“Everything is here – it’s the hospitality Mecca!”
Blind Kitchen: New Orleans, a show that takes two chefs and challenges them to recreate each other’s signature dishes after tasting them blindfolded, is an unexpected addition to the competition reality show genre that any culinary fan can get behind. The pillars of traditional cooking competition shows exist here: genre-specific action shots, confessional-style interviews, celebrity guest judges, and a host who’s personality seems wholly specific to the narrative at hand. What allows Blind Kitchen: New Orleans the space to thrive against its predecessors is its locality. From the first moments of the pilot episode, it’s evident that this show was made by a team who loves New Orleans unapologetically. Director Crista Rock has taken the traditional aspects of a competition cooking show, broken them down to their essentials, and applied them to a world that she knows and understands. In a city where “celebratory” media can easily read as exploitative, Blind Kitchen is anything but.
This show is a true celebration of New Orleans cuisine and, by extension, the most integral aspects of New Orleans culture—its people. By showcasing local chefs, guest judges who are established members of the community, and a local artist who handcrafts each episode’s trophy, Blind Kitchen successfully offers a view of New Orleans that isn’t limited to the French Quarter Tourist lens that so many other pieces of media focus on (CW’s The Originals, for example). At its end, Blind Kitchen can best be described as authentic. These chefs aren’t competitors who landed a Food Network slot and act as cutthroat as their producers would want in their attempts to facilitate a false dramatic narrative—these are real people who are here to share their gift and have a good time doing it.
While this show can (and will) appeal to any viewer, Blind Kitchen hits its stride with New Orleans natives and anyone else who loves this city. New Orleans natives and transplants can watch this show and appreciate the nuances in its locality. Everyone else can watch this show and appreciate the genuine nature of its storytelling. Any viewer can tell that the chef’s personalities aren’t scripted through pointed producer interviews. What you see is authentic to who these people are. There is no room for disingenuous storytelling in Blind Kitchen—anything of the sort would take away from what makes this show so unique. For a cooking show, especially a competition reality show, everyone is incredibly supportive! You can feel the lightheartedness in each scene, whether it’s in the blind tasting of the dishes, the over-the-top sound effects, or the crew member hitting a gong throughout the frame in lieu of a traditional timer—this show reaches a level of campiness that the Food Network and other networks like it can benefit from adopting. Blind Kitchen: New Orleans hits all the boxes of a comfort show while still feeling fresh and innovative.
New episodes are available every Thursday. Stream Blind Kitchen: New Orleans for free through the Very Local app, available on Apple, Samsung, and Roku!