CHEFS v. CITY (Las Vegas) Tonight On Food Network

The press release reads:

The Food Network’s newest series Chefs vs. City is an Amazing Race style culinary competition featuring Food Network chefs Aaron Sanchez and Chris Cosentino competing against local chefs in food-centric cities across the U.S.

The Las Vegas episode will premiere this Friday, August 14th at 10 p.m. EST and PST.

SEABLUE Executive Chef Stephen Hopcraft and Executive Pastry Chef Santanna Salas will go head to head against the Food Network chefs, in some crazy culinary competitions.

Get a sneak peek of the episode at MGM Grand’s SEABLUE on Friday, August 14th at 7 p.m.

What you will see when you tune in is truly crazy (and we’re not sure whether we mean that in a good way or not), as the two teams compete to see how far the Food Network will go in turning chefs and cooking into a spectator sport.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, ever since FN turned away from dump and stir programs (Rachel Ray, Sarah Moulton, Molto Mario, Emeril, et al) to more outrageous fare (Chopped, Guy Fieri, et al) its rating have soared.

And even though we may disdain the fake-reality nature of these competitions — and the pseudo-macho/melodramatic posturing that attends them (actually more of a Bravo plague than FN) — the Ted Allen show (Food Detectives) harkens back to Alton Brown at his best….so all is forgiven.

Chefs v. City takes place in seven “foodie” cities across America — with Vegas getting second billing after New York opened the run. In Friday’s episode, Stephen Hopcraft (Executive Chef at Michael Mina’s SeaBlue — the second best restaurant in town that no one goes to (Restaurant Charlie being number one) and Pastry Chef Santanna Salas match wits (and stomachs, livers and palates) with Aaron Sanchez (he of New York’s Centrico) and Chris Cosentino (of Frisco’s Incanto and Boccalone Meats), as they spend a day racing from one “challenge” to another.

“It’s the Amazing Race meets stomach,” was how Cosentino described it to us. “We get five bizarre challenges, and the winning team gets a clue as to the next event, which they then must complete successfully before heading on to the next one.”

“Like what for instance?” was ELV’s obvious question. They couldn’t/wouldn’t get specific about the Vegas show, but did tell us that in one of the episodes they have to pick out a specific flavor out of hundreds of candies in a candy store, and in another, they get to eat the world’s hottest curry made with the deadly Naga Jolokia (or King Cobra chile).

Not taking “no” for an answer, our staff did a little digging to find out just what the challenges were for the Vegas competition and here they are:

-Mixing and drinking cocktails at Minus 5;

-Making apple juice at Gilcrease Orchard;

-Eating 100 items off the Bellagio Buffet (yikes!);

-Duplicating items off the MGM Signature room service menu and;

-Re-creating a Burger Bar burger blindfolded.

Gosh, do ya think that maybe, just maybe, the MGM-Mirage p.r. folks had just a teensy-weensy hand in this production?

As you may know, it takes a good 12-16 hour day to shoot one of these episodes on reality TV. The whole thing is then sliced and diced into the one hour show.

“Not being able to run through the casinos,” was the thing most unique to the Vegas filming according to Sanchez, and even though he and his running partner are (no doubt) contractually bound not to reveal any details about each show, we at ELV are under no such constraints.

But in the spirit of good, commercially viable, pseudo-reality television competitions everywhere, we shall (for once) keep our piehole shut about who wins.

But, being an unabashed homer, we will say this: Go Santanna go!

10 thoughts on “CHEFS v. CITY (Las Vegas) Tonight On Food Network

  1. So I guess this will be one long infomercial for MGM-Mirage? I don’t blame them. We need the tourists!

    But my gawd, can Food Network ever come up with an original concept any more? It seems everything’s either another “celebrity chef” spinoff (another Paula Deen show, another Bobby Flay show, etc.) or another knockoff of another network’s show. Whatever happened to real cooking shows or interesting food/travel shows?

  2. Btw, what I’m really looking forward to watching is the new season of “Top Chef”. Bravo seems to master the “highbrow trash” reality shows, so I’m sure this season will be packed with extra Sin City drama. ;-)

  3. I actually liked the show and didn’t see it as a shill piece for MGM Mirage at all, and I don’t think the average viewer would have seen it in that way.

    Trust me, I’ve been a vocal critic of Food Network in many a written piece, but I liked this episode, especially the apple challenge. I’m sure many viewers were surprised to realize that there’s a beautiful apple orchard in the Las Vegas area. That challenge alone took the show out of the basic “The Amazing Race,” format and made the show interesting for me.

    I don’t think this show has the legs to endure a long race, last week’s opener in New York was terribly uninspired. But if the producer’s are smart enough to throw in a few challenges in each show that have some semblance of food-relatededness to them, aka the apple challenge, it may give the show enough interest to keep going.

    Let’s just hope it doesn’t spiral downward into weeks of watching some fat guy on Travel Channel eating another 10lb. steak.

  4. This show was boring and pointless. It was in fact an hour long spot for MGM-Mirage properties, but that wouldn’t matter if the show was interesting.

  5. I thought it was fun. Especially enjoyed watching the blind tasting, and the win for the home team didn’t hurt. Probably won’t watch the upcoming cities though.

  6. Meh. Another Food Network so-so show. I still can’t wait for “Top Chef: Las Vegas”. The show may be trashy reality at times, but at least it’s more entertaining and offers more real recipes worth trying.

  7. The show was so-so, not a real attention grabber. I did think it showed Vegas well, even if it was all MGM properties. It did make me want to eat at the Bellagio Buffet, I thought the desserts looked great. I felt sorry for all the chefs & how much they had to eat. Santana was the bright spot of the whole show, I felt sorry for her – when she had to eat things she didn’t like at the buffet. I would keep watching future shows, sometimes it takes a while for a new show to find it’s groove. Nothing beats Top Chef.

  8. This show was fun for me to watch because I got my Las Vegas fix from it. BTW, how is Seablue?

  9. i know this is not exactly on topic, but i have a blog using the blogengine platform as well and i’m having issues with my comments displaying. is there a setting i am forgetting? maybe you could help me out? thank you.

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