ABC to Present ‘Time Machine Chefs’

For those who have been worrying that there isn’t enough cooking competition shows on TV, you can relax. ABC Television will unveil the latest incarnation this Thursday, August 16 at 9:00 p.m. and hopefully realize that they really should leave the cooking to the Food Network.

“Time Machine Chefs” promises to “transport viewers to a wondrous world of food, competition and different historical eras, as popular chefs compete for the title of “The Greatest Chef in History.” A bold statement for a silly show. The basic concept for “Time Machine Chefs” sounds promising: “With no modern appliances, amenities, running water or electricity, four popular chefs must create culinary masterpieces -- and impress three esteemed judges -- with only basic kitchen equipment, their imaginations and craftsmanship.” Unfortunately, how this is presented is what kills the show.

First of all, Brooke Peterson, the host of the show is seriously not right for the job and ABC must know this as she is not even mentioned on the press materials or the show’s web page. She appears to be a very nice person, but is very stiff with her presentation.

Second, the show’s gimmick is the “time machine” which is a blue refrigerator where contestants and the host “travel through time.” Peterson signs off each trip with “We’re history.” By the time the fridge lands in a new era and you’ll already lose interest in the show.

The Celebrity Judges
Photo: ABC/Ron Tom
For the actual competition, four chefs compete against each other by preparing the best dishes to three celebrity judges:
  • Nancy Silverton, chef, restaurateur and cookbook author
  • Dave Arnold from the French Culinary Institute in New York City
  • Silvena Rowe of Quince in London’s May Fair Hotel

The Four Chefs
Photo: ABC/Ron Tom
The "Time Machine Chefs" are:
  • Chef Art Smith, executive chef and co-owner of Table fifty-two in Chicago and Art and Soul in Washington, DC, as well as Southern Art and LYFE Kitchen restaurants.
  • Chef Chris Cosentino, executive chef of Incanto in San Francisco since 2002 and is co-owner of Boccalone, an artisanal salumeria.
  • Chef Ilan Hall, winner of Season Two of Bravo's "Top Chef."
  • Chef Jill Davie, private chef in California and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and UC Santa Cruz.
The first competition takes place during the Ming Dynasty where the three winning chefs travel to a medieval castle while the loser stays behind, lost in time forever. The competition begins again with the remaining chefs and so on. The most impressive thing about the show is the sets and the actors that are interacting with the chefs during the competition. Other than that, there is not much here to see. On the plus side, the show is family-friendly and doesn’t contain any offensive content, but most people will want more.

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