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blue_dolphin

The Final Table on Netflix

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Is anyone watching The Final Table on Netflix?  

 

The stadium/set, lighting, music and sound effects are over the top but at least the gimmicks stop there and no one has to cook an entrée from Cheetos outside during a windstorm with only a cigarette lighter and one hand tied behind their backs.  

The talent is pretty amazing - multiple Michelin stars amongst the contestants alone and while there is relatively little interaction shown between them, the contestants all seem to respect each other, as do the expert judges.  

The international mix of contestants, judges and cuisines is interesting.  My favorite bit is during that second phase of each episode when the 3 bottom teams cook for the expert judge and he/she visits each team while they're cooking.  

Anyone else watching?

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I started last night and liked the format. I do enjoy the "country" themes, highlighting national dishes and (in the elimination round) special produce from the respective region. The discussions around the dishes in the second half of the show are indeed more interesting than the first part, but I have seen only one episode so far, so lets see ... Overall, an interesting new cooking contest show, and one that comes without much drama between the contestants and rants from the judges. I'll keep watching ...

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Just saw the second episode on Spain - very informative. I like the format ...

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I've watched Mexico, Spain, the UK, Brazil and India. I find it more appealing with fewer chef teams.  Easier to keep track of them as I've gotten to know them a bit in previous episodes.  

At the same time, I really wish I could see more from the eliminated teams.  They were all quite interesting.

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I like the show as well and think I'll like it better when there are fewer contestants so we can get more time spent on their techniques, and hoping they stay away from the hokey family backgrounds and childhood upbringings. My very small quip is with the first round cultural experts. I like the critic/reviewer, but the other two (so far...I'm only on the 3rd episode) could have been more appropriate for the level of chefs. I don't really care what an actor thinks no matter how culturally relevant they are. Give me a culinary historian, a cookbook author, an anthropologist, a food scientist with an interesting POV...that would have given us more than "yummy" and "too spicy." 

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I agree with @gfron1 that some of the "celeb-judges" don't always add that much, although some have made some interesting observations and Hasan Minhaj added some levity to the discussions. I wondered what sort of weighting the critic's opinion was given when it came to the final decisions.  At least that judging panel doesn't actually eliminate anyone.

 

Edited to add this clip from the Indian episode of The Final Table for the non-Netflix peeps.  This shows the judging of one team by the 2 celeb-judges and a food critic from India.

 


Edited by blue_dolphin (log)

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@blue_dolphin Thanks for bringing this show to my attention. I have just binge watched the first three episodes and it looks to be continuing. 😁 


Edited by robirdstx (log)
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I'm not in a position to watch it right now, so I have a question: why the "final" table? The title made me think it might be someone's dying request. Apparently that isn't the case.

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7 minutes ago, Smithy said:

I'm not in a position to watch it right now, so I have a question: why the "final" table? The title made me think it might be someone's dying request. Apparently that isn't the case.

The "prize" for the winner is the opportunity to dine with the expert chefs who have judged the episodes.  That dinner would take place at the "final table"

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I won't offer any spoilers. I'll just say that my affinity is to the style of Charles and Rodrigo. I think their food is beautifully composed, thoughtful and as perfectly flavored as I can imagine through the TV. Their avocado was a bit rough looking - they should have coated it in a powder or glazing to give it a more stunning finish. But I would have eaten the hell out of that dish.

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@blue_dolphin

 

thanks for the heads up.

 

Ill be taking a peek.

 

Im not a big fan of competitions , but this seems different

 

the problem w the judges is simple   Im not one of them

 

simple , see ?

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So far, I am liking the run-off challenges where the 3 lowest scoring teams face off better than the main challenges.

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One of the fun things is the timing of the taping as at least one of the competitors received a star during the taping of the show. I am finished now and can't quite figure out what they'll do for a season two. Like so many other cooking shows it won't take long until the competition is no longer of the caliber deserving to be on stage.

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In my opinion, more worth watching than any other show of the genre recently.  Is it stretching to say that a Victor in this competition is as qualified as those at the judges table.  I would say certainly, if the competitors were not already so qualified.  I will likely not sit at any of their tables, so I will have to let others judge.  Not a bad show for a casual watch, though, and I found myself rewinding to try to catch a description I missed many times.

 

 

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On 11/30/2018 at 1:11 PM, gfron1 said:

One of the fun things is the timing of the taping as at least one of the competitors received a star during the taping of the show. I am finished now and can't quite figure out what they'll do for a season two. Like so many other cooking shows it won't take long until the competition is no longer of the caliber deserving to be on stage.

 

I agree.

 

I have a few thoughts about the structure of the show. -I am always amazed that almost every reality show still uses the basic structure set forth by the first season of Survivor. It kind of works, but, IMO, someone needs to step up and have the guts to do something different. (The Great British Baking Show is the only exception I can think of.) For example, why does someone HAVE to go home at the end of each episode? I know producers think it creates drama, but, I think there would be more drama and pressure by keeping everyone and just running an ongoing point system throughout and calculating the winner at the end. I think, in the case of this show anyway, that would be far more fair. Everyone who competed on this show has a high level of skill, and most teams stayed until they got tripped up by a regional dish they were unaware of. Some teams who were eliminated early on would probably made it much further simply if the regional order was changed around. (Unlike some of the seasons of Top Chef, where they purposefully put some basic skills tests in early on to eliminate the truly weak.) I'd be more interested in seeing what everyone could do in every region.

 

That said, I think there were too many teams to start with, There's a lot of content to cover in the first 4 episodes and I think some dishes weren't done justice on camera. I'd trim the starting lineup a bit.

 

Another problem lies within the teams themselves. Why have them? Mostly, I think it's because of the imposition of the one hour cooking time, which to me, for fine dining, is very short. Yes, you can grill seafood in seconds, but a good braise, even with a pressure-cooker, takes time. Anyway, I found the field to be very uneven here by forcing people to have partners. Some teams, like my favorites Charles and Rodrigo, had worked together for some time; they could do the dance and understand each other's references. Other teams were just somehow formed by people choosing people they had never met. And, some of those were self-taught, meaning that they did not perhaps share some of the lingo common in French kitchens which is taught in most culinary school worldwide. They also were not used to how the other person worked. My suggestion would be to have the chefs either cook solo and have twice the time, or, give every chef a sous who is maybe a culinary school student who can skillfully execute basics like knife cuts and meat fabrication, and has fluency in their language. This way, the playing field would be more level, and they would immediately have enough talent for season two.

 

I also am on the fence about the whole business of having to replicate a regional dish. Once again, those who went to culinary school had an overall advantage throughout and, those who had traveled or ran certain types of restaurants had advantages in specific challenges like the Japan challenge. The other issue with the challenge is the dilemma we all face with constructing a dish, tradition or innovation. -How far can you push something before its name is no longer relevant? And, in this case, how far can you go before a regional celebrity (singer, sports star, comedian, etc.) who is not a chef feels uncomfortable about transformations to a dish they recall fondly from childhood?

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I saw some of the first two episodes.

 

it reminded me how much better Iron Chef  in japanese was.   the narrator in english added a bit of humor to the show.

 

most of the judges know very little about food , and I don't get enough out of watching the chefs cook to improve my skills  

 

nor see too many new food combinations that Ill remember for the future.

 

the only ' competition ' I really enjoy , is Great British Menu , and that's difficult for non-GB  BBC viewers to find.

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My GF and I binged the first four episodes last night. I generally don't watch these competition shows, because (like Lisa) I detest the hackneyed format, but the food made it interesting enough to keep watching. I'll probably finish it, but it isn't really overcoming my dislike of the competition-show structure in general. Seeing a guy who has placed well in the Bocuse d'Or struggle with the individual challenges just underlines the unreality of it all.

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Finished the series last night. Overall it was fun to watch, though I had a few quibbles (especially about how the final judging went down). I won't get into that, though, because it'd be pretty difficult to discuss or even reference tangentially without spoilers.

 

 

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