A new batch of chefs is joining the Food Network later this month, but they won't be doing much cooking. Instead, the group of chefs deemed "fat" will be a part of Fat Chef, a Biggest Loser-type program, focusing on helping twelve professional chefs lose weight while improving their mental and physical health. It doesn't sound like the show will be competitive, though, a-la-Biggest Loser.
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The program premieres on Jan. 26 and will run for six episodes. Former Loser coach Brett Hoebel, nutritionist Christine Avanti and fitness expert Robert Brace are slated to coach the participants over the course of four months. It's not clear whether any other health gurus will be added to the mix. Each week, two of the twelve chefs will be profiled as they work with the coaches.
In a blurb from their press release, Food Network described the "Michael/Melba" episode:
Michael Mignano is a 36-year-old, morbidly obese pastry chef from Long Island with a dangerous fast food addiction. As he hovers around 500 pounds, his life and health are in dire straits. Meanwhile, Harlem soul food maven Melba Wilson is a single mom wrestling with obesity of her own, as she deprives herself during the day and binges at night. Both blame their extreme weight on long hours, stress, and constant temptation synonymous with the food industry. Their weight is putting their lives in serious danger. Now they are doing something about it - following them over sixteen weeks, Michael and Melba attempt to reassess their relationships to food. With the help of Robert Brace working with Michael and Christine Avanti working with Melba, these chefs will try to lose 25% of their body weight and regain control of their lives.
Food Network seems to continue toying with it's typical programming by airing a show like Fat Chef. Another new show, Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, pits celebrity chefs on two teams against one another and is pulling in record ratings. But we're on Rachael and Guy overload, so hopefully Fat Chef is a bit tamer than seeing the rapper Coolio taking cooking lessons from raspy Rachael Ray.