Somewhere out there, the Top Chefs of the world are sitting around sharing a massive chuckle about what idiots the contestants of new show Extreme Chefs are making of themselves. Either that, or they're suddenly feeling like major pansies.
Tonight, The Food Network premieres a new competition show in which cooking practically becomes a contact sport. Extreme Chef isn't just about making the best dish possible despite a mystery ingredient, a physical handicap, or some other now seemingly wussy curveball. On this show, chefs will be forced to slay rattlesnakes, or swim across small bodies of water to fetch ingredients, or whittle down a block of ice to get their proteins.
The big prize?
A measly $10,000, and the "glory" of the "Extreme Chef" title. Granted, it's doled out to the winner of each episode, but it seems like chump change next to the $100,000 Top Chef purse. Which leads us to wonder: is Extreme Chef going over the line? Sure, the whole point of cooking competition shows is to take chefs out of their comfort zones, but how far out? Maybe they'll succeed at MacGyvering some sort of dish using only a manicure kit, but is that really the mark of skilled chef? Just because someone will be dubbed the Bear Grylls of the Food Network, does that mean we should eat at their restaurant?
But maybe. Extreme Chef may not truly test cooking skills, but it certainly tests creativity. As L.A. chef Kristi Ritchey of Greenleaf says, "My experience at Extreme Chef really pushed me to think outside the box by taking me out of the kitchen and challenging me to face elements I've never encountered--like cooking in the pouring rain, using a hot car engine as a stove, or creating a dish out of ingredients that I couldn't even identify until I opened the cans."
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If nothing else, we know where we're going to eat when The Big One hits.
Extreme Chef premieres tonight, June 30th, at 10 p.m. on The Food Network. Check out the preview below:
Follow Ali Trachta on Twitter @MySo_CalLife.