Kitchen competition without Gordon Ramsay is a little hard for me to get into so I approached The Taste with a lot of skepticism and the premiere really did little to shake my cynicism, but with this Tuesday’s episode … oh my. We had some major chemical reactions amongst the competitors and even the judges got into it on several occasions. In short: it was food mixed with tensions. Maybe I can love this show after all.
For the team challenge this week the contestants were tasked to come up with a food and wine combo with Alamos Malbec from Argentina. The teams selected one spoonful from each combo to represent the entire team, and if that serving was chosen as the best the chef who prepared it got immunity.
The stress started flaring up immediately as the mentors decided which spoon would represent each team. On Brian Malarkey’s team, Khristianne Uy, was aggressively vying to represent, but Brian chose Adam Pechal’s dish to represent the team. Anthony Bouraind chose Uno’s Thai Beef salad despite Diane DiMeo going all food diva, and Nigella Lawson chose Erika Monroe Williams’ lamb, and Ludo Lefebvre picked Gregg Drusinsky’s short rib.
Drusinsky had practically pestered Ludo into choosing his dish but the choice paid off because his spoon won the contest and Drusinsky got immunity for the night. In addition to winning immunity, Drusinsky was able to join Lefebvre’s team as a kitchen mentor for the elimination round. The chefs were given a choice of German Riesling, California Chardonnay, French Côtes du Rhône and Italian Barolo to pair with their creations. Lefebvre’s team had a definite advantage with Mack and Kinch on board but they were too bull headed to listen to any of the mentors advice. It was pretty sad actually, I’d be honored to have these guys in my kitchen but Lefebvre’s team treated them like they were the experts. At least when no one was looking
And they paid the price.
Sarah Schiear and Shawn Davis, two of the chefs on team Lefebvre, wound up in the bottom along with huda Mu’min and Monroe Williams from team Lawson. Lawson and Lefebvre litigates the faults of their failures, but Malarkey quickly reminded them that they hated the dishes themselves when they tasted them.
There was some extreme heat between Lefebvre and Lawson. Lefebvre was very passionate in his defense but Lawson was continuously interrupting him. Every time Lefebvre opened his mouth, Lawson would cut him off. Malarkey threw gas on the situation by constantly goading Lefebvre, mercilessly, and it seemed like for a minute there they were going to come to blows.
With all of that fighting though, the dismissals were fairly evenly distributed with Shawn Davis from team Lefebvre going home joined by team Lawson’s Monroe Williams. Over all it was the appropriate eliminations, being fairly early in the contest I think it makes sense that the most weakly skilled and combative contestants are going to get their walking papers. You can see, though, where some of the contestants are real pros.
Overall I think the contestant got some of the heat it needed to put the show over. I give ABC credit for daring to go into this genre. With this episode, I’m a sworn watcher of The Taste.