Another Sunday, another night of great television. Tonight we postponed the usual Showtime lineup to go a little less traditional route. After all, we do have a DVR and can save the premium cable for time-shifted viewing late into the night. In a bold yet tasteful move, we decided to indulge in food-based TV. Here is the lineup:
8:00PM America’s Next Great Restaurant (NBC)
The premise behind this show is that a cast of successful chefs and restauranteurs including Bobby Flay and Curtis Stone select a group of wannabes to develop their restaurant dreams into a reality. The aspiring owner with the best concept and food is rewarded with a chain of restaurants in three different cities in the U.S. funded by the four hosts’ oodles of money.
Why we watched:
1. Celebrity factor of Bobby Flay & Curtis Stone
2. Enormous payout for the winner
3. Unique concept of pitching a restaurant instead of the common format of owning the food. If Top Chef and The Apprentice were married, this would be their lovechild.
Overall, the show wasn’t bad and definitely an entertaining hour in an 8:00PM time slot that is a hard sell. Some of the aspiring owners did, however, seem a bit rough around the edges and I cannot say that I would be thrilled to invest in them as the hosts claim to be doing. Three monkeys hung around for the duration of this show giving it a score of three.
9:00 PM Chopped All-Stars (FOOD)
Now this show is cool. Instead of a cooking show that takes an entire season to yield a winner, Chopped has one every episode. Four chefs compete in a timed appetizer, entree and desert round and the chef with the worst dish is eliminated after each course. Add to the mixture that they have to cook using a mystery basket that can contain some of the most outrageous ingredients imaginable and you have great TV on your hands. Chopped All-Stars ups the ante featuring some of TV’s favorite cooking personalities testing their skills in the Chopped Kitchen. The format for Chopped All-Stars is four episodes of the preliminary rounds and then the winners of each episode face off in the finals to try to win $50,000 for a charity of their choice. Can’t go wrong with giving to charity.
Why we watched:
1. Instand gratification format of the show
2. High-stakes with familiar faces and chefs of the most excellent quality
3. Quirky and near-impossible challenges that the chefs don’t always succeed in
In terms of cooking shows, Chopped is a monkey favorite. It is high-energy, eccentric and brings food to an action-packed and frantic state. Unfortunately, it is not on the air in premieres as often as we would like. When it is, it has high attendance rates.
10:00 PM Iron Chef America (FOOD)
To close out this delicious night of viewing we watched the very popular Iron Chef America. Like Chopped, Iron Chef is an intense and timed battle between chefs. However, in this format it is a duel between only two culinary experts and usually these chefs are of the utmost skill. In many instances, Bobby Flay himself graces the ovens of kitchen stadium with his southwestern style. Moreover, each chef has to create an entire four course meal that is inspected under the critical buds of the judges. Iron Chef America is actually based off of a Japanese version of the same name that was adapted of U.S. TV.
Why we watched:
1. The skill and expertise of the chefs is literally mouthwatering
2. The production value and unique experience of watching the chefs battle it out in Kitchen Stadium, quite possibly America’s only cooking arena
3. The instant gratification of one of the chefs winning at the end similar to Chopped.
Although a great show, the timeslot falls into primetime homework space for a few of the Monkeys so only three were able to tune in this week. This is certainly a downfall of the 21-22 year old demographic and one that definitely needs to be taken into consideration.