The Final Table on Netflix is a cooking competition with a twist. It is an international competition featuring some of the top chefs from around the world. No amateurs here! 12 teams of two battle it out until one winner is ultimately chosen to sit at the top table with some of the world's most accomplished chefs.
The premise is simple. The contestants are from all over the world. Some are even Michelin starred chefs or have won prestigious awards in their field. Each pairing is made up of a main chef plus a partner. That can be a colleague, a friend etc…They must then work together in each round.
Each episode in The Final Table is focused on one country. Three relatively famous from that country determine what the chefs will cook. For example, in the opening episode ‘Mexico' the guests chose ‘Taco's' as the dish that best represents Mexico. The contestants must then whip up a 5* taco dish in an hour to be tasted by the judges. Those that are deemed to have a done a good job are safe.
However, three pairs of chefs, who have not done well, must go head-to-head for a top chef. Mexico's top chef is Enrique Olvera from Pujol, the UK was represented by Clare Smith MBE who is also the first female British chef to hold and retain three Michelin stars. And Spain is represented by acclaimed chef and owner of Mugaritz, Andoni Anduriz. So it's fair to say that the guest judges are genuinely some of the best in the world.
The three competing teams must then cook up a dish using a key ingredient chosen by the top chef. On tasting and judging, two will be safe and one team will go home.
This is an interesting concept for a show. The first half of each episode is based on the first round and the second half of the show is the head-to-head. There is one problem with it though. It comes across like the competitors are always a little blind sided by what they have to cook. Now they may not be aware of the very specific dish but surely they knew they would have to cook a national dish in each round?? When the Japanese chef declared he hadn't eaten in a Mexican restaurant for more than 30 years I genuinely wondered what the hell he thought he would be cooking in the Mexico round???
Likewise for Spain and the paella. Chefs admitting they had never eaten one, or knew how it was made was a bit astounding. What kind of show did they think they were signing up for?? Even I know how to make a paella or a taco and believe me, I'm no chef!
Their oblivion to the entire concept of how the show works is a bit ridiculous. As is the singular ingredient they are asked to work with. When a two star Michelin chef goes out because he can't turn the humble pea into an awarding winning dish then you end up shaking your head at the lunacy of it all. You'll probably watch two or three episodes of The Final Table and skip to the final!