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 Himself - Host (13 episodes, 2011-2012)
Simon Majumdar ...
 Himself - Judge (9 episodes, 2011-2012)
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Reality-TV

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26 June 2011 (USA)  »

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An insult to chefs and viewers
21 August 2011 | by See all my reviews

Although the following review does not reveal any outcomes, it does mention a few actual scenes from the show which some people may (in the most strict sense) consider spoilers.

"Extreme Chef" is what you might get if "Chopped" and "The Amazing Race" (or maybe the X Games) had a son.

The one and only part for which "Extreme Chef" is barely watchable is to see what the chefs do cook. The rest of the show's format, however, is a grievous insult to the abilities and credentials of the chefs and to the intelligence of the viewers.

In the show, accomplished chefs (even some with Michelin stars) are required to swim across pools or lakes (sometimes in their chef's whites), stumble through obstacle courses, run up stairs, hike through mountain paths and otherwise make fools of themselves in order to obtain their ingredients and equipment or get to their cooking venues. Once they are in place and have their ingredients and equipment, they must cook something that the judges have assigned them. While the chefs are cooking, the show's host announces, "Oh, yeah, there are also going to be some X factors" which present additional problems for the chefs to overcome and/or additional dishes that the chefs must cook.

The obstacles and the "X factors" are things such as staged, artificially produced rain, hail or sand storms or having to milk their own cows or having to chip through large blocks of ice to retrieve additional ingredients they'll be required to use.

Although some of the ideas are somewhat interesting, the show further insults viewers by telling them what they are supposed to find exciting. This is done by cheesy, unimpressive and distracting text on the screen (such as in commercials for Ford pick-up trucks), often just displaying something asinine or banal that one of the chef's has said. For example, a chef may have faced the difficulty of using a donkey to transport the ingredients and then says, "I love you, little donkey," and that appears on the screen in letters of increasing size.

Probably the best concept in the show (though not really done very well) is that the final two chefs must create a "single bite" on a silver spoon (well, one bite for each judge) that must use certain ingredients. While it is an interesting idea, it would be much better suited to a more serious show, such as "Chopped," "Iron Chef" or "Masterchef."

Thus, "Extreme Chef" is just another way to try to cash in on the success of shows such as "Chopped" by attempting to add elements that will appeal to a different segment of viewers. It does not do so very well, though, and shouldn't be allowed to advance beyond however many episodes they have already taped.


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