Did Chefs From ‘The Final Table’ Win Anything For Competing on the Netflix Show?

Reality TV — especially reality TV involving real people competing for an end prize — has been a popular pastime for decades. It gives viewers the chance to root (and sometimes even vote) for their favorite contestants, celebrate when they win, and mourn when they lose.

Netflix has only recently begun producing its own brand of commercial-free reality shows. In November 2018, it added another cooking competition to its lineup: an international endeavor called The Final Table.

This show isn’t like any other cooking show you’ve watched on Fox or the Food Network. Here’s what it’s all about and what contestants get for appearing on the show.

The Final Table: Everything you need to know

In this Netflix-exclusive reality competition show, chefs from around the world prepare cuisines from different countries and compete to make it to the final round.

Each episode is dedicated to preparing food from a specific country as part of the overall competition. Countries whose signature cuisines are featured on the show include Mexico, Spain, the UK, Brazil, India, the US, Italy, Japan, and France.

There are 10 total episodes on Netflix that make up the show’s first season, which dropped on the streaming platform on November 20, 2018. Nine different countries’ cuisines are featured, and the final episode serves as the season finale.

Competing chefs have one goal: to make it to “the final table,” meaning they have to not only make it to the final round, but have to make the dish judges declare the best of them all.

Who are the judges?

The nine judges on The Final Table are considered to be the best chefs in the world. Contestants prepare food from each judge’s home country and are given feedback based on multiple factors, including each dish’s level of authenticity.

Judges include Enrique Olvera (Mexico), Andoni Aduriz (Spain), Clare Smyth (UK), Helena Rizzo (Brazil), Vineet Bhatia (India), Grant Achatz (US), Carlo Cracco (Italy), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan), and Anne-Sophie Pic (France).

What do The Final Table contestants win?

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The winner wins both the favor of the judges and a seat at The Final Table — which is actually a physical table, but serves as the show’s thematic symbol of victory. If you’re the best chef, you get to sit at the table with the best chefs.

There are no cash prizes, book deals, or contracts waiting for the winner at the end of the journey. But competing chefs are technically already well-established in their countries, and probably don’t mind the exposure they’ve gotten from the 10 straight hours many viewers spent with them upon the show’s release.

Because a chef’s personality on a cooking show is just as important as their cooking skills, it’s likely that competitors and winners alike could go on to produce cookbooks, operate successful restaurants, and host their own shows as many from different competition cooking shows have before.

Exposure, in the culinary world, isn’t a terrible thing. Even without compensation, at least one of the nine competitors will likely benefit from their time on the show. Whether or not we’ll be treated to another intense season of international cooking is still, however, a mystery.