In many ways ABC’s cooking reality show “The Taste” tried to draft off the success of NBC’s hit “The Voice”. Both shows feature judges making blind decisions on the talent before them. Both shows draft competitors into teams with the judges as mentors. Both use dramatic reveals to increase the drama. While the twisting chairs on “The Voice” became a phenomenom, the one spoon judging on “The Taste” never really took off. Maybe it’s because we’ve all experienced judging a song without seeing the singer, but not many of us have opportunities to sample one bit meals.
ABC revamped the show by adding Chef and reality veteran Marcus Samuelsson to the judges table. Samuelsson always provided sharp commentary when he appeared on “Chopped”, and he’s a solid addition. Chefs Ludo Lefebvre, Nigella Lawson, and Anthony Bourdain are also back for another go at finding an undiscovered culinary talent. Bourdain is the “Simon Cowell” of the show, and Samuelsson will play well as the straight man.
Here’s ABC’s press release about tonight’s season two premiere.
The Taste features no-holds barred chef Anthony Bourdain, British food star Nigella Lawson, expert chef/author Ludo Lefebvre and author, chef/restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson. These four culinary superstars and “Taste” mentors will coach a team of four competing pro and amateur cooks chosen from a nationwide casting call, as they vie to create the best tasting dish in a state of the art kitchen. Each week the groups will face team and individual challenges with a variety of culinary themes through several elimination rounds. At the end of each episode, the mentors will have to judge the competitors’ dishes blind, with no knowledge of whose creation they’re sampling, what they’re eating, how it was prepared or whom they could be sending home.
With “Top Chef” continuing to be the perfect cure for insomnia maybe now is the time for “The Taste” to take the mantle of best cooking show on TV. For that to happen it will need to ride Bourdain’s edge, and give us less of the sappy “American Idol” back story pieces.
Date: Thursday, January 2nd
Episode Title: “The Taste Season 2 Premiere”
Start Time: 8:00 ET
Online Stream: ABC.com