Review: Ultimate Recipe Showdown: Chicken – Series Premiere on Food Network

Show: Ultimate Recipe Showdown (Food Network)
Episode: “Chicken” – Series Premiere (Season 1)
Premiere Date: Sunday, February 17th, 2008
Rating: 2 out of 4 Stars

Quick Synopsis: Best recipe wins.

Long Synopsis: There are three rounds. Up first, in the premiere, is fried chicken, then chicken soups & stews and lastly, whole roasted chicken. Three contestants have been selected for each round from thousands of entries. They prepare their recipes in front of an audience. When completed, a three-person panel of food professionals judges them, while the competitor watches some of their comments. A winner is selected for each category. Those three are put on stage at the end and the final scores are revealed. The contestant receiving the highest score wins $25000 and the chance to get their recipe put on the menu at T.G.I Friday’s restaurants.

Review: Ultimate Recipe Showdown is a combination of Food Network Challenge, Iron Chef America and The Next Food Network Star. It takes home cooks like Star, puts them in front of a Challenge like audience and has the finished product judged like on Iron Chef.

The TVaholic loves Food Network. Many a time, while working on content for this site, you will find the Food Network on my TV. I mean, what is better than food and TV? So, when a screener for their new food competition show arrived, I was looking forward to checking it out.

Guy Fieri (Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives) and Mark Summers (Unwrapped) are the hosts. They do their best, but have a hard time creating a lot of excitement over what is happening on screen. It isn’t their fault, as the format doesn’t really push the contestants like the three shows mentioned above. The drawing things out, ala Deal or No Deal, doesn’t really ratchet things up here either. For such a big prize, you would think the show would create more tension and hold your interest.

The judges are Katherine Alford (Director, Food Network Test Kitchen), Kerry Simon (chef and partner SIMON LA, Simon at Palms Place and CatHouse at the Luxor) and Russ Parsons (Food Columnist, The Los Angeles Times). They did a good job of judging. While the TVaholic wasn’t able to taste the food, the dish that looked and sounded the best in each category won. But, their choice for an overall winner would of probably finished third, while third place probably would have taken home top prize. But hey, they got to actually taste the food, so who knows?

Anyway, the first episode didn’t really get me too excited, but next week is burgers followed by comfort foods, cakes, pasta and finally cookies, so you never know. They all sound really good.

How about you, what did you think of Food Network’s new competition series, Ultimate Recipe Showdown?

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Jason the TVaholic
10 comments… add one
  • Pat Memoli Feb 17, 2008, 10:19 pm

    I want the recipes for some of those chix dishes!

    I’d like to have seen more of the various cooking preparations.

  • Jason the TVaholic Feb 18, 2008, 5:10 am

    Hey Pat, A little more time with the actual making of the foods would have been nice, but I don’t think it would have really improved the excitement factor the show was missing. As for the recipes, you can find them on the show’s site at:

  • Kelly Michelle Feb 18, 2008, 1:49 pm

    I started watching last night, but due to a TV schedule conflict was kicked off the channel:( I am dying to know who won the Fried Chicken contest? I thought the fried chicken wings with the mango bbq should have won. please let me know and put my mind at ease! thanks

  • Jason the TVaholic Feb 18, 2008, 4:22 pm

    Well Kelly, the chicken wings you mentioned did win the Fried Chicken round of the contest, but came in third place overall.

  • Bonnie Feb 20, 2008, 10:44 pm

    Why did it need to be “exciting”! The show certainly held my interest. I wouldn’t have found this site if Ihadn’t really wanted the recipe for the winner, the Peruvian Chicken!

  • Bonnie Feb 20, 2008, 10:55 pm

    Then I got the recipe from the site BUT who has ajies, achiote, queso fresco and yucca root in the kitchen cupboard?
    Is there an American counterpart to these items?

  • Jason the TVaholic Feb 21, 2008, 6:58 am

    Bonnie, it needed to be “exciting,” because borderline boring doesn’t hold my interest. I mean, it is a competition after all.

  • Pat Memoli Feb 21, 2008, 1:52 pm

    You can find just about anything online. Try SPICEWORLDS.COM or I definately want to try some of these new flavors, and even our more limited Montana marketplaces are beginning to have greater variety. I did read in passing to be careful as you may discover new allergies too!

  • Pat D. Mar 6, 2008, 1:50 pm

    Does anyone realize that Michelle Anderson who entered the Kickin’ Chipotle Fried Chicken Tenders with Cool Cucumber Slaw was also the winner of the last National Chicken Cooking contest?

  • Jason the TVaholic Mar 6, 2008, 6:29 pm

    Pat D., I didn’t.

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