The Taste: A rose between two prawns

The Taste Tasting RoomWhy are people tuning into the new Channel 4 show The Taste? Let me count the ways. Because they enjoy cookery programmes? A few, possibly. Because they’re fans of Anthony Bourdain’s 2000 sex, drugs and buttered roll book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly ? Some. I loved it – and I got the vibe that a few contestants on The Taste were hoping they could look forward to a bit of a hardass Tony tongue-lashing in future episodes, definitely.

Nobody I know has ever heard of French ‘Allo ‘Allo stylee head chef Ludo Lefebvre that’s for sure. He’s apparently big in LA, but an unknown quantity here, other than appearing to be a bit of an egotistical, culinary willy waving twat (which Google Translate tells me, perhaps unreliably, is “zizi-agitant con culinaire”).

So what was the big draw? Nigella, of course. Along with most of the country, I couldn’t give a toss about the alleged cocaine snorting, I’m just sad she chose such a massive zizi-agitant con for a second husband and wish the ghost of John Diamond would come and “calm him down” with a couple of firm hands around the throat.

Anyhoo, Nigella was on top form. She’s a beautiful woman I don’t envy, because she’s mentally placed in my ‘statuesque goddess’ file, along with Sophie Loren, Beyonce and Angelina Jolie. She didn’t disappoint. Utterly, preposterously gorgeous. Also, kind, funny, smart, supportive. Made the two blokes look even more like a pair of zizi-agitant cons culinaires

The premise of the opening show was that a bunch of mixed ‘home’ and professional cooks would each prepare a dish, a taste of which was then presented to the judges. Rather than on a plate, the food was to be served on a large ceramic spoon, anonymously. The judges then decided if they wanted that chef in their ‘competitive kitchen’ (which would ultimately contain four cooks). The quivering contestant then faced the panel, heard comments about their food and were shown a red/no or green/yes ‘card’. If more than one judge wanted them, the contestant would choose who they wanted as a mentor.


James, one of the lucky twelve

A desperate-t0-impress eighteen year old chap broke down in tears when nobody wanted him, at which point Bourdain and Ludo sneered and said he should “man-up”, because kitchens are for tough guys. Yaaaaaaawn. Meanwhile, Nigella gave the poor boy a cuddle.What was most tedious about the boys was the assumption that the only ‘proper’ chefs  are professional ones, the rest are mere amateurs, or housewives. Nigella was excellent at standing up for the home cooks. Of course, I write this as I’m eating fish and chips, but what can I say? I may have aspirations but basically I’m a lazy arse and prefer to watch hard work in the kitchen than undertake any.

What irked me greatly (and it irks me in Four in a Bed too) is that the set-up isn’t ‘fair’. The judges didn’t taste all the food before deciding who they wanted, they chose who they wanted as they went along, so the ones at the end didn’t have the same opportunities to impress as those at the beginning. No, I know LIFE isn’t fair either, but even so. If you have a game show, you need to make it at least look like a level playing field – even if the producers do cheat and ramp up the tension to create more drama behind the scenes.

Anyway, Nigella, Anthony and Ludo now have a full set of four cooks each, who in future shows they’ll mentor, I suppose in X Factor style, god save us all. I hope Nigella and all who sail with her beat the pants off the willy wavers.

Posted by The Divine Bebe

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