Anthony Bourdain asks chefs to impress his ‘jaded palate’

Anthony Bourdain serves as judge on the new culinary competition "The Taste," premiering Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

No stranger to television, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain takes on judging full-time alongside Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey for “The Taste,” which pits home cooks against professional chefs in a contest where every dish is sampled blind in a single bite. To get the conversation started about this latest entry in the cooking competition genre, we sat down to lunch with Bourdain for a meal of dishes inspired by the judges’ recipes, including Bourdain’s coq au vin — which was fine but not outstanding, though Bourdain didn’t prepare it himself, so we can’t really judge him on it.

With all the shows you’re already involved with, why take on this one as well?
I think because it seemed like such an uncharacteristic and foolhardy thing. I travel with a crew of four people [for "No Reservations"] — more or less the same four people for the last 10 years. I never knew any other way of making television, so to go from that into this gigantic set that looks like the end of a Bond film — you know, inside the volcano — with a giant crew, a big network thing, to say it was a challenge would be an understatement.

How did the home cooks measure up against professional chefs?
The people that did well were aggressive with their seasoning. They were looking to make an impression and they were very forward with their flavors. We were fooled all the time with that. “Oh, this is a professional.” No, it turned out. We were four very jaded palates, and I think that the cooks who figured that out were the ones who did well. These are people who’ve eaten a lot of food. Truffle oil is not going to work with these people. People who cooked looking for an emotional response, I think, were the ones who did well. I think we were all very emotionally involved in the progress of this show.

Were the challenges designed to take into account both types of contestants?
The challenges were all designed beforehand, and there were a couple that were geared more toward home cooks. A comfort food challenge is obviously in a zone where a home cook is just as likely to be good at it as a professional. I’m not going to say which one, but there was one challenge where it was just a slaughter-fest, where everybody across the board just really had a hard time with it, and there was a lot of weeping and rending of garments. I’m talking about the judges. [Laughs]

What did you think of the team you ended up coaching?
I love my team. I would stand there that first day and think, ‘I don’t want any of them to ever go home. I don’t think I could bear it if any of them ever go home.’ Of course, even in the best-case scenario, at least three of them are going to have to. It’s horrible. I hated it. I became the biggest wuss immediately. That was the biggest surprise to me, that I ended up giving a s—. Like, a lot — like, in a really big way.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Movies

Review: 'Fading Gigolo' finds few jokes in women…

John Turturro writes, directs and stars in "Fading Gigolo," in which he plays a prostitute whose pimp is Woody Allen. And there's still very few jokes.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.