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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The two teams had very different motivations for wanting a kiosk at Spartanburg, South Carolina’s WestGate Mall. The Taco Spot’s owner, V.J., and his store manager, Michael, want to expand past their current two locations. If they win the mall space, Michael will get to own a Taco Spot location. The Tirados, Trish and her daughter Jenn, want to move up in the world. Prior to the Food Court Wars, Trish and Jenn sold their empanadas out of a food cart.
Food Court Wars, hosted by Tyler Florence, is another competition show from Food Network. The show is nothing more than several self-contained episodes that are all condensed versions of the The Great Food Truck Race‘s final season, when teams with no prior experience running a food truck were given one. Instead of having eight teams compete for a full season, Food Court Wars has two teams compete for one episode with the winner receiving a food court restaurant free from rent for a year.