The Taste



George Irving (narrator)


Nigella Lawson, Anthony Bourdain, Ludo Lefebvre (mentors)


CPL Productions for Channel 4, 7 January to 11 March 2014 (10 episodes in 1 series)


Twenty-five great cooks gather in a kitchen. Each is to produce a single spoonful of food. The spoons will enter the mouths of three judges: television cook Nigella Lawson, the American chef Anthony Bourdain, and the French chef Ludo Lefebvre, and each judge picks the cooks behind four spoons to have in the next round. This element reminded many of The Voice UK, bidding for talent on a sample of their work and nothing else.

Image:The taste dining table.jpgThe judges at a dining table.

After that audition episode, shows became a three-act drama. A guest cook would introduce the week's theme, and set a brief for the competitors to answer. The best spoon from each kitchen (team) went before the guest; their favourite was safe from elimination.

Then a solo task is judged by the regular trio, again based on a single spoonful of food. There was a suggestion that the elimination wasn't based solely on the taste of the spoons but on the people before them.

Three spoonfuls of food for the guest judge.

Critics called the programme "constantly frantic and ceaselessly boring", perhaps hindered by the lack of a host - George Irving's narration is sparse and factual - and the way the competition often appeared to be a cookery masterclass in front of a diminishing audience. Nigella's schoolmarmish hectoring of failing contestants - "Go back to your workstations" - was a rare show of emotion.

Viewers voted with their spoons, their chopsticks, anything to operate the remote control and change the channel. A respectable 1.9 million for the opening episode turned into 750,000 by the middle of the run.


Debbie Halls-Evans


According to the credits, "Created by Emma Conway and Chris Coelen of Kinetic Content for Greengrass Productions Inc."

The programme was based on a version shown on ABC in the US, and More 4 had the rights to show the ABC series. After three weeks, this imported version moved from Sunday evenings to Sunday lunchtimes.

Theme music

Workhouse were credited for "Music".


The programme was open to amateur and professional cooks.

Creators Kinetic Content and British producers CPL were both owned by the same parent company, Red Arrow.

While viewing figures slipped badly, Channel 4 kept The Taste in its primetime Tuesday slot. The weekend repeat moved from Saturday lunchtime to Sunday breakfast time, before being quietly dropped three weeks from the end. We may be the only people to have noticed.

Web links

Channel 4 site, including many of the recipies, and a Twitter tracker novelty.

Wikipedia entry

The show's social media: #thetaste @TheTasteUK

See also

Weaver's Week review


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