Wednesday, November 4
Mario, Emeril, & Bobby Get 2 hr White House Special - A Sign of Importance or a Consolation Prize For Dwindling Network Time?
So when I read that the three big boys would be appearing in a two-hour Super Chef Battle episode of Iron Chef America, featuring Michelle Obama and White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford, I wondered... is this a sign of who's really important at Food Network, or just a consolation prize to Mario and Emeril?
Food Network stars Mario Batali, Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse travel to the White House to take part in an unprecedented culinary competition in Super Chef Battle, a special two-hour episode of Iron Chef America. Greeted by First Lady Michelle Obama, the chefs are joined by White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford and receive their challenge: create a meal for America using The White House Kitchen Garden’s produce as their secret ingredients.
For one, Emeril isn't even an Iron Chef. Why was he asked to come along and not, say, Cat Cora, the only female Iron Chef?
Alton Brown is coming along for his commentary, and Ted Allen will serve as a guest floor reporter.
Even Food Network kind-of star Nigella Lawson (she's huge in the UK; hasn't entirely caught on here for whatever reason) will serve as one of the judges, which would normally be a bit of a no-no. Ted Allen had inferred in recent interviews that he wouldn't serve as a judge anymore due to his more established relationship with Food Network as host of two series, Chopped and Food Detectives.
It makes sense that Food Network stars shouldn't serve as judges, actually. Alex Guarnaschelli used to judge Iron Chef America battles, and now her new show Alex's Day Off is produced by Bobby Flay. Who knows how her vote might get swayed if she had to choose between Bobby and the challenger.
Soooo... I'm not really sure what to think of the addition of Mario and Emeril in this special. I mean, it makes sense they didn't ask Sandra Lee or, uhhh, Mary Nolan (that one worked out well, FN) to the White House. But is it a real sign their presence is valued on the network? We shall seeeeeee....
The special episode premieres Sunday, January 3rd at 8pm ET/PT.