How Is 'The Taste' Different from 'Top Chef'? The High-Stakes Cooking Shows Don't Have Much in Common
There are so many types of reality shows now that you can't even count on two competition shows with related concepts having something in common anymore. The X Factor and The Sing Off are just as different as Cosmos and The Big Bang Theory. But how similar are The Taste and Top Chef ? ABC's cooking competition may superficially seem like Bravo's hit series, but they don't really have many similarities. In fact, The Taste has much more in common with another imported reality TV show, The Voice. The blind tasting stands in place for the blind listening, the competitive format, even the fancy table where the judges sit and all the time devoted to their banter — trust me, The Taste is far more similar to the singing hit, even though you won't hear any music.
The biggest similarity between the two shows is the cash prize. Both winners can count on $100,000 and a year-long reign where they'll be promoted by the producers as the culinary champ. And one of The Taste judges, restauranteur Marcus Samulesson, actually won the first season of Top Chef Masters. But there are far more differences than similarities between the two shows.
First and foremost, the biggest difference between The Taste and other cooking competitions is the team format. In the first episodes, the chef judges pick their favorite contestants to join their teams — much like The Voice's blind auditions — and then mentor them on how to produce the tastiest bite-sized dishes.
Those Tasting Spoons
But the second difference is almost just as big as the first. Top Chef is all about testing the chefs at how well they can create the expanse of a full meal. And they always let them produce a full dish, be it full portions to each judge or one large family-sized component for a collective meal. Obviously, The Taste's big hook is that their first round only gives them a single bite. If everything isn't perfect, they're axed right away.
On Top Chef, contestants are almost always chosen based on their resumes and personalities alone. Sometimes there's an early challenge that tests the chefs ability to butcher different proteins or properly behave in a professional kitchen, but rarely do outsiders who aren't experienced get a shot. While on Top Chef you get a lot of chefs at all different experience levels, they've really decided to make fine dining experience a priority. On The Taste, everyone from home cooks to food stylists to five-star chefs are eligible to compete. Only the flavors have to be sophisticated — not the cooks' resumes.
Images: Kelsey McNeal/ABC, ABC (3)