A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Taste is a reality cooking competition with a good amount of cursing, both bleeped and unbleeped, mainly from Anthony Bourdain, who uses the F-word constantly. Judges argue with each other and sharply criticize cooks; alcohol frequently appears as an ingredient in food and viewers may see both contestants and judges drinking. Dishes are brought to judges by young women dressed in skintight, short dresses; female contestants are frequently heavily made up and in dresses that seem more suited to a nightclub than a kitchen.
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What's the story?
On ABC's hour-long reality competition THE TASTE, four culinary judges, Anthony Bourdain, Brian Malarkey, Nigella Lawson, and Ludo Lefebvre, gather teams of four contestants, some of whom are professional chefs, others who are home cooks. Each judge mentors and works with their team, helping each team to create one dish that is distilled into a single spoonful tasted by the judges. There are also individual competitions that whittle down the contestants one by one until the last one standing wins the competition.
Is it any good?
With so many cooking shows and reality competitions on the air, The Taste has a hard job distinguishing itself from its brethren. What The Taste has going for it: The four judges are charming and funny food professionals, and it's interesting to watch them deconstruct dishes and talk about why they work or don't. In addition, everyone roots for the underdog, and watching talented home cooks make better food than even seasoned professionals is a kick.
On the other hand, The Taste judges sometimes mock contestants and their skills unkindly, which can be really hard to watch, particularly if the contestant has just finished a voiceover explaining why winning this competition is so important to them. Having non-professionals on the show is thus both a cool variation and a little bit painful. Parents who love cooking shows may want to check this one out, with or without the kids. Unless said kids are really into cooking, they probably won't be watching along with parents; there's not enough here to interest them unless food and flavors do the job alone.
Talk to your kids about ...
Why do you think the makers of The Taste mandated that contestants can be non-professionals? What does this add to the show? Is it interesting to watch professionals taking on talented amateurs? Are viewers supposed to root for the amateurs or the professionals? What makes you draw this conclusion?
Watch a few other televised cooking competitions, such as Top Chef or Chopped. How is The Taste like or unlike these shows? It it more or less dramatic? More or less funny?
Why are cooking shows so popular on television, given that viewers are barred from tasting the food that is cooked? What is interesting about cooking, or about chefs that make this such a popular reality genre?
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