Watch The Taste Episode 1
First comes The Chew, then comes The Taste. For ABC, it’s gastronomic logic. After debuting daytime cooking show The Chew — and ticking off soap opera fans by replacing All My Children with it — ABC brings food to prime time. And we don’t blame it.
For years, Fox has plated shows starring walking volcano Gordon Ramsay to relative success. The British chef fronts Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef and Hotel Hell — all that’s missing is Gordon Ramsay’s Down-home Kitchen Hootenanny.
Since Ramsay-style tirades would likely leave ABC’s Mickey Mouse ears scandalized, the network is going more PG-13 with The Taste.
The reality show features chefs Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludovic Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey as mentors to four teams of kitchen amateurs and pros vying for culinary supremacy.
Each episode has its requisite challenges and eliminations, with the mentors judging the competitors’ dishes at the end of the hour — without a clue of who made what, or what anything is.
Their verdicts are based on the taste alone, hence the show’s name. Just think of it as The Voice, but replacing Cee Lo Green with leafy greens. And as befits any new show hoping for buzz, the proverbial pot is already being stirred.
Last week Lawson, known for her hedonistic approach to cooking (and to some admirers of her curves, for being quite a dish herself), refused to let ABC airbrush her stomach in promotional posters.
“Although it was very thrilling to think of being up on a billboard in LA and around the States, I was very strict and English and told them they weren’t allowed to airbrush my tummy out,” the 53-year-old wrote on her Kitchen Witter blog.
“Wise? Hmmm. But that tum is the truth and is come by honestly, as my granny would have said.”
Bourdain, who has publicly insulted chefs including Paula Deen and Rachael Ray, has also drummed up some timely mild scandal. Last week he ranted on Twitter after his American Airlines flight was delayed almost two hours when a passenger allegedly used his seat as a toilet.
The foul-mouthed foodie hosts Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layover on U.S. cable network Travel Channel, which air on Travel+Escape in Canada.
Whether he’ll put a little Valium in his vitriol for a mainstream broadcast show remains to be seen. But contestants should have a relatively easy go of wooing his tastebuds — this is the guy who has eaten sheep testicles and a raw seal eyeball, after all. (ABC/CTV, 8 ET/PT)