Last night was the exciting finale of ABC’s The Taste when, after six weeks, viewers finally got to see who was the best mentor and, more important, the best chef. Even Anthony Bourdain called it the “best finals to date by a mile, no doubt.” With that said, there really is only one way to watch it.
Every year, chef Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec, Petit Trois) and MasterCard host a finale screening party at Animal complete with food by chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo that’s served during the show and Lefebvre’s running commentary.
If you’re a fan of the show, it’s the equivalent of watching a Patriots game in a Pats bar. That same kind of energy was at Animal last night, with people yelling “Team Ludo!” and woohooing whenever our host appeared on the screen. But instead of chicken wings, you get marrow bone, balsamic pork ribs and Animal’s famous foie gras moco loco (yes, it’s back!). And instead of bros, you get foodies who spent $150 each to attend.
But the highlight is always Ludo uncensored, fueled by wine and empowered by an entourage, which included chef Aaron Sanchez and Kings of Leon singer Caleb Followill last night. Much to the crowd’s delight, the chef talked smack about the competition, mostly about Bourdain and this season’s winner.
Here’s the best of his commentary from last night’s finale screening. (Spoiler alert!) By the way, sometimes I wish there were subtitles in real life.
On Bourdain team member Eric LeBlanc doing a puree: “Boring, boring. SO creative, guys.” [rolling eyes]
On Marcus Samuelsson team member Gabe Kennedy: “I hate this guy. I hate him.”
Every time Bourdain said LeBlanc deserved to win: “So full of s—, Bourdain! [To the crowd] He never liked him.”
In response to Team Ludo’s Jen Royle saying she didn’t feel the need to go to culinary school after having Ludo as a mentor: [Beaming with pride] “Just give me some money.”
On Team Marcus’ Tristen Epps: “Tristan is the best chef in this competition.”
When Kennedy was announced as the winner: “It was a tie! It was a tie!”
Later: “Gabe [pronouncing his name “Gabby”] was the best chef. This season, the best cook won.”
On why he didn’t win this season: “When we did The Taste, I was in the middle of opening a new restaurant. I was stressed.”
Chef Gabe Kennedy from Team Marcus ending up winning the competition thanks to his trio of courses–a scallop-wrapped oyster with caviar and pickled radish, a glazed duck breast with chanterelle mushrooms, and a doughnut with coconut soup and compressed mango and pineapple. Along with the trophy, he takes home $100,000 and gets his own series on ABC.com.