The Taste: Tuesday at 8|7c on ABC

As someone who literally grew up in restaurants, I’ve been fortunate enough to have met some amazing chefs (Alice Waters being a personal favorite), but for a change the culinary world can be introduced to lesser and complete-unknown chefs on ABC’s The Taste.

Professional, amateur, and home chef’s compete on equal footing where they’re given one spoon and their tastiest dish to win over the judges. The biggest caveat, the judges have no clue who’s making the food.

The panel of judges, consisting of  Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre, and Brian Malarkey, has a nice balance of profiles and personalities. Each of them selects their own team who’ll they’ll mentor through the competition, and once it’s broken down to group of 4 each, there’s a taste test where judges could in fact vote against one of their own chefs. It’s that little bit of intrigue that’s got me hooked so far.

The personalities of the contestants also make this show a gem. From the timid to the boastful, I always find it hilarious when the professional chefs can’t get by on elegant plating and end up losing to the home-chefs, and then continue to through a temper tantrum over it.

While I understand the producers’ need to create drama and suspense, I’m still not a fan of the time-limit aspect. Most of my contempt for it comes from the fact it tends to stifle creativity, and it instantly casts out some beautiful dishes that take longer to prep and finish. However, The Taste does do a nice job of not making it a focal point, and letting the personalities on the show shine through.

If you haven’t watched an episode yet, you can catch up online or jump right in now and you won’t feel like you’ve missed much.

Check out this video for a preview.

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