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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Final Table is a global cooking competition series that will appeal to foodies of all ages. Contestants are briefly shown mouthing curses, but they're not audible. Lots of ingredient brands are visible (Karo, Red Mill, Argo…just to name a few). Alcohol is used for cooking. Restaurants owned or managed by contestants and judges are often featured.
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What's the story?
THE FINAL TABLE is an international culinary competition that pits 24 outstanding chefs from around the world against each other for a chance to sit at a table among culinary legends. Each episode, hosted by Andrew Knowlton, features food and judges from a specific country with a strong and unique culinary culture. The contestants, who are Michelin star recipients, national food contest winners, and culinary proteges work in teams of two to cook a national dish from the segment’s profiled country. Their food, which must be conceptualized, prepared, and plated in an hour, is judged by two celebrities and a food critic from the same location. The three teams preparing the least liked dishes must then prepare a meal for one of that country’s top chefs, who just happens to have a seat at the final table. The team that fails to satisfy his/her palate the least is eliminated. In the final round, the members of the last duo standing must cook against each other to win the chance to sit with the master chefs. Throughout, the cooking histories of each of the contestants, and each chef judge, are profiled.
Is it any good?
This interesting series offers viewers a chance to watch extremely talented chefs from around the world reinterpreting local dishes from different countries. While each chef attempts to honor and maintain the integrity of the tradition each national dish represents, they bring to it their own brand of creativity and flavor profile to produce unique and tasty plates. Meanwhile, the master chefs from the "final table" also share the philosophy and craft that defines their work.
There’s a lot for foodies of all ages to enjoy, but the show’s formula can be a little uneven. While the cooking, tasting, and judging of dishes by chefs, critics, and celebrities feels both familiar and (at times) unoriginal, the overall process behind the pairing of contestants, which takes place before the competition begins, isn’t always clear. As a result, some of the team dynamics are hard to interpret. Nonetheless, The Final Table serves up enough mouthwatering fare to make it worth the watch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes someone a "master chef." Do all chefs have to be formally trained in culinary school?
The Final Table features dishes from specific countries. Are there other countries with strong food cultures that you'd like to see included? What kinds of dishes would the chefs be asked to prepare?
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