The Taste

Common Sense Media says

Mashup of cooking competitions with lots of bleeped cursing.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Part of the point of the show is that home cooks go up against professionals, which sends a strong message that talent and effort can trump even years of experience.

Positive role models

Both competitors and judges on The Taste are focused on making great food above all else, which can lead them to act a little snippy with each other. However, giving other people pleasure is paramount, and contestants genuinely care about making food others will enjoy. Judges are sometimes dramatically critical and hurt contestants' feelings.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

The focus is on food, not romance, but young, attractive ladies are tapped to bring out dishes to the judges, dressed in skintight, short dresses.

Language

Lots of bleeped cursing, mainly from Anthony Bourdain: "Let's get it going, motherf---ers." There's some non-bleeped cursing too: "Bitches can't handle their liquor."

Consumerism

All of the judges have books and most have restaurants. Products are worked into the show, such as a Hellman Blue Ribbon recipe challenge, with jars of Hellman prominently displayed. The show has deals with Ford, Whole Foods, Williams-Sonoma, Southwest Airlines, and others.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Alcohol may appear as an ingredient, and we see judges drinking beer and referring to drug use: "Even if you were stoned at 3 a.m....this would still be subpar," Bourdain says about a dish.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

This review of The Taste was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
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  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent Written bysmq1 January 20, 2014
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

An addictive taste!

The competitive element which comes from the Voice and the Apprentice format makes it quite watchable and addictive. I enjoy the fact that not all of the contestants are professional chefs- like the bake off this has you gunning for the underdog. I also like the fact that it is taste not looks that count. Of course it is important to set up some friction between characters and the fact that the judges cannot see the contestants does add to the drama, where you are judging people on something other than physical first impressions. Perfectly watchable and quite addictive in the same way that once you start watching the Apprentice or the Bake off it is hard to stop. Nigella does come across as being a bit haughty but that just adds to the drama.I suspect that her unfortunate private life has spilled over into these reviews. My teenage daughter enjoys rooting for the contestants.It shows her that you can win in life due to your merit and hard work which to me is a good role modelling!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old February 9, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

The Taste: Appetizing but average

THE TASTE has a very unique premise for a reality competition show, judging contestants' food just by one blind spoonful, and this is key to distinguish it from the modern cooking competition zeitgeist. However, despite the show being appetizing to watch, it is peppered by lots of elements that you've likely seen before on a cooking competition. Lots of swearing and iffy wording (especially from judge Anthony Bourdain), a boringly linear plot, and so on. THE TASTE is definitely one to savor in terms of food & flavor, but not even its tons of endorsements or its attractive women can bring out more to the show than what it offers.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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