Category Archives: Food Network

Food Network Gets “Rewrapped”

Rewrapped is another cooking competition from Food Network. This one is hosted by Joey Fatone, who is best known for being in ‘N Sync and not being Justin Timberlake. It also features Marc Summers, who really should be hosting the show, as a judge. Joey isn’t a terrible host. He’s just extremely high energy. Between the backdrop and Joey’s personality constantly on high, the show feels like it should be on Nickelodeon. If Joey dials himself back a little bit, the show will fit comfortably into its “kid in a candy store” vibe without being so in your face.

While Rewrapped is not original, it’s actually good.  The first round has three chefs recreate classic foods, such as Tastykake cherry pies and Goldfish Crackers. For the second round, the contestants have to use the snack food to make a dish. The premise is simple, but sometimes formats shouldn’t be mess with. The only difference from most Food Network shows is that the contestants are scored from 1 to 10, whereas unless you’re watching Iron Chef, few other Food Network shows award points.

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‘Chopped Canada’ Premiere Review

Food Network doesn’t like to reinvent the wheel, which explains its newest show Chopped Canada. Obviously, the show’s Chopped with Canadians. There’s nothing wrong with that. Canada deserves programming it can call its own and Americans should have the opportunity to enjoy it as well. (Seriously, Food Network should import more shows from its Canada and the United Kingdom branches.) However, after watching the Chopped Canada‘s American premiere, I’m not sure if the show is meant for Canadians or Americans with a very narrow view of Canada.

Since the show’s contestants and most of the judges are Canadian, everyone is super nice, except for the egotistical loner chef and the Indian judge with really high standards. While the judges are nice, they aren’t afraid to call the chefs out on their crap. Chef Matt, who was the loner and could’ve been told to act like that, was called out for stealing Chinese noodles from another chef’s station. No one approves of the person that shows poor sportsmanship, but technically doesn’t violate any rules.

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Food Network’s Latest Show is “On The Rocks”

Food Network apparently thinks American restaurant owners like being yelled at by British men. First, it was Robert Irvine in Restaurant Impossible. Now, it’s John Green in On the Rocks. This isn’t a bad thing because it makes for some good TV. It’s just very peculiar.

While I liked On the Rocks, it’s like any other restaurant makeover show, only this time it’s in a bar. For those like me who don’t frequently watch Spike, you’ll be more surprised that guy-centric Spike is airing a bar makeover show called Bar Rescue than the fact that the concept has already been done. Nothing is saving On the Rocks from being redundant, but John Green saves it from being boring.

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‘Thieves, Inc.’ Steals Food Network

Connie and Scott in and out of costume.

Food Network’s latest addition to its new Undercover Wednesdays is Thieves, Inc., which has Monument Security’s Connie Ribble and Scott McDonald steal from the clients. Store must be happy that these two are on their side because Connie and Scott don’t have to try very hard to successfully steal thousands of dollars worth of merchandise in a matter of minutes.

In the first episode, Connie and Scott helped the owner of a gourmet food store, Garden of Eden in New York City, catch thieves and improve his security. At first, Connie and Scott use the typical strategies thieves use, such as dressing up as someone who stocks shelves or using a baby to throw off suspicion. If they have no problem doing those, they get more brazen and start doing crazy things like stealing an entire food cart that was sitting outside in front of the store. Shockingly, no one notices and those who do don’t question. Granted, the store is in NYC, but even New Yorkers can only tolerate so much strange behavior. The fact that Connie and Scott get away with so much and dress up in crazy outfits makes the show fun to watch.

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‘Rachael vs. Guy’: Precocious Kids Take Over

Rachael Ray and Brandon Scawthorn

After two seasons of teaching celebrities to cook, Rachael and Guy have decided to turn their sights on improving the talents of child prodigies. Unlike past seasons of Rachel vs. Guy, no one will be eliminated. Instead, each week the kids will received grades and two MVPs will be chosen, one from each team. The winner will be whoever has the highest score at the end of the competition. The grand prize is a cooking show on Food Network’s website.

In the first episode of Rachel vs. Guy: Kids Cook-off, we are introduced to the eight contestants. For Team Rachael, Hunter Zampa, Brandon Scawthorn, Hailie Thomas, and Jack Witherspoon will be competing. Team Guy’s contestants are Sydney McCoy, Cole Malouin, Alessandra Ciuffo, and Daniel Hamilton.

Even though it has only been one episode, there are already some obvious leaders. Boisterous Alessandra is a larger than life, friendly Italian-American from Queens, who would invite you over for dinner and then send you home with a ton of leftovers that you’ll love, but will be eating for a month. Hunter knows the most about food and can talk intelligently about it. He also likes to cook venison and fish because his dad is a hunter and fisherman. However, he is also probably the most likely to accidentally kill someone with his fondness for spicy foods.  Cole still needs to work on his camera presences, but with a little practice he will be a mini Alton Brown. In 10 years, Cole could totally have a show where he makes food in unusual ways.

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Who Can ‘Beat Bobby Flay?’

Food Network loves having chefs who aren’t famous compete against Bobby Flay. The Iron Chef America and former Throwdown! with Bobby Flay star now has a new show, Beat Bobby Flay, which is a combination of the former two shows. While Beat Bobby Flay feels derivative, so does everything that Food Network airs nowadays. Only, this time it doesn’t get boring because they took the some ideas from both Iron Chef and Throwdown! and left the unnecessary exposition on the cutting room floor.

Of course, every show begins with a segment that introduces the chefs to viewers. Since Beat Bobby Flay is only a half hour, each chef of the two chefs competing in the first round gets about a minute to describe themselves, which means no long, dramatic life stories. Life stories are limited to “this is my cooking style, this is how and why I chose it, and this is how I developed it.” It’s a cooking show. No less would be kind of odd. Any more would border on tedious and risk veering into uninteresting.

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‘Cutthroat Kitchen’ Is ‘Chopped’ For Jerks

Cutthroat Kitchen is the food competition genre’s jump the shark moment. Food Network took the basic formula of Chopped and made some minor changes that cheapen the concept.

Chopped has four competitors take unusual ingredients and attempt to make the best dish possible. After each round, one person is eliminated. At the end of the third round, a winner is decided. Skill and creativity win Chopped. There is no sabotage. Cutthroat Kitchen‘s producers took one look at that format and said “forget skills, let’s give the contestants money and have them screw each other over repeatedly,” resulting in a show that targets the coveted aspiring sadist demographic and everyone else finds off-putting. Even if you find the concept intriguing, anyone with a conscience will watch five minutes and give up because they have standards.

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Good Food Trumps Good Marketing On ‘Food Court Wars’

Food Court Wars spiced up the Burnsville Mall’s food court with Slum Dogz and Pimento Jamaican Kitchen. Siblings Aaron Skoglund, who was adopted from India, and Kirsten Shabaz decided to create Slum Dogz as a tribute to Aaron’s Indian heritage. There concept centered around adding Indian flavors to hot dogs. Yoni Reinharz and Jamaican-born Tomme Beevas from Pimento Jamaican Kitchen were also bringing the heat with jerk chicken and other Jamaican specialties.

As usual, Day 1’s challenge involved trying to please an important group of mall goers. Tyler Florence announced that the two teams had to impress kids and their parents. Kids don’t like heat, so both teams attempted to tone down the spiciness in their signature dishes. Slum Dogz was a little more successful, but barely.

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‘Food Court Wars’: Chip N Wich vs Oasis

Chip-n-Wich’s Jonathan and Craig pose with Oasis’s Melania and Diana

If Food Court Wars taught viewers one thing, it’s that previous experience owning a restaurant does not guarantee an easy win. Like Taco Spot, Oasis’s Melania Paser and Diana Hadad, who owns World Cafe, faced stiff competition from newcomers Craig Jones and Jonathan Neely, who both have experience as line chefs and would like to get Chip-n-Wich off the ground.

Chip-n-Wich is the “sandwich with a crunch.” In layman’s terms, Craig and Jonathan place homemade potato chips on their sandwiches. It’s a good idea, but Team Chip-n-Wich need to stop passing it off as original because Bobby Flay and probably a million other people have done it first.

Oasis started off as food from every Mediterranean country, which was way too broad. With the help of Tyler Florence, Melania and Diana were able to narrow their menu down to solely Lebanese food.

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A ‘Food Court Wars’ Upset

Sarah and Tyler from Casual Joe’s

The Wausau Center Mall in Wausau, Wisconsin was home to the Food Court War between Casual Joe‘s and The Wrap Trap, which is now Carlie and Company. Tyler Sailsbery and Sarah Smith from Casual Joe’s want to give mall goers “A real taste of Wisconsin” with fried cheese curds and brats. The Wrap Trap’s Carlie Peterson & Brianna Shidell want to give shoppers a healthier alternative to standard food court fare.

Food Court Wars no longer features stories that pull at the heartstrings. This week there was one finding yourself story and one partner took everything after the split, so it looks like Food Network realized that normal life stories are good and make people relatable. Sob stories just make viewers feel bad for the contestants.

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