Wowzers there's a lot of food television happening on Sunday. Three new shows are premiering: Chopped All-Stars on the Food Network; Mark Bittman's The Minimalist on the Cooking Channel; and America's Next Great Restaurant on NBC. Let's have a quick look:
Chopped All-Stars: Food Network, Sunday 9pm/8c (Official site)
It's a "Food Network event"! Well, in that it's just like the regular Chopped series except with Food Network stars and chefs. It's a total of five episodes: Four rounds with different contestants and then a finale with the winners from each round.
Sunday night's theme is "People From the Next Food Network Star You Haven't Heard From in a While" and features Brad Sorenson (season six), Debbie Lee (five), Lisa Garza (four), and Michael Proietti (five). If you've never watched NFNS you will have not a clue who these people are. Next week is more celebrity-oriented, though, with Food Network personalities Anne Burrell, Claire Robinson, Duff Goldman, and Robert Irvine. Something to look forward to? Here's a video teaser:
The Minimalist: Cooking Channel, Sunday 10:30am (Official site)
New York Times columnist, op-ed writer, and cookbook author Mark Bittman is no stranger to television, having done a bunch of shows on PBS (Bittman Takes on America's Chefs, The Best Recipes in the World, and Spain... on the Road Again), but this is his first commercial foray.
Back in 2009, Bittman wrote a screed calling cooking shows on TV "charades" because "nearly every ingredient is usually prepared in advance" and "it's all taped" and "doesn't take place in real time." And word is that his Cooking Channel show is actually repackaged videos from his New York Times Minimalist series, so how that'll work out is anyone's guess. It's not like they sent us a screener or anything. Here's a video teaser:
America's Next Great Restaurant: NBC, Sunday 8/7c (Official site)
Hey now, NBC is trying to get back into the food reality TV genre after the horrible, miserable 2009 flop that was Chopping Block with Marco Pierre White (it was cancelled after a mere three episodes).
This time around it's America's Next Great Restaurant — ANGR for short — a sort of Shark Tank/American Idol-hybrid with contestants vying to win investments in their restaurant chain concept. The judges (and investors) are chef/restaurateur Bobby Flay, TV personality/chef Curtis Stone, founder, chairman, and co-CEO of Chipotle Steve Ells, and chef/restaurateur/media personality and Nestle and Splenda spokesperson Lorena Garcia. Initial reviews have been pretty positive (see NPR, the LA Times, and the Boston Globe), so that's something. Here's to hoping it stays on the air longer than three episodes.
Here's a video preview:
Iron Chef America: Food Network, Sunday 10pm/9c (Official site)
And while we're at it, there's a new episode of Iron Chef America airing Sunday night, too: Facing off are Iron Chef Michael Symon and Emma Hearst, chef of Sorella restaurant in NYC. Hearst was named Eater NY's Hottest Chef back in 2009 and apparently is the youngest challenger ever to enter Kitchen Stadium. Will that maybe be a liability?