Things started really heating up on The Taste, the new ABC cooking competition that has professional chefs and home cooks competing against each other in teams.
The first two episodes dragged in much the same way American Idol's audition pieces do. But, at least that show has singing -- good, great, and god-awful. During The Taste's trials, we only got choppily-edited sequences of celebrity mentors Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre, and Brian Malarkey eating while the poor chefs await their fate in little chutes. Out of that prolonged (and sometimes painful) process, 16 chefs were chosen by the mentors to be on their teams, one of them being Clean Plate Charile alum turned New York City blogger Sara Schiear.
The show has two rounds of competition, much like Top Chef. The first
round has all the contestants cooking a dish that has to include bacon, eggs, and cheese. While the mentors rally around their teams the camera finds and follows the most beautiful/funny/aggressive of the chefs. Among the standouts are Lauren, a 23 year-old home chef that lives in a trailer; Diane, a gorgeous, bitchy chef on Bourdain's team, and Sarah, blogger and fire starter (we'll get to that in a minute). Favorite moment of the episode, by far? When Sarah tries to high five mentor Ludo and gets a big diss in return.
In the first round, though each chef makes a dish, only one "spoon" of
food per team is presented to guest judge, Gabrielle Hamilton from Prune
restaurant. Hamilton says there's
something "plastic and chemical tasting" in Sara/Ludo's dish and doesn't
know what NinaMarie/Bourdain's dish is. In the end, Lauren/Nigella win
for a homey dish with mushrooms, braised bacon, and a fried egg.
chefs will go home after the elimination round. We get a lot more choppy
editing, some catfights in the kitchen between Bourdain's all-girl team,
and blogger Sarah starting multiple fires in the kitchen as her cheffy
teammates both help and roll their eyes at her.
tasting, in which the contestants uncomfortably watch the backs of the
mentors as their food is judged, seven chefs are put back into those
chutes -- the best and the worst of the evening. Micah and Renatta are
sent packing, while Lauren (who would have been sent home if not for her
immunity from the first round) bursts into tears.
Next week? Fighting amongst the judges and winos in the kitchen.
spoke with Schiear about her experiences so far on The Taste. She, of
course, couldn't give away whether or not she wins it all, but she did
tell Clean Plate Charlie that although she wasn't a professional chef,
she's very excited to learn from Ludo. "At this point I'm just
excited." Schiear said she loves her teammates. "They're all very nice,
very generous. They seem like they want to help me learn."
is taking advantage of every moment she's on the show. The home cook
and blogger is watching her mentor closely for tips and techniques she
can take away with her. "I hope that Ludo provides my culinary school
for me on The Taste."
We asked Schiear to tell us what she would
do if she wins the entire competition. "If I were to win, that would
just prove anybody can achieve what they want in life, Being a home
cook, that would show America that if they had similar goals and
aspiration they could do it. There's nothing to hold you back." We'll
keep watching Schiear's progress.
Here's Sarah playing with fire (someone get this girl a portable extinguisher, please):
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