‘Blind casting’ format catches on


CULINARY icons Anthony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson of “The Taste”

The new cooking challenge, “The Taste,” is particularly interesting and instructive: Not only does it top-bill big culinary icons like Anthony Bourdain and the lovely Nigella Lawson but it also takes its cue from another TV show, “The Voice,” but smartly adjusts its musical format to fit a new cooking challenge context.

Like “The Voice,” “The Taste” has Anthony and company judging aspiring chefs’ dishes “blind,” and deciding whether or not to include the chefs in their culinary teams purely on the basis of the taste of their gustatory creations!

The way the new show tweaks “The Voice’s” original format is so savvy and stylish that we can’t accuse it of copying or cribbing.

A neat feat, that!

Tougher to break

Comparing “The Taste” to “The Voice,” we note with some amazement that the new program is even tougher to break into than the musical challenge! Not only do the prospective chefs have to convince the culinary icons to “hire” them with a mere tablespoon of their savory creations, but the mentors are so picky that only very few aspirants are able to pass muster and join their teams!

Some of the contestants are veteran chefs who’ve cooked for a lot of celebrities and famous restaurants, but they’re snittily rejected by Anthony and Nigella, who are left coldly unmoved by their pained protests.

Interestingly, some “home cooks” do better on the show than the professionals, and this is one of the few bright points on the show that hearten viewers and make them want to be more creative in their own home kitchens, as well.

The last time we caught “The Taste,” the four hard-to-please mentors still hadn’t found enough truly gifted chefs to join their respective teams, so we’ll have to watch the show again to see if they’ve completed the selection process and are ready to put their “discoveries” through their paces in the tilt’s competition proper.

To be sure, some of the mentors have confessed that they want to kick themselves in their fastidious behinds for passing up on some real finds. At one time, Nigella even asked for a “wild card” round to enable her to include a particularly innovative Indian chef on her team—but, the other mentors swiftly shot her suggestion down.

Too picky

Well, mentors, if you’re going to be that picky about it, just make sure that your show’s actual competition rounds will turn out to be as high-level and exciting as your self-satisfied standards during the program’s arduous and even heartbreaking selection process!

Nothing less than excellent cuisine is expected from you and your teams, and if you falter and fail, be prepared to open up and eat your share of humble pie!

Final note: “The Voice” is turning out to be the most “inspiring” program format this season. Aside from “The Taste,” another show that has partially emulated its “blind casting” format is “The Choice,” which enables ambitious aspirants to compete for dates with a panel of celebrities! They do their best to “sell” their best attributes—and, when they succeed, the first encounter could become a life-changer!

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