Food Fighters takes the big kitchen feel of Iron Chef America and combines it with Throwdown/Beat Bobby Flay‘s underdog versus master chef formula. It’s derivative, but works well because it’s different enough. Unlike past shows, Food Fighters has the home chef compete against 5 different chefs with 5 different dishes. Each chef is worth a different dollar amount, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 with the possibility to double all winnings at the end. After the chef is announced, the contestant gets to choose which one of the remaining dishes will be made this round. At the beginning, it leads to interesting combinations like a seafood chef attempting a mango tart. Toward the end, you get a Latin chef making fish and quinoa, which would have been boring if Lorena Garcia wasn’t a firecracker.
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.