Details are in on the Jamie Oliver-produced BBC America show, Chef Race: UK vs US: first of all, it premieres on October 2 at 9:00PM ET, although there is a "special preview" on September 29 at 10:00PM. So, pick one? Anyway, Chef Race pits a group of British chefs against a group of American ones as they race across the country from Los Angeles to New York doing things like cooking entire bisons. It stars a bunch of chefs that are likely unfamiliar to American audiences — with the possible exception of Sugar Ray drummer Stan Frazier, who is apparently a "a passionate home cook." It's unclear whether Jamie Oliver ever actually appears on the show; it's hosted by Claire Robinson of the Food Network's 5 Ingredient Fix and British restaurateur Richard Corrigan.
The full list of contestants, a summary of the first four episodes, and much more is included in the press release below. There's also a preview that reveals the fact that the chefs all wear bandanas with their flags on them, and also one British chef tells an American, "We have morals. Obviously you Americans don't." Fun.
Video: Chef Race: U.K. vs U.S. Preview
BBC AMERICA'S NEW ORIGINAL SERIES FROM EXECUTIVE PRODUCER JAMIE OLIVER, CHEF RACE: U.K. vs. U.S., PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 29
British and American chefs race coast to coast competing for $100,000 grand prize
New York – September 4, 2012 – BBC AMERICA to premiere its new original series from Executive Producer Jamie Oliver, Chef Race: U.K. vs. U.S., with two back-to-back episodes on Tuesday, October 2. Ahead of the premiere, BBC AMERICA will present a special preview of the first episode on Saturday September 29, 10:00pm ET, following the mid-season finale of Doctor Who. Chef Race: U.K. vs. U.S. premieres with two back-to-back episodes on Tuesday October 2, 9:00pm ET and 10:00pm ET. The series continues in its regular timeslot on Tuesday, October 9, 10:00pm ET.
Chef Race: U.K. vs. U.S. pits 16 chefs – eight Brits versus eight Americans – against each other as they race across the country using their culinary skills and business savvy in the hopes of winning a grand prize of $100,000 dollars. Michelin-starred London restaurateur, Richard Corrigan (Masterchef), serves as a mentor and judge and Claire Robinson (5 Ingredient Fix) hosts the new original series.
Jamie Oliver, Executive Producer, Fresh One says: "The restaurant business is one of the toughest in the world and to be successful in it these days takes so much more than just being able to cook. You've got to have a good business sense, vision, leadership and so much more. This series is the first time that anyone has really dug deep into what it takes to be successful and it's going to take an incredible individual to win it."
The race starts on the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, where Team U.K. and Team U.S. are stripped of their cash and credit cards and challenged to cook to survive, prosper and win. In the 10 one-hour episodes, the teams battle coast to coast from Los Angeles to New York City, with the chefs living off their cooking skills, resourcefulness, ingenuity, leadership and finesse to survive and make it to their next destination. They'll need to make enough cash, and maybe a few friends, in order to make it to the next checkpoint. In the beginning, they will work as teams and cook to turn a profit. The team with the biggest profit moves on and the losing team faces team member elimination by way of a cook-off. In the end there will only be one winner.
The chefs range in experience – from working in Michelin-starred restaurants to having studied at prestigious culinary institutes to no formal training at all. The 4,000 mile road trip has them competing in Los Angeles – Albuquerque and Sante Fe, New Mexico – Grand Mesa, Colorado – Dodge City, Kansas – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Fort Smith, Arkansas – Memphis, Tennessee – St. Louis, Missouri – Springfield and Chicago, Illinois – Detroit, Michigan – Bedford, Ohio – Baltimore, Maryland and New York City.
From dealing with an entire bison in New Mexico, fishing in the Great Lakes and maneuvering a mobile pizza oven in Chicago to tackling serious barbeque in Memphis and whipping up their best crab cake in Maryland, these chefs must prove they've got what it takes when thrust into the rich diversity of American cuisine. Not only will they have to prove their culinary weight, they'll be forced to stay formidable against teammates with big egos and sharp tongues. Resourcefulness, ingenuity, leadership and finesse will be just as important on their 4,000 mile adventure as the tastiness of their delectable creations.
Chef Race: U.K. vs.. U.S. is produced by Fresh One Productions for BBC AMERICA. Jamie Oliver (Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution), Amy Chacon (The Amazing Race), Stef Wagstaffe (Undercover Boss), Roy Ackerman (Reagan, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution), Sebastian Grant (Lilly Allen and Friends) and Jo Ralling (Jamie's American Road Trip) serve as executive producers for Fresh One Productions.
EPISODE 1 – VEGAS OR BUST
Two mighty nations, Team U.K. and Team U.S. face off in the ultimate on-the-road culinary challenge as the two teams of eight chefs cook their way across the country from Los Angeles to New York City. First stop is Las Vegas via the mining town of Calico. In this episode, the teams are given no money, no credit cards and no ingredients. With only their chef knifes, they must barter and trade their services to advance them over land to Las Vegas. Team U.K. goes to its roots, hosting a high tea in Los Angeles, but will they self-destruct before a single person shows up? Meanwhile, Team U.S.'s bold attempt to prepare a sushi dinner for a family in the bathroom of a Las Vegas hotel may yield high dividends. The team that makes the most money will be the winning team, and the losers must sacrifice three chefs to a cook-off where one losing chef will be sent home. Episode 1 premieres Tuesday, October 2, 9:00pm ET. BBC AMERICA will present a preview on Saturday, September 29, 10:00pm ET.
EPISODE 2 – BISON BATTLE
Team U.K. and Team U.S. are each given an incredible cooking ingredient in New Mexico: an entire bison – 400 pounds worth. Their goal is to sell all of the meat at the highest price they can muster before they reach the finish line in Santa Fe. The Brits have wild animal chefs on board who quickly rise to the occasion. But can the Americans overcome dissension within the ranks and agree upon a leader? Cody rises to the challenge, but not everyone likes him. The finish line is explosive. Episode 2 premieres Tuesday, October 2, 10:00pm ET.
EPISODE 3 – KILL IT, COOK IT, EAT IT
10,000 acres of Colorado wilderness becomes the kitchen for the chefs. Team U.K. and Team U.S. must hunt, fish and forage to make the meal of a lifetime for locals. The Brits are led by forager Mark who feels right at home, but some Brits have no clue about living off the land. Meanwhile, former Marine sharp shooter Ronaldo hunts prairie dogs and whips up a recipe for a prairie dog stew. It's anyone's guess which team will satisfy the locals' cravings. Episode 3 premieres Tuesday, October 9, 10:00pm ET.
EPISODE 4 – FOREIGN EXCHANGE
The teams travel to the great western frontier town of Dodge City, Kansas. Tables are literally turned as the teams are challenged to each cook six classic dishes from each other's country. Can Team U.S. figure out what on earth "Spotted Dick" is? And, British chef Carlo, who has lived in the States for years, becomes the secret weapon for Team U.K. with his Louisiana gumbo. Episode 4 premieres Tuesday, October 16, 10:00pm ET.
Details on all remaining episodes will be released on a later date.
Richard Corrigan – Mentor
Richard Corrigan is the chef owner of Corrigan Restaurants which operates Bentley's and Corrigan's Mayfair in London. Richard spent four years cooking in the Netherlands before progressing to become head chef of Mulligan's in Mayfair, London. His first Michelin star was awarded when he was head chef at Stephen Bull's in 1994. He continued with his own venture, Lindsay House in Soho, and won a Michelin star in 1997. Richard bought the world famous oyster and seafood restaurant Bentley's in 2005.
Corrigan's Mayfair rose to ecstatic acclaim in 2009. The restaurant was named London Restaurant of the Year 2008/2009 by the Evening Standard, awarded AA London Restaurant of the Year, and gained the Highest New Entry in the National Restaurant Awards at No5 and 3 AA Rosettes within the first three months.
In recent years Richard has prepared lunch at 10 Downing Street for Tony Blair, the King & Queen of Jordan, been crowned winner of the BBC's Great British Menu three times and appeared on BBC 2's MasterChef.. Richard also won the recent Great British Waste Menu special, airing to more than seven million on BBC 1. Richard is the author of "The Clatter of Forks and Spoons," a personal history of growing up in Ireland and recipes inspired by his rural upbringing.
Chef Race: U.K. vs. U.S. will see host, Claire Robinson, combine her two passions in life - food and television. Claire grew up in a household where cooking held a prominent place. Influenced by her French-speaking grandmother, and her well travelled mother, Claire says her love of food is a joy that has been passed through many generations.
Born in Jacksonville, Fla. Claire and her family settled in Memphis, Tennessee where Claire graduated from The University of Memphis in 1999 with a B.A. in Communications. In 2002, Claire moved to New York to pursue her true ambition in cooking. She attended The French Culinary Institute and graduated in 2005. Claire then spent time as a private chef as well as a culinary producer on various television series including Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello and Everyday Baking for Everyday Food. But her talents in front of the camera quickly became apparent.
Her television experience includes 5 Ingredient Fix – where Claire proves delicious dishes only need five ingredients or fewer to make cooking easier, faster and irresistible. As well as Food Network Challenge, a showcase of the biggest and best food battles around the world. She also writes extensively for food magazines and has her own cookery book entitled '5 Ingredient Fix' to accompany the series.
Caroline Mi Li Artiss is one of the first TV chef's to be discovered on YouTube in the U.K. Her passion for food and making cooking easy, enjoyable and accessible has quickly led to Caroline accumulating a large online following. Her career wasn't reaching the heights she hoped for, so she decided to produce her own cooking show from her kitchen, paying friends with food in exchange for equipment and technical knowledge. Mom to an 11 year old, Caroline has been cooking for 16 years and trained to become a chef at Thames Valley University in London. Her passion for adventure and cooking is what inspired her to go for Chef Race: U.K. vs. U.S.
Samantha has cooked on the ocean liner QE2, and at some of the most prestigious London establishments like the Garrick Club and Grosvenor House. She has also cooked for many famous people including professional soccer players, the Queen and Margaret Thatcher. Since 2000, she's been running her own business, the Crow's Nest, in Felixstowe, Suffolk, England – some might say a considerable step down from the prestigious kitchens of her past... as it's a burger van. Sam has always harbored a desire to get back to "proper cooking" and sees this as her perfect opportunity. After raising two sons with her husband Michael, she's ready for a new adventure.
With no formal training, Ed is an incredibly experienced and passionate cook. He first started cooking professionally when he was 15 and worked at the local pub. Since then he's worked for a friend's catering company for six years, as well as being an assistant manager of an up-market delicatessen in trendy Clapham district in London. Not just a whiz in the kitchen, Ed is a talented pianist and a keen painter, putting his History of Art degree to use in his spare time. Although mild-mannered and creative, Ed admits that he can be fiery – particularly when fellow chefs are not meeting his standards. The idea of combining travel across America with his love for cooking is what inspired him to be part of the show.
Mark grew up on the border of Northumberland, England and Scotland. With no formal training, he got his first big culinary break at the age of 21 when he covered for a sick chef at his friend's restaurant in Spain. He ended up staying there for nearly four years. After Spain, he worked as a Sous Chef at the Cow and Plough in Leicester, England, where he started a trading scheme with the locals; swapping the pub's home brewed beer for game, food from allotments, excess meat from farms and anything else to help produce a great menu. Mark currently lives in Oxfordshire, England with his partner, but staying true to his hunting roots, Mark now runs wild foraging courses. Chef, forager and wild food expert, Mark Lloyd has more than 20 years experience of cooking with wild, foraged, seasonal British produce and will put this skill to good use for the competition.
Having worked in the catering world for more than twenty years, Johnnie Mountain, originally from England's North West, finally found his true vocation in 1994 when he started working in restaurant kitchens and instantly knew that's where he belonged. In 1995, Johnnie worked as Sous Chef at Café Dell Ugo before joining The Vine in Kentish Town, London. Johnnie got married in 2000 and opened his first restaurant in Wood Green, a district in north London, and has since gone on to open his latest venture, The English Pig - a restaurant in the city where he is now a permanent fixture. Johnnie is unpredictable and certainly doesn't suffer fools gladly. He's worked hard to achieve the success he has, and refuses to be belittled or patronized by anyone. Conquering a challenge and his fierce competitiveness inspired him to participate in Chef Race: U.K. vs. U.S.
Rebecca is the young chef that everyone will want in their kitchens. At the tender age of 19, she's already won a treasure trove of awards including the coveted Apprentice of the Year from the Craft Guild of Chefs. Rebecca's career began when she did an apprenticeship at the famous Westminster Kingsway College in London. As a Commis chef, she worked in every aspect of the kitchen and honed some priceless skills. Having worked in famous restaurants such as Rules, London's oldest restaurant, as well as the Hilton Park Lane and Gavlin - a Michelin-starred restaurant - Rebecca is primed to take on the competition. She is determined to succeed in whatever she does and is full of energy, funny stories, and is wise beyond her years. Rebecca's reason for being part of Chef Race: U.K. vs. U.S. – "life should be full of adventures and I want as many as I can get."
Sophie got her first kitchen job at the age of 15. At 19, she was nominated for the Craft Guild of Chefs 'Young Chef of the Year Award', one of her proudest acheivements, and has since worked at some of London's most glamarous restaurants - including the Michelin-starred Lanesborough. She has been a private chef to supermodels, movie stars and heads of state and has made several tv appearances, including judging the U.S Iron Chef series. More recently Sophie has been writing books but feels she's lost touch with real cooking, and isn't getting much satisfaction from staring at a computer screen for months on end. She says cooking is her main focus and solace and joined Chef Race: U.K. vs. U.S. to prove that she's still got it, to herself, the competitors, and the world.
Carlo Peretti was raised in the North of England. A Yorkshire boy, he received his initial training at Thomas Danby's Culinary School in Leeds, England. At 25 he moved to America and now has dual nationality. Based in the state of New York, Carlo was Executive Chef at the Esperanza Mansion and Thendara Inn & Restaurant, and now works with the New York Wine & Culinary Center. His relationships with local growers and producers in the region is used to further enhance the New York Wine & Culinary Center's mission as an educational and experiential gateway to New York State's incredible wine, food and culinary industries. Chef Carlo's national and international experience, passion and creativity add a unique flair to using local ingredients and prove essential to winning the race.
Ferocious and combustible, Robin is social napalm. Hugely competitive both inside and out of the kitchen, Robin is set to make it to New York, and nothing will stop her. After finishing high school, Robin went straight to the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She worked in fine dining restaurants in Raleigh, North Carolina before packing up and moving to California. While there she worked as a private chef to a professional hockey player as well as providing food services for companies and families. Robin then set up a catering company with her best friend and business partner Brian Dobbin. Together they produced high-end, boutique style catering for events and private functions and were featured on TV Series, Top This Party. A fierce competitor, don't mess with Robin or she'll eat you for breakfast.
Pippa is the Michelin star of Chef Race: U.K. vs. U.S. Throughout her career, which started when she was 14, she has worked in three Michelin-starred kitchens in New York City, Italy and Los Angeles - about which she states "I can truly tell you that each and every one of these experiences was a survival sport". Pippa trained at Peter Kump's New York Cooking School, the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners in Italy, and Beringer School for American Chefs in California and has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, Chopped and more. Having worked under many prestigious chefs, she has had training of the highest calibre. Pippa can also live by her wits having had to depend on her cooking skills and the kindness of strangers after leaving an apprenticeship in Italy. Her proudest moment is receiving a glowing review in the New York Times, and it's the idea of conquering a new challenge that inspired her to be part of the show.
Stan Frazier is the competitions wild card. Not a professional chef, but a drummer in the rock band Sugar Ray, he has been playing and touring with the band for 24 years. However, Stan is more than just a musician, he is also a passionate home cook - and his love of food and all things culinary is as strong as his love of music. Having been on tour for more than 15 years, Stan has hustled around the world. After growing sick of all the 'backstage deli-tray hell' he started pulling meals together for all his friends and band mates on the road. He describes himself aspart Keith Moon, a pinch of Jamie Oliver, and a splash of Will Ferrell'. Stan also part owns a restaurant in Newport Beach and describes himself as a 'sort of misfit' in the food world. But his passion and his ability to create something from nothing makes him an invaluable addition to Chef Race: U.K. vs.. U.S. He sums it up perfectly when he says "I'm not classically trained but have a few decades of street experience"
Phoebe is the girl next door who loves nothing more than cooking and feeding friends and family. She started cooking at the age of seven when she opened 'Phoebe's Restaurant' – a greasy spoon restaurant at her grandparent's house. Born and bred in New York City, where she continues to live and eat, she is now a cookbook author, private chef, and caterer. Phoebe founded a food website in 2008 called Big Girls, Small Kitchens to inspire fellow twenty-something's to get into the kitchen and start cooking. Her first cookbook "In the Small Kitchen" is based on the website concept and was published by Harper Collins in May 2010. As part of the Big Girls, Small Kitchen team, Phoebe is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Serious Eats, the Daily Meal, LearnVest and Shape Magazine. The recipes and cookbook have also been featured in the New York Daily News, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, and Glamour Magazine - something Phoebe is very proud of. But fellow chefs shouldn't take her sweet nature for weakness. She's determined to make it to her home, New York, and will use all her charm to hustle her way there.
Ronaldo Linares is all about heart and showing "la gente" (people) how his passion for Latin-inspired cuisine promotes love, life, and happiness. After moving to the states 20 years ago, his father's restaurant Martino's Cuban Restaurant was born. Ronaldo worked at the restaurant during his teens in order to stay out of trouble and is still the executive chef and part owner. His culinary skills are a result of formal training, self-teaching, and guidance from his father. A stint in the Marine Corps and graduating with high honors from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York, Ronaldo believes Chef Race: U.K. vs. U.S. is the perfect opportunity to push him to the limit, and to prove his peers that 'he's still got it.' This natural born leader who will always go above and beyond to get the job done is tough, strong and determined, but underneath all of this he has huge heart and is willing to give everything he's got to make it to the finish line.
Charming, personable and charismatic, Don Peavy (aka Don PV), is the catering powerhouse who will bring a bit of flare to Chef Race: U.K. vs. U.S. He currently lives in the heart of New York and is a 'party chef' for a large events and catering firm in the city, as well as a private cook. Initially Don wanted to follow his dream as a performance artist, and worked in restaurants to make ends meet, however it wasn't long before his culinary adventure took over and he left dreams of Hollywood behind. Don has done it all from being a sous chef in a raw vegan kitchen to chef-ing at Jersey Shore's most popular steak and seafood restaurant but is mostly proud to have cooked for many famous people including Madonna, Oprah and President Obama. Don is thrilled to be involved in Chef Race: U.K. vs. U.S., as he says"adventure is what I'm all about and if it includes food, even bette'. "
'Sweet as Pie' Bianca Rose is the owner of Sweet Dreams, a gourmet dessert delivery and catering company based in Los Angeles. As a young girl, Bianca Rose used her wild imagination when she pretended that the garden window was a television camera as she joyfully demonstrated her culinary creations using the ingredient, she believes, is most important, love. Having left a successful career as a creative executive in the entertainment industry, Bianca decided to make changes in her life and pursue her passion for cooking. Leaving her job, she started at Le Cordon Bleu and has never looked back. Since qualifying, she took a leap of faith to make her dreams come true and now her passion for culinary art and specifically the world of baking burns hotter than any convection oven. Having set up her successful business, Bianca is now turning her attention to her other great love, TV. She believes that Chef Race: U.K. vs. U.S. will combine her favorite things - food, film, and faith.
Cody Utzman is 'Mr. Seen it All and Done It All'. Since becoming a cook at 17 years old, he has travelled the globe using his culinary skills to get from place to place. Cody graduated from college after a two year culinary course when his real journey began. Throughout his travels, Cody says that "cooking has been his corner stone of his adventures and given him the chance to experience culture, people and places." After serving as a private Chef in Boston, Cody returned to New York nearly seven years ago and has gone on to open several restaurants. Surprisingly, moving to New York has been his toughest challenge yet. He says "unlike any other place in the world, rarely forgiving and never patient, New York City will eat a young chef alive." Extremely proud of his achievements, Cody believes opening his restaurant empire has been the ultimate test of his strength and hopes to use his determination and drive to win the competition.
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