Tonight, season two of The Taste names its winner in a blow-out season finale. We caught up with judges Marcus Samuelsson and Ludo Lefebvre to reflect on the past season and to find out what to expect from the finale.
Kitchen Daily: What was your favorite moment this season?
Marcus Samuelsson: [It was fun to see the] passion of the contestants -- to see some of the cooks grow from when they started to when they left. [They] became really fluent in cooking. That was fun to see the arch.
Ludo Lefebvre: Each time Tony had to say, "Join Ludo's winning team," so there were many! This season was great. It is truly an honor for me to work with Tony, Nigella and the addition of Marcus was really fun. He is super competitive, so we had a great time together.
KD: What can we expect from the finale?
MS: It is going to be a lot of fun like the rest of the season. High pressure, but some really good cooking and a lot of tension.
LL: All of the mentors are very competitive, but I think Tony and I are the most competitive so you can expect a lot of tension. I had to manage three cooks and he only had to manage one, so it was very, very stressful for me. I care so much about my cooks and want them all to win.
KD: What is it like working with the other mentors?
MS: It is always fun to see Ludo mad and I love listening to Nigella. I learned a lot of "British" and nothing beats when Tony gets some good street food. You can tell he just loves it.
LL: It is really fun, Tony calls it "summer camp." I have so much respect for all of them. I learn from each of them every day. Tony is so knowledgeable about everything. He travels the world and reads non-stop. It was fun getting to know Marcus. He is a talented chef and just a really nice person. We have very different styles in the kitchen but have the same competitiveness. Nigella is one of the kindest, most generous people I have ever met. She was like the camp counselor for the boys, but she is also just like one of the boys when it comes to eating and can definitely hold her own. She is tremendously talented in the kitchen.
KD: What do you like about the format of the show? What attracted you to it?
MS: Even though I filmed it, I found it exciting to watch. When you do it and when you see it are two different things. I really thought it was exciting and fun. It is a fun concept where we as mentors have to get involved, [plus we pit] professional cooks against regular cooks and [it] comes down to one taste. That's very challenging; that is very difficult.
LL: I love to teach, but I am also very competitive, so it is the perfect format for me. I was mostly attracted to the show originally because of the opportunity to work with Tony and Nigella.
KD: If you were to serve one dish as a "taste," which would you serve?
MS: Maybe a chicken stew or something like that that has a lot of depth and complexity, but is also delicious. You really get just one chance to connect with us, the mentors, so you need to have texture, you need to have flavor and you need to have complexity, so something like that probably would do.
LL: I can't even begin to imagine what I would serve; I would never make it as a contestant on the show for sure.
Don't forget to tune into The Taste, tonight at 8/7c on ABC!
Image Credit: Kelsey McNeal/Disney ABC Television Group