On ABC tonight The Taste returns with another new Thursday January 1, season 3 episode 4 called “Happy New Year,” and we have your weekly recap below. On tonight’s episode, a New Year’s-theme show has contestants preparing meals featuring champagne, shellfish and caviar.
On last week’s episode, tis the season for all things delicious on ABC’s “The Taste” with 13 remaining cooks competing in holiday-themed challenges. Tasked with creating dishes based on fowl, duck and spiced chocolate desserts, the cooks took to the kitchen to see who made the best bite. In the end, two more competitors were sent home. Did you watch the last episode? If you missed it we have a full and detailed recap, right here for you.
On tonight’s episode as per the ABC synopsis, “It’s a new year and there’s a new battle brewing in the kitchen when the remaining cooks are tasked with making delicious dishes bursting with decadent and elevated flavors with ingredients like champagne, shellfish and caviar. In the end, two more competitors will be sent home.”
Don’t forget to join us for our live recap tonight at 8:00pm when The Taste Season 3 episode 4 returns to ABC. While you wait for the recap, let us know what you think of The Taste!
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On #TheTaste, the coaches come in and greet the cooks with a happy new year. Anthony says the theme for tonight is the new year. Jen says she hates new year because she parties and throws up. Today’s mentor is Chef Michael Symon. The cooks are happy to see him. Tristen says he likes him because Symon likes meat and offal. Michael says he wants to taste food so good he’ll be talking about it for the rest of the year. They get started on their challenge with their mentor coaches.
PK’s bite has to go up since she’s Nigella only cook left. Each mentor has picked a type of dish for their team. Marcus’ team is doing beef, Anthony’s egg and Nigella and Ludo are doing seafood dishes. Marcus says he thinks Chef Symon will like beef heart. Ludo is doing caviar and lobster. The winners will get a master class with Chef Symon and his help in the challenge later. Marcus tells his people to do three way beef. Marcus says you have to be careful not to overcook the beef heart.
Tristen says any doofus can cook a lobster, but it takes technique to cook beef. Gabe says he likes the dirt in Marcus’ dish. Ludo tells Jen she’s wrong in her lobster cook approach. He demonstrates how to use the oyster shell in the sauce. He cracks it in and puts it into water. Jen says she would have overcooked the lobster and appreciates his demonstration. Anthony has his team doing an egg dish. He says he thinks Symon will like this since he’s an “egg slut.”
He’s showing them uni and caviar with linguine from a little village in Italy. He starts with uni butter and says to warm it, don’t cook it. Anthony says everyone likes caviar and they are heading for an elevated dish. He lets them taste the dish he made and Vanessa says the butter is like a seasoning and says Anthony really knows what he’s doing. Nigella is doing a champagne and oyster dish with caviar. PK says she’s learned to use her whisk making this dish.
Now the chefs start their own version of the dishes so the mentors can taste and decide whose bite will be submitted to Chef Symon. JK is doing the dish Nigella demonstrated and is poaching the lobster in the champagne. Nigella quizzes her on her technique. Jen is under Ludo’s microscope and he’s not happy. He pinches her ear as he chastises her for forgetting an ingredient. He says she’s very talented but is a disorganized home cook. She’s doing a lobster roll with lemon garlic aoli.
Natasha tells Ludo she’s doing lobster and shrimp Asian stir fry. Benjamin talks Ludo through his dish – one that he’s never made before and he’s feeling very nervous. The cooks are scrambling and the mentors are on top of them. Eric tells Anthony he’s making tagliolini. Vanessa is doing uni and pasta. Tristen is making his beef with miso and a NY strip and beef heart. Gabe is doing bone marrow, rib eye and beef heart. Marcus is annoyed that Ludo and Anthony are messing with his cooks.
He tells Gabe to ignore them. Marcus says he wants them both in the finals. They are down to 14 minutes. Nigella says this is PK’s shot and Nigella is worried about her sabayon. Ludo talks to Natasha and is all up in her kimchi. Gave isn’t happy with his rib eye and say it’s not cooking evenly. Anthony tells his team to taste each other’s food. Ludo gives his team final pointers on their dishes. Ludo tastes Natasha’s then spits it out. Tristen tastes and is pleased but says Gabe is struggling.
They are down to less than five minutes. Nigella is up close coaching PK one-on-one and doesn’t want to let Nigella down. She says her dish in underdone. Ludo says Jen’s dish is good. Benjamin thinks his dish is more elegant than the others. PK prepares her tasting spoons. Anthony chooses Eric. Marcus chooses Tristen but makes him add some salt. They are down to the last few seconds. Chef Symon will now blind taste the dishes to decide which is the best dish and the worst dish will prompt an elimination.
Chef Symon comes out to do the deed. He first tastes Ben’s dish of shellfish and caviar. The chef says the protein was a touch overcooked but Ludo disagrees. Next is Tristen’s three way beef. He tastes and says it’s very nice but could have used a touch more salt to put it over. Marcus is annoyed since he told him to add more salt. Next is PK’s seafood and champagne dish. Symon says it needed a bit more salt and acidity for balance. Finally, it’s Eric’s egg dish. He says it’s a solid dish.
Ludo has to applaud Anthony’s choice. Chef Symon says his first place dish is Eric’s egg dish for Team Anthony. They are all thrilled. Symon tells him he’s not very handsome, but is obviously a great mentor. Ludo says it’s painful to lose to him. Symon says the second best is Team Marcus. PK is really nervous. Symon chooses as the worst dish – Team Nigella. That will send PK home since she’s her only team member. Nigella hugs her and says she’s used to losing but hates to see her go.
Nigella tells PK she’s improved a lot. She says she needs to let her passion roar a bit more. Nigella encourages her, PK thanks her and that’s it, she’s gone. She says she’s leaving with good thoughts about the wonderful learning experience she’s had on The Taste. She says Nigella was a great mentor. Now Anthony’s team will get their master class with Chef Michael Symon. He spends an hour showing them how to prepare fatty proteins. He’s making a smoked pork rack with chiles and cabbage.
Next, the mentors come back out and we found out the solo challenge is also new year themed. Chef Symon will be with Anthony’s team giving them advice. The mentors leave so they have a fully blind challenge. Chef Symon tells his guys to cook clean and start with the longest cooking item. Anthony says they are all good cooks and at this point, they have to look for things they’ve done wrong like seasoning. The cooks are scrambling and Jen begs Natasha for help with plating in the last minute.
They each finish their spoons as the last few seconds elapse. The mentors come back in and it’s tasting time! Tristen is worried that he’ll be at the bottom and Dan says Natasha saved Jen’s butt and she hopes that works out for her. First up is Ben’s Tom Yum soup. Marcus says he thinks Anthony loves it, but says for him, the ratio is off. They argue over the dish and Ludo tells Anthony he’s boring. Ludo says it needs more garnish.
Next is Vanessa’s rib eye with fennel salad. Nigella says it’s too acidic. Marcus says the fennel and anchovy are too much. Ludo says it’s cooked well but too pickly. Anthony says acid is not what he wants on New Year’s morning when he’s hung over. Gabe made venison loin over squash. They taste and Ludo says it’s good. Nigella says it’s good meat and balanced. Anthony says it could have been boring but it isn’t and is well put together and tasty.
Next is Tarik’s spiced venison. Nigella says the puree is under-seasoned and Ludo says the meat texture is off. Anthony also says it’s under-seasoned. Tom made stuffed pork tenderloin. Anthony says it’s like turducken. Ludo says the pork is tender and Nigella agrees it’s well done but Anthony says too much sausage. Dan’s roasted cod with beets is next. Anthony wonders if it’s scallop and Marcus says there are too many things. Anthony says it’s like fried fish with fruit salad. Dan is panicking.
Next is Natasha’s Moroccan lamb meatball. Marcus says the couscous is bad. Nigella doesn’t like the sauce. Anthony says it’s too acid. Eric’s venison is overcooked and he knows it. Marcus says the meat is dry and is off on the sear. Anthony says it’s too sweet. Eric says he thinks he’s safe from a red star. Jen made chicken pot pie. Anthony says it’s a good feel. Nigella says the pastry could be crispier. Anthony says he would eat it cold or hot. Marcus says it’s well executed. Ludo loves the flavor.
Next up is Tristen’s pork and prawn sausage and he’s worried. Nigella asks why everyone is using so much vinegar. Ludo says it’s okay for him. Marcus says it’s not cooked correctly. The mentors thank them all for an interesting selection of new year’s tastes. They send them back to the break room while they talk about who is best and worst. Jen says she really needed to hear those good thoughts. She says she used elements Ludo has taught her. She says she used duck fat and dark meat both.
The mentors call all the cooks out to get the results. Anthony says his favorite dish was Ben’s. Marcus says his favorite was Gabe’s. Nigella’s best was Gabe’s also. Ludo’s best was Jen’s. She’s thrilled. They bring out the plated gold star dishes. Ben says his soup is great when you’re hung over. Marcus tells Gabe his venison reminds him of Sweden and says the execution was flawless. Jen talks about her chicken pot pie and Jen credits Ludo’s teaching for how she’s improving.
Now to the red stars. Anthony’s least favorite was Tarik’s. Marcus’s worst was Dan’s. Nigella’s was Dan also. Ludo’s least favorite was Natasha. The mentors must now decide who will go into the taste off. They bring out the plate to help decide. Tarik talks them through his venison dish. Anthony says the meat is overcooked and not properly seasoned. Dan tells them about his cod and says his dish was all about eating healthy. Anthony says shame and regret are new year’s staples.
Ludo tells Natasha hers was dry. She says she was trying to make vegan pesto with her lamb meatball. Ludo says the dish had no texture and it was all just too dry. Anthony asks them why they should be spared. Tarik says he didn’t taste at the end and that messed up his spice. Natasha is crying and says she made a foolish mistake today and says she always listens to the mentors and is learning and growing. Dan says nothing was dry or was off-season. He says his was just a bit of a mess.
Dan says he thinks Tarik should be sent to the taste off. Tarik says he thinks Dan should go since he’s a secret weapon. Natasha says she thinks Tarik should go since Dan is her teammate. Anthony says they will let them know in a few minutes who’s going and sends them to the break room. Jen is very happy to put on her gold star and is on cloud nine. She puts Ben on his and he’s happy to have some recognition. Gabe now has four and is feeling good.
The mentors talk and Anthony wants to send both of Ludo’s cooks to the taste off since they are both two time losers. Ludo fights back and says Tarik’s dish was shockingly bad. Marcus reminds them that Natasha has two gold stars and says Dan’s was the worst. Nigella says Natasha’s dish was very amateurish. Marcus says he would like to see Ludo vs Ludo, but says Tarik vs Dan is his choice.
(Is it just me or does Anthony remind you of the Tom Bergeron of celebrity chefs? Their voices and profiles are reminiscent of each other…)
They bring the cooks back in and tell them that Natasha is in the taste off today. She will go up against Tarik. Dan gets to go back to his team and says he really hopes Natasha wins this. It is Team Ludo vs Team Anthony. The mentors can advise but not taste. They have the same ingredient – a double cut pork chop. Tarik, raised a Muslim, doesn’t have a lot of pork experience and Natasha says she doesn’t eat or like pork herself. They have 40 minutes to create their pork chop dish.
Chef Symon, Nigella and Marcus will do the blind tasting. Ludo says he’s going to push and shake Natasha and says he will do what he has to help her win. Anthony tells Tarik to make sure his chops are moist and properly seasoned. Ludo is telling Natasha exactly what and how to cook while Anthony offers less intrusive coaching. Ludo freaks because Natasha doesn’t know what bourbon is. Ludo and Anthony trash talk each other and Anthony calls him a control freak (in so many words).
Ludo is doing his usual crazy rant in his hard-to-understand accent. The more angry and excited he gets, the harder it is to understand him. Natasha calls for a medic when she cuts herself. Ludo tells her to shove some black pepper in it and keep going. He then yells at the medic to hurry up and get out of the way. What a prince. Still, kinda sexy. He could yell at me in French while I burn pork chops and I’d be pretty thrilled…
Ludo yells at the medic for taking Natasha away from the stove and Anthony says it sounds like his head is going to explode. Ludo is frustrated and says it’s hard to teach someone who has never cooked a pork chop and it’s really hard since he can’t taste. He screams and screams. Anthony says his mentorship style is very different. He’s trying to keep Tarik focused with more gentle measures. They are down to 20 minutes. Ludo is still screaming and he collapses to the floor and bangs his head.
Anthony tells him that’s a good position for him. Tarik is being very cool and listening to Anthony. Ludo yells at Natasha to touch the oil with her finger like they do in the restaurant. Anthony calls out no cilantro and says Tarik is going to over-reduce. Ludo sniffs but can’t taste but seems to be calming down somewhat. He tells her to baste the meat and start on her garnish. Anthony has Tarik resting his pork and he sniffs. He cuts it and Anthony says it looks perfect.
Ludo sees it and says he thinks it’s overcooked. Natasha goes to cut and Ludo screams more criticism. Tarik is prepping his spoons and says he’s happy. Anthony says he’s got it made in the shade. Natasha is finishing hers with Ludo back to yelling. Ludo gives last minute tips on topping the spoons. She wants more sauce and Ludo tells her to hurry. He tells Natasha it’s perfect. They count down the last dew seconds. Natasha says her heart and soul is in her dish and the others hug her.
Tarik says he’s exhausted. Ludo says Natasha fought like a lion, listened to him and says he’s very proud of her. Marcus, Nigella and Chef Symon head out for the moment of truth. Nigella tells them one will be going home and calls up Ludo and Tony to join them on stage. Nigella first tastes Tarik’s and says it’s too vinegary. Symon says too salty and acidic. They agree the pork was nicely cooked. Next is Natasha’s. Nigella says it’s a bit like dessert with the syrup. Symon says it has nice textures but is very sweet and could use some salt.
Nigella, Symon and Marcus huddle to discuss which dish is best and which is worst. Their decision sends home Natasha from Team Ludo. Ludo tells her it was a good fight and says she made him very proud. He says it was a beautiful spoon. He tells her to stay true to her roots and keep cooking. Natasha is bummed she’s been sent home and says she knows she’s on the right path and her journey has just begun. She says this has been validation about her choices. Ludo and the others hug her.