Food Network announces two Bobby Flay shows: ‘Bobby’s Triple Threat’ and ‘Bobby and Sophie on the Coast’

August 18, 2022

Sophie Flay and Bobby Flay in “Bobby and Sophie on the Coast” (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

The following is a combination of press releases from Food Network:

Culinary icon Bobby Flay and daughter Sophie Flay are taking a delicious food tour across the sunny California coastline in the new three-episode series, Bobby and Sophie on the Coast, premiering Monday, August 22, 2022, at 9pm ET/PT on Food Network. In each one-hour episode, Bobby and Sophie explore Los Angeles, with its year-round sunshine and local ingredients that make the city a treasure trove for the best restaurants and chefs. From the glamorous Hollywood establishments to the urban revival of Downtown LA’s hot new eateries, Bobby and Sophie are on a mission to enjoy the most inventive and delectable cuisine the city has to offer. And with so much inspiration, Bobby can’t resist using the very local ingredients to cook up his own dishes for Sophie. It’s the ultimate coastal culinary adventure, Bobby and Sophie-style!

Food Network icon Bobby Flay is one of the best chefs on the planet and a master in the culinary arena, having spent his life competing at the highest level of cuisine. Now, Bobby has created the toughest culinary competition yet on the new six-episode primetime series Bobby’s Triple Threat, premiering Tuesday, September 27, 2022, at 9pm ET/PT. In each one-hour episode, one extraordinarily talented and eager chef is challenged to go against the trio of culinary titans handpicked by Bobby himself for a chance to take home $25,000. The stakes couldn’t be higher, as Bobby celebrates and tests the most talented chefs in America. This is Bobby’s game and Bobby’s chefs, and there’s only one rule: it’s all or nothingFans can also watch Bobby’s Triple Threat on discovery+, with new episodes available to stream weekly starting September 27, 2022.

Bobby Flay and chef Jonathon Sawyer in “Bobby’s Triple Threat” (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

At the start of each episode, one competitor enters Bobby’s secret kitchen armed with their expertise and drive to take on the culinary titans selected by Bobby  – Tiffany Derry, Michael Voltaggio and Brooke Williamson – in three head-to-head rounds. In the first two rounds, Bobby picks the main ingredients that the chefs must emphasize in their dishes, as the competitor selects which titan to face off with. The last round features the competitor picking the ingredients to incorporate, while going against the last remaining titan. All the while, one discerning guest judge blind taste tests the dishes at the end of every round. If the competitor can out-cook the titans and earn more points with their cumulative score, they take home bragging rights over the titans, earning the cash prize.

Added Flay, “I have spent my entire career opening restaurants and battling in the toughest culinary competitions, but on Triple Threat I have the chance to call all the shots, inviting the most talented chefs into my secret kitchen to take on my titans. You want to be the best; you must get through my triple threat.”

“Bobby Flay has done it again, bringing his creativity and magnetism to celebrate the most talented chefs on the planet. Viewers will witness next level culinary skills while leaning in to see if Bobby’s titans can prevent the competitors from walking away with the grand prize,” said Jane Latman, President, Home & Food Content and Streaming, Warner Bros. Discovery.  

Check out Food Network’s social pages to tour the kitchen set with Bobby and get to know the titans and the competing chefs in all-new interviews. Plus, get exclusive recipes from Brooke, Michael and Tiffany and learn their expert tricks of the trade that help them succeed in battle. Fans can join the conversation on social using #BobbysTripleThreat and browse photos and videos at FoodNetwork.com/BobbysTripleThreat.

Food Network debuts ‘Guy’s Ultimate Game Night,’ a food game show hosted by Guy Fieri

July 22, 2022

Guy Fieri (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

The following is a press release from Food Network:

It’s all fun and games as host and Executive Producer Guy Fieri welcomes his celebrity and chef friends to the Flavortown Lounge for outrageously fun and entertaining food-inspired games on Guy’s Ultimate Game Night,  premiering on Wednesday, August 31, 2022, at 9pm ET/PT on Food Network and discovery+. The new game show puts a culinary twist on classic party games as the celebrity contestants compete in front of a live studio audience for the chance to win prizes for their favorite charity. Chef Antonia Lofaso assists with all the action of the competition, as the celebrities play with food in the hands-on challenge and test their culinary knowledge with trivia and word puzzles. They must stay on their toes as they never know what Guy will throw their way. Let the games begin!

“If you put a game show, late night talk show, and a food competition show in a blender, you get Guy’s Ultimate Game Night,” said Fieri. “It’s the best dinner party you’ve ever been to…filled with food, booze, off-the-hook games and the funkiest live soundtrack around.”

Guy’s Ultimate Game Night is a culinary game show unlike any other. Audiences will love playing along at home, trying to guess the answers, and will pick up new food facts too,” said Jane Latman, President, Home & Food Content and Streaming, Warner Bros. Discovery. “We get to join the party and enjoy the hilarious games led by the game master himself, Guy Fieri.”

In each episode, three celebrity teams compete in five rounds of games that are all about food, from Cooktionary, where they must guess the food item Guy and Antonia draw, to Dish Pics, where they must solve a picture puzzle of images that when correctly combined represents a popular dish. There is also Some Assembly Required, where the celebrities must use their creativity in challenges from designing pizza that looks like Guy, to blindly decorating cakes, and to constructing houses made from breakfast ingredients. Plus, there are wild games of Hot Potato, Charade the Pantry, Cloche Encounters, and Shop ‘Til You Drop.

Guy’s Ultimate Game Night contestants include chef Nyesha Arrington, actress Lauren Ash, chef Maneet Chauhan, actor Ben Feldman, actress Vivica A. Fox, television host Kevin Frazier, comedian Ron Funches, actor Billy Gardell, sports reporter Jay Glazer, television host Matt Iseman, magicians Penn Jillette and Teller, chef Troy Johnson, television personality Carson Kressley, actress Natasha Leggero, Olympian Tara Lipinski, comedian Cheech Marin, television personality Ross Matthews, chef  Aaron May, television host Maria Menounos, musician Brett Michaels, actress  Alyssa Milano, comedian Bobby Moynihan, actress Francia Raisa, filmmaker Kevin Smith, television host Charissa Thompson, chef Jet Tila, television host Nischelle Turner, DJ tWitch, chef Michael Voltaggio, Olympian Johnny Weir, comedian Kym Whitley, and musician Carnie Wilson.

Fans can play along with the games at home and watch the celebrity guests compete in additional challenges at FoodNetwork.com/GuysUltimateGameNight. Follow #GuysUltimateGameNight on social media to find out which games are Guy’s and Antonia’s favorites.

Guy’s Ultimate Game Night is produced by Knuckle Sandwich and Lando Entertainment for Food Network and discovery+.

Food Network announces series: ‘No-Recipe Road Trip With the Try Guys,’ Tabitha Brown-hosted ‘It’s CompliPlated,’ and ‘Ree Drummon-hosted ‘Big Bad Budget Battle’

July 21, 2022

Zach Kornfeld,  Eugene Lee Yang, Ned Fulmer and Keith Habersberger (also known as The Try Guys) in “No-Recipe Road Trip with the Try Guys” (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

The following is a combination of press releases from Food Network:

With millions of followers and a loyal fanbase, comedy group The Try Guys, including Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, Zach Kornfeld and Eugene Lee Yang, are well-known for their curiosity, humor and willingness to try anything under the sun, often with hilarious results.  The four fearless best friends and business partners also love food and trying to cook new dishes with zero instruction and in No-Recipe Road Trip with the Try Guys, (premiering Wednesday, August 31, 2022 on Food Network and discovery+), they test their culinary instincts to recreate signature menu items in restaurants across the country – and the final dishes are all over the map.  In each episode, the guys hit a new city and visit two local establishments where each must attempt to make the restaurant’s best-known dish with no recipe or instruction. In the end, the Try Guy with the most successful dish as determined by a local chef and guest judge wins and gets the chance to have their dish put on the restaurant’s menu. 

Tabitha Brown in “It’s CompliPlated” (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

 It has never been harder to make one meal to satisfy all the people at the dining table and the new series It’s CompliPlated, hosted by vegan foodie and New York Times best-selling author Tabitha Brown, tackles that challenge with incredible results.  In each episode, four chefs compete in three rounds of cooking challenges to create dishes that will please judge Maneet Chauhan (Chopped, Tournament of Champions) and a rotating panel of guest judges, each with a very particular palate and tricky food requirements.  From a taste of Southern hospitality using only plant-based ingredients and a comfort food gluten-free noodle dish to an Instagram-worthy dinner party without fruits or vegetables, these unique cooking battles showcase how to make delicious food under any circumstance. It’s CompliPlated premieres Thursday, August 11, 2022 at 10pm ET/PT on Food Network and streaming on discovery+.

It’s CompliPlated reflects what it’s actually like to make a meal the whole family will love – it’s not easy to make one dish for everyone and this series makes it fun,” said Jane Latman, President, Home & Food Content and Streaming, Warner Bros. Discovery. “Tabitha Brown’s energy, sense of humor and real-life journey to becoming vegan make her the perfect host to take us on this adventure.”

“Becoming vegan changed my life and the way I cook – and I know folks can relate to the daily challenge of making the whole family happy with one meal, so we decided to make a game of it,” said Tabitha Brown. “These chefs cook from the heart and their food is mind-blowing – viewers are sure to have a blast and be inspired for their next family dinner.”

Tabitha Brown satisfies the hunger of millions with her unique approach to veganism and her wholesome, comedic personality on the daily. She is a home base for learning new recipes, acquiring imparted wisdom, or enjoying a good laugh. Now a New York Times best-selling author of her debut book “Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business),” the North Carolina-born actress, vegan lifestyle personality, mother and wife has also taken various business ventures by storm. Alongside her legendary partnership with Target, making her own healthy haircare line called Donna’s Recipe, being named Equity Partner of Orro, developing a Calm Sleep Story, partnering with McCormick on her signature Sunshine Seasoning, and working on her second book, she has continuously grown her craft as an actress. She has landed notable theatrical features on major network shows such as Will & Grace, The Chi and The Conners in addition to co-creating and starring in her own children’s show with YouTube Originals, Tab Time. Having earned the coined title of “America’s mom” with her 12 million plus followers across platforms, Tabitha teaches all of us about having faith, perseverance, paving our own unique path to achieving dreams and being our authentic selves.

Fans can join the conversation using #ItsCompliPlated and go behind the scenes with Tabitha by following Food Network’s social pages. Get exclusive tips from Tabitha on vegan essentials, check out insider photos from set, and watch sneak peeks each week at FoodNetwork.com/ItsCompliPlated.

It’s CompliPlated is produced by World of Wonder for Food Network and discovery+.

Ree Drummond (pictured at far left)  in “Big Bad Budget Battle” (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

This summer,  Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, celebrates crafty cooking and smart-shopping on the new primetime competition series Big Bad Budget Battle, premiering on Food Network on Tuesday August 9, 2022, at 10pm ET/PT and streaming same day on discovery+. In each of the six hour-long episodes, three talented home cooks, with a knack for transforming every day affordable ingredients into mouthwatering meals, will be challenged to shop on a budget in the ultimate grocery store – Flavortown Market. With only a small stash of cash, they must buy all the ingredients needed to make the best inexpensive and delicious dish they can. Only the best cook and thriftiest shopper will take home the trophy and a whole year’s worth of groceries.

“I can’t wait for viewers to see these awesome home cooks in action, both with their creativity in the kitchen and their budget-shopping skills – they are truly something to behold! As a home cook myself, I’m impressed by their resourcefulness and ingenuity as they plan, shop, and prepare their incredible dishes,” said Drummond.

In each episode, the home cooks must save money, time, and headaches in the kitchen to create next-level meals.  From dishes made only from pantry items to reimagined leftovers, their cooking abilities will be tested in two rounds of relatable challenges. They need to pinch pennies so they don’t blow their budget, make thrifty and delicious brunches and elevated one-pot dinner party meals. Ree, along with a panel of rotating judges including, Darnell Ferguson, Eddie Jackson, Beau MacMillan, Catherine McCord, Damaris Phillips, and Justin Warner will decide the winner. In the end, the best cook and savviest saver will take home the trophy and one year’s worth of groceries.   

“Each week fans tune in to see what Ree is cooking up on The Pioneer Woman– they love her warmth, down-to-earth style, easy relatability and wry sense of humor that makes everyone want to pull up a chair in her kitchen.  These same qualities make her the perfect host to oversee this fast-paced culinary competition that takes a page from real-world conundrums like grocery shopping on a budget and finding cost effective ingredients to make incredible meals Big Bad Budget Battle is action-packed and full of tips and takeaways for viewers to incorporate at home,” said Jane Latman, President, Home & Food Content and Streaming, Warner Bros. Discovery.

Fans can get Ree’s top tips and recipes for saving time and money at FoodNetwork.com/BigBadBudgetBattle. Follow the competition on social media using #BigBadBudgetBattle and share your favorite budget-friendly dishes.

Big Bad Budget Battle is executive produced by Guy Fieri from his production company, Knuckle Sandwich, and Lando Entertainment for Food Network and discovery+.

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FOOD NETWORK (www.foodnetwork.com) is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers’ best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to nearly 100 million U.S. households and draws over 46 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine’s rate base has grown 13 times and is the No. 2 best-selling monthly magazine on the newsstand, with 13.5 million readers. Food Network is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery (NASDAQ: WBD) is a leading global media and entertainment company that creates and distributes the world’s most differentiated and complete portfolio of content and brands across television, film and streaming. Available in more than  220 countries and territories and 50 languages, Warner Bros. Discovery inspires, informs and entertains audiences worldwide through its iconic brands and products which also include: Discovery Channel, discovery+, CNN, DC, Eurosport, HBO, HBO Max, HGTV, OWN, Investigation Discovery, TLC, Magnolia Network, TNT, TBS, truTV, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Television, Warner Bros. Games, New Line Cinema, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, Discovery en Español, Hogar de HGTV and others. For more information, please visit www.wbd.com.

About discovery+

discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service from Warner Bros. Discovery. With the largest-ever content offering at launch, discovery+ features a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular passion verticals including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com, or find the discovery+ app on most mobile and connected TV devices.

Vice TV premieres ‘Devoured,’ narrated by Jon Cryer, a true crime show about the food industry

February 18, 2021

(Image courtesy of Vice TV)

Get ready for a new kind of food show. VICE TV has announced the premiere of Devoured, the first television series to merge true crime and food. Narrated by Emmy® Award winning actor Jon Cryer (CBS’ Two and a Half Men, The CW’s Supergirl, and the iconic John Hughes’ film Pretty in Pink)Devoured explores the foods Americans love while uncovering the sordid secrets and criminal pasts that restauranteurs, chefs, and foodies have tried to hide- recipe thefts, mob beatdowns, family betrayals, and murder. The six-episode series premieres on VICE TV February 21, 2022 @ 10 PM ET/PT.

Each one-hour episode of Devoured will be a deep dive into a single true crime story that centers on one American city or region’s food specialty.  Viewers will be taken through a thrill-ride of twists and turns as narrator Jon Cryer uncovers the unbelievable stories of how food fuels criminal enterprises, both large and small. Along the way, the series dishes up the food’s origin story and impact on the culinary landscape — while revealing how our passion for eating well can become a recipe for doing wrong.

“Just when I thought there couldn’t be a genuinely new twist on true crime, I got Devoured.” said narrator Jon Cryer. “While I can only aspire to the greatness of, say, Bill Kurtis or Keith Morrison, it’s an honor to lend my voice to this.”

The series will kick off with an episode dedicated to exploring how the mafia took justice into their own hands after a secret family recipe was stolen from Brooklyn’s L&B Spumoni Gardens & Pizzeria. Other instalments in the series will cover “The Codfather”, who ran one of the largest fishing operations in the United States until he was taken down by the IRS for fishy business practices, the 2015 Blue Bell Ice Cream listeria outbreak, and how infidelity and a stolen recipe led to the end of New York’s world famous Carnegie Deli.

“By combining the popularity of food culture with the intrigue of true crime, Devoured presents a series of riveting stories that underscore the passion that people have for food and how it can bring out a person’s darkest side” said Morgan Hertzan, Executive Vice President & GM, VICE TV.  “Having as immense a talent as Jon Cryer narrate VICE TV’s latest true crime premiere is really exciting for us.”

“The series really offers up a buffet of the best ingredients – compelling stories and complex characters set at the intersection of the true crime and food genres,” said Christopher G Cowen, President and Founder of Station 10 Media. “We’re so fortunate to have the chance to make this series with the team at VICE TV.”

Devoured is produced by Station 10 Media. Executive Producers are Christopher G. Cowen, Tony Lord, Matthew Weaver, Josh Stone, Jonathan Goldman and Brent Henderson. Narrated by Jon Cryer.  Lee Hoffman serves as Executive Producer for VICE TV, along with Catherine Whyte, EVP, Head of Production for VICE TV,  Liz Cowie, Senior Manager, Development & Alternative Programming for VICE TV and VICE TV EVP & GM Morgan Hertzan.  The series is distributed worldwide by VICE Distribution.

VICE TV is available via all major satellite and cable providers and the VICE TV app via iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast. For more information about VICE TV, go to VICETV.com

ABOUT VICE TV

VICE TV is the Emmy®-winning international television network from VICE Media Group. Since its inception in 2016, the channel has ushered new audiences to cable with its compelling and provocative programming. Boldly redefining news and current affairs, VICE TV produces hundreds of hours of original content for over 150 million homes worldwide. Built around a mission to tell courageous stories you won’t see anywhere else, told by the people you won’t hear from anywhere else, VICE TV showcases the best in informative and entertaining original series, documentaries and movies, and is the destination for content that challenges popular knowledge and opinion.

ABOUT VICE MEDIA GROUP

VICE Media Group is the world’s largest independent youth media company.  Launched in 1994, VICE has offices in 35 cities across the globe with a focus on five key businesses: VICE.com, an award-winning international network of digital content; VICE STUDIOS, a feature film and television production studio; VICE TV, an Emmy-winning international television network; a Peabody award-winning NEWS division with the most Emmy-awarded nightly news broadcast; and VIRTUE, a global, full-service creative agency with 25 offices around the world.  VICE Media Group’s portfolio includes Refinery29, the leading global media and entertainment company focused on women;  PULSE Films, a London-based next-generation production studio with outposts in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Berlin; and i-D, a global digital and quarterly magazine defining fashion and contemporary culture.

ABOUT STATION 10 MEDIA

STATION  10 Media  was  founded in 2018 by Emmy award-winning producer Christopher G. Cowen who has garnered four Emmy Award nominations and won once.  Station      10 is in   post production on the feature documentary Broadway Rising, and in production on several unannounced premium series and specials.  Prior to founding Station 10, Cowen served as an Executive Producer on the hit true crime scripted series Dirty John; CNN’s acclaimed “Decades Series“; ESPN’s College Football 150; History’s The Cola WarsThe History of Comedy at CNN; National Geographic’s record-breaking special Killing Lincoln and the feature-length, Emmy-Award winning special Gettysburg for History. Cowen also spent ten years at Tom Hanks’ and Gary Goetzman’s Company Playtone, where he  helped develop Band of Brothers, The Polar Express and Where the Wild Things Are. Cowen is a National Member of The Explorer’s Club, a native Californian, and a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University.

Apple TV+ launches foodie series ‘Omnivore’ with filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga and acclaimed chef René Redzepi

February 11, 2022

Cary Joji Fukunaga and René Redzepi (Photos courtesy of Apple TV+_

The following is a press release from Apple TV+:

Apple TV+ has announced a series order for “Omnivore,” a new one-hour docuseries from visionary filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga and globally acclaimed chef René Redzepi that will tell the story of humanity and the planet through eight defining ingredients.

Narrated by Redzepi, the force behind the revered restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, five-times recognized as the World’s Best Restaurant, and one of the leading voices in the culinary world today, “Omnivore” will look at the world through the lens of food and explores how food binds and defines us, powers politics, shapes our beliefs, explains our past, and forecasts our future.

“Omnivore” explores the beauty, complexity and interconnectivity of human culture and the natural world through the way we manipulate, celebrate and consume its best resources – the ones we eat. Each episode will take viewers on a journey around the world, exploring the ingredients that have built societies, shaped spirituality and forever altered the human story.

Developed by Redzepi, Fukunaga and James Beard and Emmy award-winning writer Matt Goulding, “Omnivore” will be showrun and executive produced by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Xan Aranda (“My Love,” “Room 104”). The docuseries is produced by Film 45, Noma Projects, Parliament of Owls and Endeavor Content, who also serves as the studio. Redzepi, Fukunaga and Goulding serve as executive producers. Chris Rice will executive produce for Endeavor Content and Michael Antinoro will executive produce and Max Wagner will co-executive produce for Film 45. Ben Liebmann will executive produce for Noma Projects.

“Omnivore” marks another collaboration for Apple TV+ and Fukunaga. The Emmy Award-winning director, writer and cinematographer currently has a first-look deal with Apple TV+ for scripted television projects and serves as director on the highly anticipated Apple Original series “Masters of the Air” from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and Tom Hanks & Gary Goetzman’s Playtone.

Since opening in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2003, Noma has been at the forefront of gastronomy and creativity. Led by founder and head chef René Redzepi, the three-Michelin starred restaurant has developed a cuisine that celebrates the region’s ingredients, culture and seasons. Redzepi is also the founder of MAD (Danish for food), a nonprofit formed with the ambition of driving change in food systems around the world. MAD’s programs include a biennial Symposium, a series of public talks in cities around the globe, and its most ambitious project yet, an Academy supporting the food and hospitality industry with tools and knowledge to become changemakers.

“Omnivore” will join a growing lineup of acclaimed and award-winning docuseries and documentaries on Apple TV+ including Emmy Award-winning “Boys State”; “The Velvet Underground,” the recently premiered and acclaimed documentary from director Todd Haynes; Critics Choice Award-winning and Emmy and Grammy Award-nominated “Beastie Boys Story”; the global smash hit documentary “Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry”; Werner Herzog’s Critics Choice Documentary Award nominee “Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds”; as well as upcoming documentary “The Supermodels”; and “Number One on the Call Sheet,” from acclaimed storytellers Jamie Foxx, Kevin Hart, Datari Turner and Dan Cogan.

Apple TV+ is home to award-winning Apple Originals from today’s most imaginative storytellers. Apple TV+ offers premium, compelling drama and comedy series, feature films, groundbreaking documentaries, and kids and family entertainment, and is available to watch across all your favorite screens. After its launch on November 1, 2019, Apple TV+ became the first all-original streaming service to launch around the world, and has premiered more original hits and received more award recognitions faster than any other streaming service. Apple Original films, documentaries and series have been honored with 202 wins and 929 awards nominations less than two years.

About Apple TV+

Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app in over 100 countries and regions, on over 1 billion screens, including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, popular smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony, VIZIO, TCL and others, Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices, Chromecast with Google TV, PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles, and at tv.apple.com, for $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. For a limited time, customers who purchase and activate a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch can enjoy three months of Apple TV+ for free.*

Food Network debuts ‘Raid the Fridge,’ hosted by Dan Ahdoot

November 16, 2021

Dan Ahdoot in “Raid The Fridge” (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

The following is a press release from Food Network:

Chefs must use their instincts and test their luck in choosing mystery refrigerators based only on the photos, magnets, recipes and art on their doors in the new fast-paced competition series Raid the Fridge, hosted by food writer and restaurateur Dan Ahdoot. In each episode, four competitors can use only the ingredients from their chosen mystery fridge to create top-notch dishes. But looks can be deceiving, so there is always an element of surprise – sometimes a refrigerator that appears to belong to an avid home cook is filled with takeout, while a crayon art decorated fridge seemingly owned by a family with toddlers could contain high-end gourmet items. Over the course of three rounds, each with a new cooking challenge and a whole new batch of fridges to raid, chefs must impress judges Jordan Andino and Jamika Pessoa with dishes worthy of the grand prize: a fridge full of cash. Raid the Fridge premieres December 28, 2021 at 10pm ET/PT on Food Network.

“Our audience will have so much fun playing along with Raid the Fridge, guessing what’s in each fridge, and deciding which one they would choose makes this show an interactive experience,” said Courtney White, President, Food Network and Streaming Food Content, Discovery Inc. “They may even be inspired by the creativity of these chefs to experiment with what’s in their own refrigerator.”

Dan Ahdoot, a regular on Cobra Kai, is passionate about the culture of food. He is a restaurateur, creator, comedian and host of the popular food podcast Green Eggs and Dan and recently signed a book deal with Crown Publishing for a comedic food memoir entitled Undercooked.

Fans can check out Food Network’s social pages for a sneak-peek look inside the fridges every week, and join Dan, Jamika and Jordan on set as they reveal what’s in their refrigerators at home.

Raid the Fridge is produced by Critical Content.

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FOOD NETWORK (www.foodnetwork.com) is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers’ best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to nearly 100 million U.S. households and draws over 46 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine’s rate base has grown 13 times and is the No. 2 best-selling monthly magazine on the newsstand, with 13.5 million readers. Food Network is owned by Discovery, Inc., a global leader in real life entertainment serving a passionate audience of superfans around the world and spanning 220 countries and territories; the portfolio also includes direct-to-consumer streaming services such as discovery+ and Food Network Kitchen, along with premium brands Discovery Channel, HGTV, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and the multi-platform JV with Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Network as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport.

Food Network Thanksgiving 2021 specials: ‘Battle for the Bird’ with Anne Burrell and Carson Kressley and ‘A White House Thanksgiving’ with Jill Biden and Trisha Yearwood

November 12, 2021

Anne Burrell and Carson Kressley in “Battle for the Bird” (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

The following is a combination of press releases from Food Network:

Food Network is ready for food’s biggest holiday of the year! Tune in to Food Network on November 14, 2021 at 10pm ET/PT for the premiere of the one-hour primetime Thanksgiving special, Battle for the Bird. Anne Burrell and Carson Kressley bring their know-how and their humor as they co-host this timely seasonal competition in which they challenge two teams to see who can pull off the most amazing Thanksgiving get together in just four hours. The special will also be available to stream same day on discovery+.

As the two competing kitchens heat up, it is ‘game on’ as one team’s family-inspired ‘Sicilian Tailgating’ party theme goes head-to-head with a full throttle ‘New Orleans Luau’ Friendsgiving extravaganza to see who can throw the best Thanksgiving party based not only on menu and taste but décor and presentation as well. Anne and Carson are looking for the best overall Thanksgiving experience and they have their work cut out for them as they challenge, mentor, and ultimately judge this pressure-filled competition to deliver the year’s biggest food holiday and determine which is the biggest, baddest Turkey Day fest to win the Battle for the Bird

Fans can join in on the conversation on social using #BattleForTheBird.

Trisha Yearwood and Jill Biden in “A White House Thanksgiving” (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

 First Lady Jill Biden and Trisha Yearwood, country superstar and host of Food Network’s Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, are kicking off the holiday season with an exclusive look at the First Family’s Thanksgiving traditions and favorite recipes in the special A White House Thanksgiving, premiering Saturday, November 20th at 12pm ET/PT on Food Network and streaming the same day on discovery+. In addition to creating a beautiful tablescape made with fresh flowers from the White House Kitchen Garden, the First Lady and the country superstar will be preparing their favorite Turkey Day dishes, including the First Lady’s  Grandmom Jacobs’ Savory Stuffing recipe and Trisha’s Thanksgiving Turkey Gravy. They are also joined by White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford to cook the White House Thyme Roasted Turkey, White House Chief Floral Designer Hedieh Ghaffarian for the floral and table décor, and White House Executive Pastry Chef Susan Morrison to make the White House Apple Crisp recipe topped with the President’s favorite ice cream flavor, chocolate chip.

“Food is love – and gathering together this year for Thanksgiving is healing for our hearts,” said First Lady Jill Biden.  “The family recipes passed down through the generations, the fun traditions that continue, and the meaningful blessings shared, all keep me filled with gratitude. It was fun opening up the White House to Food Network and learning cooking tips from Trisha and the White House chefs and florist, while sharing my own family recipes.  I hope everyone watching comes away feeling that cooking a Thanksgiving meal is something anyone can do, but if you’re still nervous about making the gravy, like I am, you’re in good company!”

“Food brings us together. I so enjoyed my time at the White House, cooking with Dr. Jill and the White House chefs, and sharing our holiday food traditions,” said Yearwood.  “I hope this special is a reminder to all of us about what we all have in common.  Love one another.”

“Joining Dr. Biden and Trisha Yearwood at the White House to celebrate their Thanksgiving traditions is an honor,” said Courtney White, President, Food Network and Streaming Food Content, Discovery Inc. “From the First Family’s holiday decor to favorite recipes, this special offers a rarely-seen glimpse at holiday entertaining at the White House.”

Starting on November 20th, fans can browse behind-the-scenes photos with the First Lady and Trisha and check out all the holiday recipes at FoodNetwork.com/WhiteHouseThanksgiving

White House Thanksgiving is produced by Big Fish Entertainment. The taping of this special was filmed following strict COVID-19 protocols aligned with CDC guidance.

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FOOD NETWORK is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers’ best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to nearly 100 million U.S. households and draws over 46 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine’s rate base has grown 13 times and is the No. 2 best-selling monthly magazine on the newsstand, with 13.5 million readers. Food Network is owned by Discovery, Inc., a global leader in real life entertainment serving a passionate audience of superfans around the world and spanning 220 countries and territories; the portfolio also includes direct-to-consumer streaming services such as discovery+ and Food Network Kitchen, along with premium brands Discovery Channel, HGTV, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and the multi-platform JV with Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Network as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport.

DISCOVERY+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service. discovery+ features a landmark partnership with Verizon that gives their customers with select plans up to 12 months of discovery+ on Verizon. discovery+ has the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service at launch, featuring a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular, passion verticals in which Discovery brands have a strong leadership position, including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com or find it on a variety of platforms and devices, including ones from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Samsung.

OWN debuts ‘The Big Holiday Food Fight’ and ‘The Great Soul Food Cook-Off’

October 21, 2021

The following is a combination of press releases from OWN:

“The Big Holiday Food Fight” premieres Tuesday, November 16, 2021, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, moving to its regular 8:00 p.m. ET/PT time slot on Tuesday, November 23, 2021. It’s “knives out” (but in a good way) when “The Big Holiday Food Fight” makes its debut on OWN this November. Hosted by Kym Whitley, this exciting holiday-themed cooking competition series from SallyAnn Salsano and 495 Productions (“Peace of Mind with Taraji,” “The Real,” “Jersey Shore” “Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Party Challenge”) celebrates the holidays with traditions, family recipes and a side order of fierce competition. In each episode, we crown a new King or Queen of the holiday table and put a little jingle in their pocket with enough cash to tackle some fierce Christmas shopping.

Three home cooks will bust out their most beloved holiday family recipes and ‘jingle bell rock’ the kitchen in a multi-stage cook-off that will leave only one home chef standing at the end of each episode—and the winner of a $5,000 stocking stuffed with cash.  Appetizers, side dishes and desserts take center stage each week as our cooks are challenged to whip up their best family-favorite recipes to wow our accomplished judges Gina Neely, Darnell “SuperChef” Ferguson and James Wright Chanel. At the end of each round, our panel of judges will decide who stays for the next round and who gets booted out in the cold.

Discovery+ and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced “The Great Soul Food Cook-Off,” a first-of-its-kind soul food cooking competition series celebrating Black chefs and the Black culinary traditions that are the cornerstone of American cuisine. The six-episode, one-hour series debuts on discovery+ on Saturday, November 20, 2021, with new episodes every Saturday through December 18, 2021.

Today, we see Black culture recognized like never before in music, film, fashion, TV, sports, and more, but that same cultural recognition remains long overdue in the kitchen. OWN has partnered with discovery+ via the original series, “The Great Soul Food Cook-Off,” in a cooking competition that finally spotlights the culinary contributions of Black chefs with challenges designed to highlight the past and present of soul food. Eight chefs will go head-to-head throughout the show in this high-stakes, spiritual, and emotional competition, but only one competitor can take home the grand prize of $50,000.

“Soul food originated in the earliest African American communities and describes a style of cuisine that represents the creativity and skill of Black cooks from many cultures within the African diaspora,” said Tina Perry, president, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. “Our audience cherishes time together as a family around the table and many have passed down favorite family recipes for generations. This series is a celebration of long-standing traditions we hope to introduce and spotlight for new and existing viewers as we shine a light on a few of today’s most talented Black chefs and culinary curators.”

“The Great Soul Food Cook-Off” is hosted by acclaimed chef and television show host Kardea Brown. Brown will be joined by some of the world’s best chefs, Eric Adjepong and Melba Wilson, as they critique the chefs’ weekly creations.

Additional judges that will join Adjepong and Wilson include:

· Tanya Holland – (Episode 1)

· Alexander Smalls – (Episode 2 & 6)

· BJ Dennis – (Episode 3)

· Tiffany Derry – (Episode 4)

· Millie Peartree – (Episode 5)

· Kwame Onwuachi – (Episode 6)

“The Great Soul Food Cook-Off” contestants are:

· Chris Scott, 53 (Chef/Owner, Butterfunk Biscuit Co. – Harlem, NY)

· Dorian Hunter, 47 (Chef/Caterer, Elevated Soul – Atlanta, GA)

· Fred Fluellen, 32 (Private Chef/Caterer, Fluniversity – Atlanta, GA)

· Jamarius Banks, 28 (Private Chef – Atlanta, GA)

· Jermaine Smith, 48 (Chef/Owner, Henry’s Soul Cafe – Washington, D.C.)

· Razia Sabour, 40 (Private Chef/Caterer, Fuller Foods – Atlanta, GA)

· Shacafrica Simmons, 47 (Private Chef/Caterer, Southern Fusion – Tallahassee, FL)

· Tirzah Love, 38 (Private Chef/Caterer – Oakland, CA)

The competition premieres with a Soul Starter Challenge paying homage to the foundational “meat and three,” a meal featuring a portion of meat and three sides that are African American community must-haves. In this first challenge, “The Great Soul Food Cook-Off” chefs form teams and are challenged to a Meat N’ Three Knockout, preparing smothered pork chops, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and a potato salad. The winning team then holds an advantage going into the main Cook-Off Challenge, where the chefs create innovative dishes with staple ingredients. So who will dig the deepest and draw inspiration from their ancestors to win, and who is going home?

“The Great Soul Food Cook-Off” is produced by Good Egg Entertainment, the company behind Food Network’s hit cooking competition series “Chopped.” Michael W. Twitty, the esteemed culinary historian, educator, and James Beard Foundation award-winning author of The Cooking Gene, will serve as culinary historian and consultant for the series. OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is overseeing production.

ABOUT KARDEA BROWN

Kardea Brown is a contemporary Southern cook born in Charleston, South Carolina. She is of Gullah/Geechee descent, a term used to describe a distinct group of African Americans living in the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia who have managed to preserve much of their West African language, culture and cuisine. Her love for cooking started in her grandmother’s kitchen, learning to cook Gullah dishes that were passed down from her mother. Although she loved cooking as a hobby, Kardea did not envision herself pursuing a career within the culinary field. Instead, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and embarked on a career in Social Services. But in 2013, she switched gears and began to pursue cooking. She created The New Gullah Supper Club, traveling from state to state cooking traditional Gullah dishes with a contemporary twist. Kardea has since made dozens of guest television appearances on shows such as ABC’s The Chew and Food Network’s Farmhouse Rules, BBQ Blitz, The Kitchen, Chopped Jr., Beat Bobby Flay, and Cooks vs. Cons. Additionally, she has her own show on the Food Network, Delicious Miss Brown, which is currently in its 5th season.

ABOUT DISCOVERY+

discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service. discovery+ features a landmark partnership with Verizon that gives their customers with select plans up to 12 months of discovery+ on Verizon. discovery+ has the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service at launch, featuring a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular, passion verticals in which Discovery brands have a strong leadership position, including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com or find it on a variety of platforms and devices, including ones from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Samsung.

ABOUT OWN: OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey’s heart and creative instincts inform the brand and the magnetism of the channel. OWN is a leading destination for premium scripted and unscripted programming from today’s most innovative storytellers. OWN connects with its audience wherever they are, inspiring conversation among a global community of like-minded viewers on social media and beyond. Launched on January 1, 2011, OWN is a joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery, Inc. The venture also includes the award-winning digital platform Oprah.com. Access OWN anytime on Watch OWN and discovery+ across mobile devices and connected TVs.

ABOUT GOOD EGG ENTERTAINMENT

Good Egg Entertainment is a New York-based, unscripted production company that’s committed to creating innovative, energetic and positive content for all ages. Best known as the producers of Chopped, with almost 900 episodes of the series to date, the Good Egg team has proven its capabilities in making long-lasting premium television. Focused on entertaining formats with international appeal, especially food-forward content for streaming and linear platforms, recent Good Egg productions include Money Hungry with Kal Penn for Food Network/Discovery+, Dishmantled with Tituss Burgess and Eye Candy with Josh Groban for Roku Originals, and The Great Soul Food Cook-Off for OWN/Discovery+. Individually, the leaders at Good Egg have built their careers on the development and production of seminal series that include Queer Eye, Pawn Stars, the Emmy-winning Zimmern List, Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? and Legends of The Hidden Temple.

Review: ‘Meat Me Halfway,’ starring Brian Kateman, Marion Nestle, Eric Adams, Will Harris III, Anita Krajnc, Ethan Brown and David Katz

August 22, 2021

by Carla Hay

Brian Kateman eating a Carl’s Jr. Beyond Burger in “Meat Me Halfway” (Photo courtesy of 1091 Pictures)

“Meat Me Halfway”

Directed by Brian Kateman and Journey Wade-Hak

Culture Representation: Taking place in various U.S. cities, the documentary film “Meat Me Halfway” features a predominantly white group of people (with a few African Americans, Latinos and Asians) discussing the factory farming industry’s effects on the environment and individual choices on whether not to eat meat.

Culture Clash: The debate continues over choices to be a meat eater versus being a vegan/vegetarian.

Culture Audience: “Meat Me Halfway” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in getting various perspectives on how the food and drinks we consume not only affect our health but also the environment.

Brian Kateman and Eat Just vice president of product development Chris Jones in “Meat Me Halfway” (Photo courtesy of 1091 Pictures)

“Meat Me Halfway” is not a preachy documentary that pushes a one-sided animal-rights agenda. It’s a well-rounded film with diverse viewpoints and options to help people decide if they want to be meat eaters or non-meat eaters. The filmmakers are very up front with their intent to give information to meat-eating people about why and how meat eating can be gradually reduced or eliminated from someone’s diet. However, the filmmakers also realisitically know that eating meat is a human lifestyle choice that isn’t going away anytime soon.

“Meat Me Halfway” co-directors/co-writers Brian Kateman and Journey Wade-Hak make their feature-film directorial debuts with this documentary and are also two of the movie’s producers. Kateman also serves as the documentary’s narrator, interviewer and on-camera guide during his cross-country journey in the U.S., to look at various sides of the meat-eating debate. As the co-founder president of the non-profit group Reducetarian Foundation, Kateman believes in the approach that getting a lot of people to stop eating meat can be effective if people gradually reduce their meat consumption, instead of pressuring people to immediately stop eating meat.

In the beginning of the documentary, Kateman appears on camera and makes this statement: “One of the reasons why I wanted to make this documentary is I’m confused. I’m a guy who wants to end factory farming. And I start a non-profit organization to make that happen. And so many people seem seriously pissed off about it. There are so many alarms going off from scientific bodies about the problems with our food system—particularly factory farming. And yet, meat consumption continues to climb.”

Factory farming, as opposed to organic farming, puts an emphasis on mass producing animals that can be slaughtered for meat or used for dairy products. Most people have seen photos or videos of these types of farms, which keep the animals in tightly confined, often unsanitary quarters that can only be described as cruel. However, whenever big money is involved, don’t expect there to be immediate changes to the factory farm system when the system is allowed under the law.

That leads anti-factory farming activists to take the approach that the best way to make changes in the system is to reduce consumer demand for meat. That doesn’t mean that the majority of the world will become vegetarians or vegans in a short period of time. But groups such as the Reducetarian Foundation want to educate people on the individual and environmental benefits of reducing meat consumption.

It was a good creative decision to make Kateman appear on camera and share his thoughts and reactions to what he finds out during the making of this documentary. He brings an engaging, likable tone to the film that will keep viewers interested. Kateman also reveals some of his own personal stories about how pressure from peer groups and his family (he was raised as a meat eater) affected his diet and nutrition decisions over the years.

Let’s face it: A lot of pro-vegan/vegetarian documentaries use either or both of these off-putting approaches: scare tactics with a lot of gruesome slaughterhouse footage or academic/scientific lectures with a lot of dull talking heads. Thankfully, “Meat Me Halfway” takes neither approach, which makes this documentary very accessible and relatable to everyone, regardless if you eat meat or not. The movie also makes excellent use of animation to illustrate many of the facts and figures mentioned in interviews.

“Meat Me Halfway” doesn’t shame people who eat meat but gives valuable information to anyone who might want to choose to reduce or stop their meat intake. There have already been many documentaries that go into the scientific details about the direct ties to meat consumption, carbon emissions and global warming/climate change. “Meat Me Halfway” quickly reiterates these scientific findings, but climate change not the main focus of the film.

Bill McKibben, a Schumann distinguished scholar in environmental studies at Middlebury College in Connecticut, comments: “A fight is on to see not if we can stop global warming—at this point, it’s too late for that—but to see if we can stop it short of the point where it takes out the kinds of civilizations we’re used ot having.”

Dr. Marion Nestle—who is a Paulette Goddard professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University—thinks it’s kind of outrageous that in this day and age, when it’s been proven that diet is directly linked to health that this outdated practice is still going on: “Doctors are not taught nutrition in medical school.” She also believes that when it comes to the U.S, food industry, any system that benefits corporations the most will be the hardest to change.

Nestle also asks this question that she thinks animal-rights and nutrition activists need to answer in order to better communicate their agendas to the general public: “Who [in the business world] would benefit if people ate more heathily?” Nestle describes herself in the documentary as a responsible meat eater and someone who is in a “privileged position” to be able to seek out and buy food that didn’t come from a farm factory. She acknowledges that not everyone has those privileges, usually for socioeconomic or location reasons.

Dr. David Katz, founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, believes that U.S. culture runs on an unholy alliance that was made between the corporate manufactured food industry and Big Pharma. After all, if people are more likely to be unhealthy from eating mass-produced food, the pharmaceutical drug companies benefit from all the prescription medication that they can sell. It’s cycle that’s extremely difficult to break when billions of dollars are at stake.

“Meat Me Halfway” also includes a brief exploration of the history of human food consumption. Experts who are interviewed say that meat eating has always been part of human history, but that today’s humans eat more meat that humans in ancient times simply because mass production of meat has made it more accessible than ever before. Experts such as journalist Maryn McKenna point out that the mass production of food on factory farms also coincided with the rise of anti-biotics use on farm animals to get the animals to become have “more meat on their bones” and less likely to get sick.

Other academics interviewed in the documentary include Dr. Chris Stringer, research leader in human origins at the Natural History Museum in London; Dr. James McWilliams, professor of history at Texas State University; and Dr. Paul Freedman, Chester P. Tripp professor fo history at Yale University; Authors and journalists who weigh in with their thoughts include “Meathooked” author Marta Zaraska, journalist/food historian Bee Wilson and journalist Mark Bittman.

Several animal-rights activists are interviewed in “Meat Me Halfway,” such as Toronto Pig Save founder Anita Krajnc, Animal Outlook executive director Erica Meier, Beyond Carnism president Dr. Melanie Joy and Farm Sanctuary president/co-founder Gene Bauer. Among the people who advocate for animal welfare, there are those who believe that meat eating and meat sales can’t be realistically eliminated, so they instead are pushing for better treatment of animals that are raised to be sold as meat. Meanwhile, others think that meat eating is never ethical and should be stopped completely.

Meier says, “Supporting any level of slaughter is wrong.” During Kateman’s interview with Krajnc, he asks her if she thinks it’s acceptable for people to decide to gradually stop eating meat, on their own terms. She replies, “I don’t think it’s an acceptable premise to say one should eat less meat. When we go to slaughterhouses and see the animal victims, every individual matters.”

Krajnc then invites Kateman to a protest gathering that takes place at a Farmer John slaughterhouse in Los Angeles. The purpose of the gathering is to line the streets with animal rights activists, as the pigs are being transported in trucks to the slaughterhouse, and spray water into the thristy pigs’ snouts and mouths, to give the pigs some comfort before they’re killed. The activists do not do anything illegal, such as block traffic, but they sometimes carry signs to show their condemnation of slaughtering animals.

Kateman expresses trepidation at first about going to this activist gathering, because he doesn’t think he wants to experience what he knows will be disturbing sights, sounds and smells of pigs being forced to die. But he ends up going anyway, and it’s an extremely emotional experience for him. He’s moved to tears. The movie includes the sounds of pigs squealing in horror as they are driven into the slaughterhouse.

Kateman said was most painful to him was to make eye contact with a pig inside one of the trucks, and he felt the pain and fear that the pig was experiencing. He also expresses disgust at the slaughterhouse’s outside wall mural paintings , which depict pigs frolicking on a farm, as if Farmer John is a happy and peaceful place for pigs. Kateman says these murals make a hypocritical mockery of what goes on inside the slaughterhouse.

However, the documentary includes the perspectives of people who are trying to make the meat industry more humane in how it treats animals who will inevitably killed for meat. These advocates want better living conditions for animals and less painful ways for the animals to die. One of those people is Daisy Freund, ASPCA director of farm and animal welfare, who monitors farms and gives them ratings based on how well these farms treat animals.

Freund recommends to Kateman that he visit White Oak Pastures, a non-factory farm in Bluffton, Georgia, because White Oak Pastures has received among the highest ratings in the U.S. for its humane treatment of farm animals that are raised for future meat consumption. White Oaks Pastures owner Will Harris III, with his Southern drawl and wry sense of humor, is one of the more memorable personalities in this documentary.

Harris gives Kateman a tour of White Oak Pastures and allows the documentary cameras to record anything except the actual slaughter of animals. Harris explains that what sets his farm apart from most other farms is that the animals are not confined into tight spaces and are instead allowed to roam in their natural habitats. “Animals need to express instinctive behavior,” Harris says,

In addition, Harris says that White Oak Pastures has its own slaughterhouse on the property, so that the animals raised on the farm won’t be transported in a truck for long distances. The documentary has footage in the slaughterhouse of dead animals (such as cows and chickens) being skinned and gutted. Harris says that White Oak Pastures uses a heart electrode device to paralyze and kill the animals, and he claims scientists have told him the animals experience quick and painless deaths using this method.

“Meat Me Halfway” clearly endorses the idea that people should be eating more plant-based food instead of meat. It also responsibly acknowledges that the types of food that people have access to are usually determined by socioeconomic status and location. And that often means that low-income areas (especially those populated by people of color) are frequently at a disadvantage.

One of the people who talks about this problem is Eric Adams, who was president of New York City’s Brooklyn borough at the time he was interviewed, but he has since gone on to become the Democratic nominee and widely predicted winner of the 2021 New York City mayoral race. Adams comments, “I believe, depending on where you live, your zip code determines the quality of fruits and vegetables you’re going to receive. Far too many quality stores and supermarkets really don’t believe that inner city communities will like that quality of food.”

Of course, it’s a myth that lower-income people don’t want quality food. It’s just that the closest food stores to them might not have the high-quality food stores that are more in abundance in higher-income areas. Olympia Auset, founder of the mobile grocery seller Süpermarkt that services low-income neighborhoods, is one of the people interviewed in the documentary. She says she’s seen first-hand how low-income people are often deprived of getting fresh fruits and vegetables in their neighborhoods, because many of her customers tell her how far out of the way they would have to travel to get this type of produce that’s easily available in other neighborhoods.

One of the reasons why the mass-produced meat industry is such a juggernaut is because food that is mass-produced tends to be less expensive than organic food. Plant-Based Food Association founder Michele Simon comments that the three most powerful deciders in food choices are taste, price and convenience. It’s mentioned multiple times in the documentary that people are more likely to change their eating habits if it will cost them less money. The problem for a lot of people who don’t have the luxury of spending whatever they want on food, healthier food is usually more expensive than less-healthy food.

So what are meat eaters to do if they want to become a vegetarian or vegan but they don’t want to give up the taste of meat or dairy products? That’s why there’s currently a boom in companies that make and sell plant-based food that tastes like meat and dairy products. Several leaders of these companies are interviewed in the documentary, including Beyond Meat founder/CEO Ethan Brown, Miyoko’s Creamery founder/CEO Miyoko Schinner, Clara Foods founder/CEO Arturo Elizondo, New Age Meats founder/CEO Brian Spears and Finless Foods co-founder CEO Michael Selden.

“Meat Me Halfway” also takes viewers inside a few food labs where these vegan foods are crafted and perfected, like food scientists putting together the right healthy ingredients for a recipe. New Age Meats director of biological Dr. Nicholas Legendre says that these foods go through similar testing processes before being put on the market that any other meat and dairy products would have to go through to get FDA approval.

There’s a scene in the movie where Kateman visits Eat Just headquarters in San Francisco and gets to be one of the first people to taste a meatless chicken nugget that the company is testing. Kateman gives this new product his a positive response by saying it really does “taste just like chicken,” Eat Just vice president of product development Chris Jones seems very happy with Kateman’s reaction and says it’s the highest compliment to hear that this meatless “chicken” tastes like real chicken.

Not everyone is a fan of vegan “meat” products. New York University’s Nestle says that she doesn’t really trust what kind of experimental ingrdients could be in these types of products, and that she would rather eat real meat instead. The documentary also mentions that there have been some reports (unverified by any major scientific organization) that making vegan “meat” uses more environmental resources than what it takes to process real meat. These are claims that Beyond Meat’s Brown vehemently denies and says that the opposite is true, at least for his company.

One of the most personal aspects of “Meat Me Halfway” is when Kateman interviews his meat-loving parents Russell Kateman and Linda Kateman at the parents’ home on New York City’s Staten Island. Both parents are skeptical that eating less meat can help the environment. Russell says, “I think it’s a joke.” Linda adds, “We haven’t seen any proof.”

Russell also admits that he’s not very concerned about global warming. “I’m more concerned about the temperature in the house.” Russell and Linda (who are both in their 60s) also say that’ve never heard of avocado toast and they’ve never eaten avocados before in their lives. The documentary includes footage of David serving Russell and Linda some avocado dip with potato chips, and the parents have a lukewarm reaction to the taste of avocado.

About two years later, Russell has undergone a transformation that won’t be detailed in this review, but it’s shown in he documentary. Let’s put it this way: There’s a scene later in the movie of Russell and Linda at a dinner table with plates filled with avocado. That scene looks a little too staged, but the point is that Russell and Linda have become more open about eating more fruits and vegetables, compared to their first interview that was shown in the documentary.

At 80 minutes long, “Meat Me Halfway” is a well-paced and informative film that will give people of any food persuasion a lot to think about what their food choices can be. The movie’s greatest strength is how it includes an admirable variety of perspectives, so that viewers can make up their own minds on the meat-eating debate. The commentators are passionate about what they believe without being overbearing in trying to convince people to agree with them. It’s never easy to do a documentary about the intersections between food, health, environmental issues and animal rights, but “Meat Me Halfway” presents it all in a cohesive manner that can resonate with plenty of viewers of diverse backgrounds and food lifestyles.

1091 Pictures released “Meat Me Halfway” on digital and VOD on July 20, 2021.

Food Network debuts ‘Chocolate Meltdown: Hershey’s After Dark,’ hosted by Sunny Anderson

August 18, 2021

Sunny Anderson (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

The following is a press release from Food Network:

Locking skilled pastry chefs inside the famed Hersheypark after dark and watching them compete to create the most mind-bending chocolate showpieces is all part of the competitive fun in the new primetime series “Chocolate Meltdown: Hershey’s After Dark.” The four-episode series, produced in partnership with Hershey’s, premieres Monday, September 27 at 10pm ET/PT and is hosted by Sunny Anderson, who challenges the brave and talented pastry artists to create the most mind-bending chocolate showpieces. It is part of Food Network’s biggest Halloween lineup yet — featuring over 36 hours of Halloween-themed programming.  

“Chocolate Meltdown: Hershey’s After Dark combines two of my all-time passions, going to amusement parks and creating art with food,” added Anderson. “I cannot wait to share these amazing chocolate displays with viewers, featuring some of the most talented pastry chefs on the planet.”

Created by Milton S. Hershey over 115 years ago, Hersheypark in Hershey, Pa., is a 121-acre amusement park featuring three parks in one with more than 70 rides, a full water park and zoo attracting families to the one-of-a-kind destination. And this September, three pastry chefs are locked inside the amusement park after-hours without a soul in sight and in each hour-long episode, they must solve clues and brave the thrilling rides to use Hershey’s sweets for their colorful and spectacular creations before the night is over. Working at breakneck speed with the help of just an assistant within Hershey’s largest candy store, Chocolate World, the competitors race against the clock as judges Ralph Attanasia (Food Network’s Buddy vs. Duff) and Maneet Chauhan (Winner, Tournament of Champions) keep a watchful eye to determine who was the most successful at molding chocolate and spinning sugar into works of art. The winner of each episode earns a year’s supply of Hershey’s candy, a Hersheypark vacation and a cash prize.

  
“This brand-new series, the first ever to film overnight inside Hersheypark and Hershey’s Chocolate World, is a viewer’s ultimate Halloween fantasy brought to life,” said Courtney White, President, Food Network and Streaming Food Content, Discovery Inc. “Our partnership with the iconic candy brand and the show’s no-holds-barred access to rides, sweets, and everything Hershey, Pa. offers, makes Chocolate Meltdown: Hershey’s After Dark an addictive new highlight to our supersized Halloween lineup.” 

In the premiere episode, the competitors prove themselves with inspired takes on a Creepy Crawly Carnival. After running through the park on a chilly and rainy night, the pastry artists take a spin on one of the park’s most dizzying rides. Back in Chocolate World, a self-taught and gravity-defying cake artist quickly runs into problems, forcing them to adjust the design on the fly. Meanwhile, a sugar artist almost loses a battle against a 33-pound slab of dark chocolate, and a sculpting enthusiast uses enough Hershey’s candy to empty the whole store. Other episodes include the pastry chefs using Reese’s Pieces and Almond Joy candies to create a Scary Sci-Fi chocolate showpiece. And the competitors have their work cut out for them as they create Frightful Forest-themed chocolate displays incorporating Twizzlers Twists and York Peppermint Patties.

For more than a century, The Hershey Company has been a candy innovator with over 90 iconic brands around the world, including Hershey’s, Reese’s, Kit Kat®, Jolly Rancher, and more, driving billions in annual revenue while also building meaningful and inclusive connections within the community. In celebration of Chocolate Meltdown: Hershey’s After Dark, Food Network has partnered with Hershey’s to give away custom branded s’mores and cups of Hershey’s Melted Hot Chocolate, as featured on the show, to consumers at Hershey’s Chocolate World timed to the series launch, along with the winners from each episode receiving a year’s supply of Hershey’s candy and a dream vacation to Hersheypark.

Fans can check out all the incredible creations and see Sunny, Maneet and Ralph compete in their own chocolate-themed challenges at FoodNetwork.com/HersheysAfterDark. Follow along with the competition on social media using #HersheysAfterDark.

“Chocolate Meltdown: Hershey’s After Dark” is produced by Beyond Productions for Food Network.

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