KNIFE FIGHT, a gritty new cooking competition show hosted by Top Chef Season 2 winner Ilan Hall, premieres Tuesday, April 23 at 9P E/P on the new Esquire Network (the first time I have heard of it). The 10-episode series features underground, after-hours cooking bouts between Los Angeles' most exciting chefs at The Gorbals, Hall's downtown restaurant.
"It's real chefs cooking in a real kitchen in front of real people," says Hall. "What started as one chef talking smack to another has grown organically into a full-on competition. At the end, it's not about winning and there's no huge prize. These chefs are just pouring their hearts into what goes onto their plates out of a genuine love of food."
Each hour-long episode of KNIFE FIGHT features an undercard and a title bout. For each battle, two chefs go head-to-head, making at least two dishes in one hour, from a combination of two to three secret ingredients. As the chefs face off in The Gorbals' kitchen, they feel the heat as they're cheered and heckled by a rowdy crowd - including friends, neighbors and an eclectic group of celebrities, food professionals and die-hard foodies that serve as judges and timekeepers for each bout. Among them: Drew Barrymore (who also serves as Executive Producer), Elijah Wood, Jason Lee, Bijou Phillips and Erika Christensen, food writers Jeanne Kelly and Evan Kleiman, and Hall's Top Chef friends like Elia Aboumrad and Michael Voltaggio. World-renowned skateboarding photographer Giovanni Reda acts as master of ceremonies for the series.
With new contestants each week, this season features exciting and acclaimed chefs, including James Beard nominees, Food & Wine "Best New Chefs," Top Chef competitors, chefs who've worked at Michelin-starred restaurants and more.
In the April 23 premiere episode, rising stars Kevin Meehan (Kali Dining) and Felix G. Barron IV (KITCHN 105) compete in the undercard bout, while Brendan Collins (Waterloo & City) and David Feau (most recently executive chef of The Royce at The Langham), battle for the title. Actor and comedian Eric Wareheim (Tim and Eric Awesome Show) and award-winning food writer/author Jeanne Kelley join Hall on the panel of judges.