Most know Anthony Bourdain as the wise-cracking and globetrotting host of The Travel Channel’s No Reservations. While he is known for his witty commentary, it doesn’t always please his friends.
Last year, just after the launch of The Chew, Bourdain criticized his longtime friends Michael Symon and Mario Batali along with the show itself saying, “honestly, I don't know what to believe anymore… I can't tell you how much I like and respect those guys… They had to know what they were getting into... The whole world has tilted in a way I don't understand.”
Now just over a year later he joined The Chew crew to whip up a few dishes with pal Mario and chat about his new show The Taste, which will air on ABC primetime starting on January 22nd.
From the outset, Bourdain joked that being on the show was “a deeply terrifying experience” saying, “[I] don’t know if I have enough pep for this.”
All joking aside, Bourdain said to Michal and Mario, “I look to you guys, I look up to you and I’m emulating your every move. [I figured] if these guys can go over to the dark side, I can too.”
The Taste is a competition show based entirely on the flavor of the dish. Bourdain, along with Nigella Lawson, Brian Malarkey and Ludo Lefebvre, each mentor a team of aspiring chefs and home cooks as they compete to create the most delectable dish. The catch is the mentors must blindly judge all the contestants with just one bite of their creation.
The single bite is key to the show because it eliminates any “chance to make all those initial decisions about presentation and layout,” including technique, knife work and the back story of the dish. Instead Bourdain was focused on the flavor, texture and the overall taste of the food.
Ironically, this made many of the dishes prepared by the amateurs just as good as or better than those of the professions. “Professionals tend to overcomplicate things” and this single bite method of judging doesn’t lend well for that style of cooking, said Bourdain.
The show is a huge departure for Bourdain, and he learned a lot not just about good food but about his own preconceived notions of gender and food while creating it. “I was really surprised when the hatch doors opened and any preconceptions I might have had were blown away. Everything associated with gender and flavors, it’s interesting to see
who surprises you.”
All in all, Bourain had “a lot of fun doing it… we forgot we were on television and really cared how these people did.”
Check out The Taste
Tuesdays on ABC at 8/7 central.