This submit initially appeared on November 30, 2018, in “Eat, Drink, Watch” — the weekly publication for individuals who need to order takeout and watch TV. Browse the archives and subscribe now.
Welcome again to Friday afternoon. I hope you had a pleasant Thanksgiving break that was filled with pleasant carbohydrates of all sizes and styles. I’ve obtained a couple of concepts for what to observe this weekend — two of them holiday-themed — plus a roundup of the week’s food-related leisure information. Up first: some notes on a giant new competitors present.
How ‘The Remaining Desk’ falls wanting its promise

Adam Rose/Netflix

With a forged of acclaimed cooks from world wide, a state-of-the-art kitchen stadium for them to prepare dinner in, and a workforce of seasoned TV producers behind the digital camera, Netflix’s sequence The Remaining Desk appeared poised to alter the cooking competitors present style ceaselessly. After watching all 10 hours of this cooking present behemoth, I’m right here to report that The Remaining Desk… doesn’t fairly meet these sky-high expectations, but it surely’s nonetheless a really entertaining spectacle, and a sequence that reveals numerous potential for progress if it will get a second season.
First, the excellent news: Each culinary competitors present lives or dies by its cooks, and this one has a very sturdy forged. It’s a superb mixture of well-established, award-winning cooks and up-and-comers whose abilities are obvious in each dish that they plate. The caliber of the contestants is so excessive, actually, that the elimination rounds in every episode — the place the underside three groups should prepare dinner to remain within the sport — are oftentimes the place probably the most thrilling dishes are served. Even the losers on The Remaining Desk are extra proficient than the winners of different culinary competitors reveals, it appears.
The Remaining Desk additionally units itself other than the remainder of the meals present flock by specializing in haute delicacies over consolation meals. The vast majority of the dishes seem like they could possibly be a part of some 20+ course tasting menu served at a vaunted superb eating vacation spot. Generally these iterations of regional staples are foolish workouts in deconstruction, however most of the time, they showcase the cooks’ talents to reinterpret dishes with out compromising their integrity. Most of the plates actually do seem like they’re ripped from a montage on the finish of a Chef’s Desk episode. And the present’s country-by-country theme additionally appears to convey out the cooks’ creativity: Every problem options not less than a couple of fascinating cross-cultural mashups.
The place The Remaining Desk stumbles, sadly, is in its pacing in the course of the early episodes. With 24 cooks working in groups of two in the course of the first problem, there are numerous introductions to make and customarily an excessive amount of to concentrate on. As soon as the pack will get thinned out a bit, and the mud settles, it turns into a lot simpler to get absorbed within the motion and begin choosing your favourite groups to root for. However maybe the best drawback (warning: right here be spoilers) is how the competitors shakes down in the course of the second half of the sequence, particularly should you’re somebody (like me) who yearns to see extra variety and gender parity on meals TV reveals.
The final 4 episodes characteristic all males cooking, and the grand finale stars 4 white guys — two from Australia, two from North America. Little doubt, these 4 cooks are extraordinarily proficient and prepare dinner their hearts out for that seat at The Remaining Desk. However for a present that’s pitched as a worldwide culinary competitors, you’d hope that the final match would characteristic extra individuals who characterize the present’s various, worldwide viewers. In an identical vein, the casting of the ambassadors for the “America” episode have been additionally all male, and all white: New York Instances meals editor Sam Sifton, actor Dax Shepard, and actor Colin Hanks. They’re all enjoyable, affable dudes, however is that this actually who we would like representing the melting pot that’s America?
As somebody who loves watching how superb eating dishes come collectively, and studying about new culinary abilities from world wide, I loved the primary season of The Remaining Desk. But when (and when) the present will get renewed, I hope the producers will rethink their casting course of, and tips on how to tweak the present in order that it feels extra inclusive from begin to end.
Streaming suggestions du jour

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

A Legendary Christmas With John and Chrissy
Watch it on: Hulu
The gist: Hollywood’s coolest couple hosts a vacation particular filled with their household and well-known associates. In a shocking twist, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen determined to go full sitcom by filming the entire thing on a Full Home-style set with amusing monitor. The musical numbers barely outwear their welcome, and a number of the celeb bits are too transient. However there are some amusing moments scattered all through, most notably a bit the place Awkwafina stops by to point out off the pad thai carbonara that she made utilizing Teigen’s guide Cravings: Hungry for Extra, with some changes to the recipe that shock and shock John and Chrissy. The Fab 5 from Queer Eye additionally make a enjoyable cameo, FaceTiming with John and Chrissy’s toddler, Luna.

Barefoot Contessa: Again to Fundamentals, “Thanksgiving Sides”
Watch it on: Amazon Video, iTunes, Google Play
The gist: Thanksgiving has come and gone, however the aspect dishes that Ina prepares on this episode — savory bread pudding, sprouts, and three sorts of mashed potatoes — stay on. All of them are nice to bear in mind for any vacation gatherings or usually splurge-tastic meals that you’ve got deliberate for the approaching months. As a particular vacation bonus, Garten additionally invitations three of her well-known associates to point out off their favourite aspect dishes: Marcus Samuelsson makes collard greens, Nigella Lawson prepares a spicy cabbage slaw, and Jennifer Garner reveals her household’s recipe for candy potato pudding.
In different leisure information…

Nailed It! returns subsequent Friday with a vacation season that includes humorous individuals Jason Mantzoukas, Lauren Lapkus, and Ron Funches judging the cake fails alongside hosts Nicole Byer and Jacques Torres. That is considered one of a number of food-themed yuletide specials coming down the TV pipeline.
On Thanksgiving Day, David Chang’s mother introduced {that a} new season of Ugly Scrumptious was within the works. No phrase but on when the brand new episodes will land on Netflix.
Cronut creator Dominique Ansel is instructing a type of on-line MasterClass seminars (however he won’t present you tips on how to make a Cronut).
Author George Reynolds appears at why the wealthy gourmands of Billionsand Succession love consuming ortolans, the tiny songbirds with a darkish culinary previous.
On the Tonight Present this week, Ice-T defined why he’d by no means tried a bagel earlier than taking pictures a current episode of Legislation & Order: “I’m from South Central. Are you able to think about Snoop singing, ‘Rolling down the road smokin’ indo consuming some lox and bagels?’”
And eventually, author Lauren Bachelis and This Is Us star Milo Ventimiglia are creating a TV present for NBC based mostly on David Sax’s wonderful guide Save the Deli. Based on Deadline, the present would concentrate on “a 30-year-old lady, who a lot to the shock of her household, associates and principally herself, turns into the brand new proprietor of her Chicago household deli after her grandfather dies.”
Have an incredible weekend everybody. And should you’re on the lookout for a baking problem, think about making the rugelach from Manhattan’s acclaimed Breads Bakery utilizing this recipe.

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