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So We’re Doing Survivalism in Cooking Shows Now

“Chefs vs. Wild” throws chefs in the wilderness, asking them to source enough wild ingredients to create a fine dining meal

Man wearing baseball cap and hooded sweatshirt crouches near the ground, pulling something up from the dirt. Hulu

Right now, cooking competition shows feel like they’re in the midst of an arms race of absurdity. Each new show attempts to make the process of cooking even more challenging in its own unique way, like the switcheroo kitchens in Gordon Ramsay’s Next Level Chef, or the trompe l’oeil trickery of Is It Cake? But forthcoming series Chefs vs. Wild ups the ante significantly, challenging its contestants to hunt, fish, forage, and cook, all in the middle of nowhere.

In each episode of Chefs vs. Wild, produced by Leftfield Pictures and David Chang in conjunction with Vox Media Studios, two contestants will be helicoptered into remote locations where they’ll be tasked with sourcing enough wild ingredients to create a fine dining meal. (Vox Media Studios is part of Eater’s parent company, Vox Media. No Eater staff member is involved in the production of those shows, and this does not impact coverage on Eater.) The chefs are each paired up with a survivalist and outdoor expert, who will ostensibly be on hand to keep the chefs from killing themselves by accidentally eating poisonous mushrooms or falling into a ravine as they seek out oysters and seaweed and other edibles. Watch the trailer below:

Once they’ve sourced all their ingredients, the chefs will then head to a “wilderness kitchen,” where they’ll be tasked with preparing a meal for host Kiran Jethwa, a chef and adventurer in his own right, and wild foods expert Valerie Segrest. The judges then pick a winner, who takes home bragging rights and presumably all of their extremities after braving the elements.

The show’s contestants are all trained chefs, most of whom already have a strong interest in foraging, butchery, and other techniques that might be helpful in a competition like this. There’s Katie Coss, a Tulsa, Oklahoma native who formerly served as the executive chef at Sean Brock’s Husk in Nashville, and James Beard Award winner and author Alan Bergo, who spends his time foraging for plants and mushrooms in rural Wisconsin. Chefs vs. Wild premieres on Hulu on September 26.

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