The UK version of The Taste, which Americans got to see way back in 2012, is the talk of the internet today. And after last night’s premiere, there’s one part of the programme that everyone is in love with – Nigella Lawson. The reviewers have varying opinions on Nigella’s fellow judges Anthony Bourdain and Ludo Lefebvre, but Nigella herself seems to be attracting universal love.
For some, it's the dynamic between all three judges that makes The Taste watchable.
“Nigella Lawson seemed easily the sanest, nicest of the panel,” The Telegraph’s Christopher Howse writes. He continues: “But I’d far rather see Nigella cook on television than sit on a gameshow like this, beauty wedged between two ravening, foul-mouthed beasts.”
The rest of the review isn’t overwhelmingly positive either, describing the format of the competition as “silly”, although apparently it’s the kind of silly that viewers easily get hooked on.
The Metro’s Simon Swift is also charmed with Nigella, but less so with the food, which, in a cooking competition, is equally as important as the personalities. Bourdain and Lefebvre are barely register with their coarse language, but “the problem with episode one of The Taste is precisely what’s supposed to make it unique. The spoons of food.”
Swift objects against the uniform presentation of all the supposedly exciting dishes, comparing this show to that old favorite, The Great British Bake Off, where each confection is intended to be a show stopper. The Taste is aptly compared to The Voice in terms of its format and made to sound just as unexciting. Digital Spy’s Alex Fletcher, on the other hand, is much more impressed with Bourdain and Lefebvre’s contributions than anything else on the show.
“We may not care particularly about the contestants, the central concept of a 'dish on a spoon' may reduce the amount of mouth-watering food porn and the show's pace may be slower than a dentist's waiting room,” Fletcher writes. “But Anthony Bourdain and Ludo Lefebvre add some laughs (some intentional, plenty which aren't), machismo and in the case of Ludo, lots of indecipherable French ranting.”
Bourdain also gets moderate thumbs up.
Who doesn’t love a bit of indecipherable French ranting, right? The Taste might be super serious in its attitude towards food – more “The Voice” than “Bake Off,” but it’s the judges, not the contestants or even the food, who make it worth watching.