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The Final Table?

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Jenise

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The Final Table?

by Jenise » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:01 pm

Currently showing on Netflix. We just watched the first two episodes.

It's hosted by Andrew Knowlton whose writing I've enjoyed in Bon Appetit for years. He's surprisingly engaging as a game show host for someone used to being read, not seen. He's good looking and not sounding nervous or overly scripted though, obviously, there's a formulaic progression and he's reading from cue cards. The game: Ten or 12 pairs of chefs who seem to have applied together are pitted against one another on international themes, one per episode. Episode One was Mexico, Episode Two was Spain, etc. None are famous chefs but on a local basis some of us may know or recognize someone.

A "national dish" is named for the cook-off, then three guest judges choose the best and worst dishes. Judging by the first two episodes, the three judges will consist of a food critic from that country, an attractive actress, and either a musician or a professional boxer whose job it is to pan as inauthentic anything even remotely untraditional or yell "chilies!" in response to every question. Yet this boob has a full 1/3 vote. Apparently there's nothing more than accolades for the winner of the best category, but the three worst then go head to head on another dish.

At this point, out comes a bona fide very famous Chef who announces the final challenge (for Mexico, the guy at Pujol, arguably Mexico's Tom Keller), and for Spain, the owner/chef of 2 or 3 star Mugaritz in San Sebastian. Each of the judge chefs is a de facto member of the titular but yet unrevealed Final Table, which the last chef standing will join.

Only when watching the losers trying to stay in the race do you get to see much in the way or real cooking. The famous chef gets to wander around the stage, ask questions, taste and frown a lot where the previous threesome had to go sit in their balcony.

The balcony overlooks the stage, and make no mistake this is a stage, not a kitchen. It's a huge studio-in-the-round with lots of clever lighting and a loud, live audience. No idea where it's filmed, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out it's Vegas. It's a Vegas-level production, and they'll need tourists to fill all those seats.

Anyone else watching?

Btw, Top Chef started this week. Now THERE'S a cooking competition.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jo Ann Henderson

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Re: The Final Table?

by Jo Ann Henderson » Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:37 pm

Just downloaded this to my Netflix rotation last night. I wasn’t going to buy in until I saw Grant Achatz in a cameo in the trailer. Think I will start with Spain.
"...To undersalt deliberately in the name of dietary chic is to omit from the music of cookery the indispensable bass line over which all tastes and smells form their harmonies." -- Robert Farrar Capon

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