|Image via ABC|
The first episode is a marathon of cheftestants (formerly called "kitchenistas") ranging from home cooks to professionals - the premise of the show is that good food is good food, regardless of a cook's level of training and expertise. The Taste certainly has some cringe-worthy moments, mostly related to the level of hokeyness in the overall production. Some of the contestants' cultural stereotypes are played up to a degree we've never seen on reality TV - there's the older Jewish woman from Jersey who makes fusion-y Kugel and remarks on how she's "verklempt," the sassy Brazilian homemaker who's both sexy and a whiz in the kitchen...You get the idea. But the casting of the judges is spot on - Bourdain is still pithy and allowed to swear (with bleeps), Ludo and Nigella are their usual selves and play up British/French rivalry, while Malarkey is well...Malarkey. The show also seems to be big on the one-liners. Here are some of our faves from last night:
"Tony is the Mick Jagger of food." - Nigella Lawson about Bourdain
"I quit my job to come here." - literally every contestant
"I make food for awesomeness, not just for tasting good." - Contestant Adam Kaz after serving a horrifying "mac and cheese stir fry."
"It was a roller coaster to nowhere for me." - Malarkey's one-line summary of Kaz's dish
"I'm the Kanye West of cooking." - Charlie Sheen's personal chef/contestant
"Jewish food is like The Pointer Sisters - you need a slow hand and a woman's touch." - The old Jewish lady who made the kugel.
Stay tuned for more coverage of The Taste in weeks to come.