Ten years ago, as Emeril Lagasse was birthing the entire misbegotten genre of "food TV," chucking the humble instructional Julia Child cooking show format "into the garbage like spoiled milk," Anthony Bourdain was slowly rising as his acerbic opposite number, writes Andy Greenwald at Grantland. As Emeril and endless Food Network imitators tried to make cooking seem entertaining and easy, the foul-mouthed Bourdain made his mark with "his steadfast refusal to coddle anything but eggs," writes Greenwald. "The central message of No Reservations was actually, no, you can't do this; you can't cook it, you can't recreate it, you can't dumb it down."
Which is why it's depressing to see him on ABC's The Taste, a cooking analogue to The Voice in which food is served and judged anonymously. It's a "tooth-grindingly cringey" show that undermines Bourdain's entire career. "His bedrock belief that food cannot and should not be separated from the richness of experience that surrounds it has been an eloquently stated and vibrantly lived refutation of everything The Taste stands for." The ironic part? If there's one good cooking competition on TV, one that expresses the "Bourdainian ideal," it's Top Chef, and this season it has a breakout star: Emeril Lagasse. Click for the full column.