Reality shows have become a part of our reality. What, then, do you call these interminable talent shows that stretch on for weeks and weeks, with dozens of dramatic pauses and commercial breaks in each hour-long installment, before proclaiming the next big thing? I call them excruciating. On the other hand, I like to watch Hell’s Kitchen so what do I know?
Leave it to the Food Network — the same folks who gave Rachael (aka “Devil Girl”) Ray 30 minutes to make a meal — to create and air, what is in my mind, the very best reality show ever. And on the best topic ever. Ice cream.
Before I ruin it for you, this post is full of spoilers. If you haven’t seen the show, click here for the broadcasting schedule and then program your TiVo. If you don’t have cable (like me- I watched this at Patti and Branden’s) then read on.
So here goes:
Haagen Dazs did a nationwide search for new flavors and narrowed the contenders down to five:
Carmelized Figs and Walnuts (created by an artist)
Sticky Toffee Pudding (created by a food writer from NYC!)
Toasted Coconut Sesame Brittle (created by a chef)
That took 15 minutes- they showed a bunch of the video clips, showed the judges picking a few, interviewed some folks and that was it. Wow.
Then they brought those folks to the new HQ in Cali to meet each other and the judges. There are interviews, a little trashtalkin’, etc. Another 10 minutes.
After that, they get to work. Each contestant meets with their team and creates two variations of their dream flavor. Yum, wow. I didn’t know that there are basically 3 bases: vanilla, vanilla bean and sweet cream. Cool. That takes another 15 minutes or so. We’re movin’ along here. They fold, mix, taste and generally struggle to bring their ideal flavor to fruition as we drool, slumped on our spines, in front of the tv. Bastids.
Next, they are judged. The five are HD execs, professional tasters, etc. Judgements are handed down and then it’s back to the lab to either take or ignore the suggestions and remix. The next set of pints is given to a panel of consumers- food bloggers, another exec or two and some random schmoe, like me, who eats a lot of ice cream (not me, although I’d like to).
And then… 2 people are eliminated.
Which two? Oh dear… here comes the spoiler…
Mocha Malt, which was all over the map flavorwise and would have been a better fit for Ben & Jerry’s (which is not a bad thing), and Fig and Walnut, which was too esoteric (though fig and walnut yogurt is tasty and they are quite trendy right now… or was that date and walnut… hmmmm)
And then the remaining 3 are put to work thusly:
Taste-testing in NYC, Chicago and San Fran. And the tasters vote.
Meanwhile, the marketing team is putting together ad campaigns and designing packaging.
The 3 contestants take home pints of their ‘scream and share it with friends and family. Can you imagine? You get to work with the staff at HD, create your dream flavor and then share it with your loved ones. Share? What is this “share”?
Flash forward a year. Yep, you read correctly, we don’t have to keep tabs on these people. Gloriosky!
The 3 contestants are standing on the stage and the winning flavor is revealed…
Sticky Toffee Pudding!
I look at my watch and I realize, I have seen an entire reality talent show whatzifoozit in less than 3 hours!
The site says it exists, but when I plugged in every zip within a 100 mile radius I got nothing. Grrrr…