×

‘Food Fighters’ Host Adam Richman on Celebrating Home Chefs

Food Fighters,” NBC’s game show/cooking competition that pairs celebrity chefs against kings and queens of the home kitchen, is firing up the grills for its second season premiere on Thursday night. Ahead of the show’s return, host Adam Richman (who is best known for Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food” series) chatted with Variety about shows that celebrate the everyman and woman, the making of a food star and having a teenager school him in liquid nitrogen.

What drew you to the format of the show?

I’m not a trained chef and I’ve never claimed to be. Although I’ve worked in restaurants and a lot of that has been on-the-job training, I’m at best a pretty darn good home cook. I think most of the country are pretty darn good home cooks. Most of us are not pro chefs. I think to see the moms, the dads, the grandparents, the newlyweds getting recognition on the big stage so to speak, I think it’s phenomenal.

For me, I also like to also see really hard-working, salt-of-the-earth people win life-changing money. I come from a single-parent family. I come from a family that struggled. Before I was on “Man v. Food,” I was on unemployment. The opportunity to be part of something that is about recognizing and rewarding the underdog is something that’s very special to me.

There’s many shows for the hyper-chef among us, the hyper-gourmet among us. How many shows are out there just for the folks who love creating for their families? Who never get that validation apart from a few people saying hey you can cook this in a restaurant? How cool is it to be part of the entity that recognizes the everyman and everywoman?

Do you think shows that highlight amateur chefs are helping the food industry?

I think the day in age we live in, you have a much more educated eater. You have a much more informed shopper at the marketplace. You have people who really and truly are expecting more out of their food when they look at a menu or they go to the grocery. I think the notion of the home cook only making meatloaf and mashed potatoes is long since gone.

Season two of “Food Fighters” has a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old home cook cooking and beating adults and making handmade pasta and making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. At 14, I was deciding which G.I. Joe vehicle I wanted.

With all the shows you’ve done, have you seen a heightened interest among teens and younger kids?

Absolutely. I’ll hear everything from “I get my kids to eat their vegetables by making it a ‘Man v. Food’ challenge” to kids finding that food can be fun and interesting. Truthfully, we’re in a day and age where chefs and culinary personalities can be considered celebrities. There’s an aspirational aspect to being a TV foodie in some capacity. I think that the opportunity to showcase that is far too good to pass up.

On a similar note, do you think this has also changed the way we look at what defines a celebrity chef?

I was reading an article not too long ago about the Culinary Institute of America that said back in the day, everyone wanted to open a Michelin restaurant and now you’ll find people talking about the show they want to do and they’ll have proposals for the show they want to do.

Even a successful TV chef or a TV foodie is a thing, it’s an entity. That’s a real thing. It’s something that I never saw myself being and I’m grateful that it has.

Have you tried to do any of the “Food Fighters” dishes at home?

Certainly the ones from season one, yes. I learn and I grow as much as the viewer because I see these folks using these flavors and these ingredients that their mother or grandmother does. It’s been an absolute blast to make someone’s mac and cheese or the tequila-soaked raisins empanadas from this one woman.

You haven’t tried to do the liquid nitrogen stuff at home?

No! I’ve worked with it and I’m very, very fine letting the pros handle it.

“Food Fighters” returns at 8 p.m. July 2 on NBC.

More TV

  • "The Curse of Cleopatra - Parts

    'Blood & Treasure' Renewed for Season 2 at CBS

    The CBS summer adventure series “Blood & Treasure” has been renewed for a second season. In the series, Danny McNamara (Matt Barr) is a former FBI agent specializing in stolen arts and antiquities. Lexi Vaziri (Sofia Pernas) is a resourceful art thief who is haunted by the tragic loss of her father, which she blames [...]

  • Side-Games-1

    Spectrum Originals Picks up Soccer Drama ‘Side Games’ for U.S. Distribution

    Charter Communications’ OTT service Spectrum Originals has reached a deal with Spain’s The Mediapro Studio for the U.S. rights to its popular series “Todo por el Juego,” (“Side Games”). The series will debut in the States on July 15. The Mediapro Studio produced the series, which was developed by popular Argentine screenwriter Eduardo Sacheri, a [...]

  • Mary J Blige Walk of Fame

    Mary J. Blige Inks First-Look TV Deal With Lionsgate

    Mary J. Blige has signed an exclusive first-look television deal with Lionsgate. Under the pact, Blige and her newly-launched Blue Butterfly productions will develop and produce TV series for the studio. The singer-actress will also have the opportunity to create content across Lionsgate’s various business platforms. “Mary is a very talented artist, fearless visionary and an [...]

  • Discovery Names Andrew Georgiou Eurosport and

    Discovery Taps Andrew Georgiou as Eurosport and Sports Rights Boss

    Andrew Georgiou has been appointed president of Discovery-owned Eurosport. The sports channels and streaming service has been without a chief since Peter Hutton left for Facebook. Georgiou assumes a wider role than Hutton, running Eurosport as well as overseeing sports rights and marketing across Discovery. It has been moving aggressively into the sports sector, licensing [...]

  • Joe Biden SXSW

    As Democrats Debate, TV News Tunes In Something Other Than Trump

    NBC News’ “Meet the Press” and CBS News’ “Face The Nation” regularly compete for Sunday-morning audiences and scoops from politicos. But this past weekend they looked nothing like one another. On NBC, President Donald Trump dominated the hour by sitting down for a taped interview with host Chuck Todd. Over at CBS, “Nation” moderator Margaret [...]

  • Myst Computer Game

    'Myst' Film and TV Rights Sell to Village Roadshow

    “Myst,” the influential video game that helped usher in the CD-ROM era, may inspire an ambitious multi-platform film and television universe. Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, the co-producer and co-financier of the “Matrix” and “Sherlock Holmes” franchises, has acquired the rights to the first-person graphic adventure. For those born post-90s, “Myst” was wildly popular and hailed [...]

  • FOX Entertainment Logo © FOX 2019

    Fox Orders Holiday Event Series 'A Moody Christmas' Based on Australian Comedy

    Fox is moving forward with its long-gestating American adaptation of the Australian comedy miniseries “A Moody Christmas” as a holiday event series, Variety has learned. The single-cam comedy follows Dan Moody as he returns home to spend Christmas with his dysfunctional family. When he arrives, he’s met with the inevitable madness of a family whose [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content