinion because they gave plenty of background time for her, but she didn’t make it so I’ve got nothing to say.
Next up is a woman named Huda, who’s a professional chef from Washington, DC. She’s making shrimp and grits with kale chips – YUM. Her back story is lovely and so of course I instantly love her. Nigella loves her and said yes…but then what’s this? Ludo says yes too! He then makes a fatal mistake by saying that Huda is not a professional chef (not cool Ludo, LISTEN UP!). Huda smartly chooses Nigella, who paid attention to what she said when she introduced herself. Huda makes a happy-cry phone call to her mother, Ludo looks bitter, and all is right with the world.
Next up is Jeff from Los Angeles, and he’s a professional chef. Very humble and a likable enough guy. He made a red miso cured snapper with an avocado puree. All the mentors looked confused when they ate it, and it’s hard to tell if it’s a “bad confused” or a “good confused.” It’s the latter, and Malarkey is a yes. This, of course, after another round of the already-too-played-out “I said no but I’m KICKING MYSELF” from the other three mentors. That schtick was old ten minutes into Episode 1, guys.
After Jeff is a man named Robert from just outside NYC. He’s an investment banker and he doesn’t make it. He looks a bit like Bill Gates, and I’m kind of floored that they ended up not taking him because get this: he made his own seafood sausage. It all makes no sense to me. No damn sense.
Commercial interlude featuring Malarkey shilling for Best Foods Mayo, a main sponsor of the show. I had seen Andrew Zimmern ask on twitter if Malarkey had recently had “work done,” and now I see why. Dude looks especially plastic in that spot.
Next is a guy named Brian from San Francisco, who kind of hits on Nigella, and he thinks he’s a singer but he should stick to cooking. He doesn’t make it.
Then we have Erica who hosts a cooking segment on TV, and her husband is Matt Williams, whom I immediately recognize as a former player for the San Francisco Giants (Wooooo!). She seems nice, makes a lime/coriander crusted tuna…and Nigella takes her. Nigella’s team is now complete.
Last week featured what I called “Professionals on Parade,” who were all dismissed. This week is “Vegans on parade” who all claim that the mentors “won’t even notice” that their food is vegan. SHEYA RIGHT. All the mentors go through varying degrees of horrified and confused. One of vegan cooks was wearing a pink tutu, and straight up tells them all she doesn’t use fire (heat) when she cooks. OH HELLS NO. Tony had enough and literally shut the door in her face. It was all kinds of priceless. Quote of the night from Tony: “I WANNA VOMIT WITH TERROR!“.
We emerge from the Vegans on Parade bit to meet Greg – a Culinary School instructor from NYC. This guy has LOTS of energy and is running around that kitchen like he’s on Chopped and has 15 minutes to make something. He makes a lobster bisque, and drops the red herring line of the night: “I don’t take criticism well.” He gets a yes from Ludo and Malarkey…and of course he went with Ludo. Why? Greg was a saucier at Le Bernardin (HOLY CRAP). Notable exchange: Malarkey calls Ludo on his “I’m French” thing. Ludo’s team is full up.
Tony stirs the pot, and trash talk begins between Malarkey and Ludo now.
Here comes Adam – a professional chef with two restaurants in Sacramento, CA. He makes a seared scallop with corn hash and tomatillo salsa. Also seems like a nice guy. Malarkey is a yes and now his team is full up. Ludo looks kind of pissed that he couldn’t say yes because his team is already full.
Tony is now the last mentor with a spot left. We go into another round of rejections, and the producers skip the back stories for once. Finally – editing!
The last two are a woman named Uno from Dallas, TX who is a home cook, and James who is a private chef/author from San Rafael, CA. They play up the drama, but as soon as I see that Uno is making Laap Gai (she’s from Laos), I know Tony’s going to take her for his team…which he does.
We’re treated to a glimpse of next week’s offering, which includes the opening bitchy shots from Diane. I’m praying that Tony gives her a verbal ass-kicking right out of the gate, but it’s reality TV which means that he won’t. Le sigh.
Rebecca, you can go nibble on Ludo now. I’m going to get a drink with Tony.