Have you ever wondered what a professional chef can do with the ingredients in your kitchen? Could the contents of your pantry take home a $10,000 prize to split between you both? If you’re in New Jersey and get a knock on your door, you may just get the chance to find out for yourself. Food Network’s new hit show “Kitchen Crash” drops three passionate chefs into random NJ neighborhoods to cook up some competition.
Taking to the streets, or more accurately the cul-de-sac, contestants on “Kitchen Crash” find themselves serving up improvised meals in the suburbs of NJ. The exciting catch? Competing chefs have to quickly convince local homeowners to team up and turn over everything in their fridge and pantry.
The acclaimed ‘Sandwich King’ Jeff Mauro hosts this delicious mix of speed, skill, and luck as the chefs cook through three rounds for the title of Kitchen Crash Champion. Plopped down in the picturesque towns of East Windsor, Paramus, and Wayne, NJ, “Kitchen Crash” offers a refreshing and rare insight into what makes the ‘burbs so special.
Why “Kitchen Crash” is a Recipe For Success
A great part of this new competition series is the addition of a random family to the chef’s journey. At the start of the challenge, three chefs are given 10 minutes to go door-to-door and find a willing family to hand over their fridge’s contents. What usually starts as an awkward, albeit entertaining, clip show of chefs pleading with random home-owners and getting doors slammed back in return, ultimately leads to an uplifting story of teamwork and togetherness. The whole family helps in gathering the ingredients, the street is overtaken with spectators and mobile kitchens, and the games are underway.
Throughout the three rounds of competition, the families actively stick around and root for their respective chefs. From supportive cheers and cartwheels from the kids to the parents’ quick tips about utilizing some unique ingredients, this family-friendly aspect of the show creates an emotional element that many cooking programs lack. Not only are you invested in the chef, but you find yourself rooting for their randomly selected family as well.
Kindness Trumps Competition in NJ
The show exemplifies a commitment to kindness that not many other New Jersey-based programming can measure up to. Shedding the competitive element from the equation, it is very encouraging to see complete strangers open their kitchens, partner together, and work towards a common goal.
The moments when the chefs and their new-found families work together are uplifting and inspiring. In episode one “Getting Stuffed in Jersey,” one contestant teams up with an Indian family, making use of their bountiful homegrown vegetables. Not only is this enticing cooking content, as it requires impromptu recipes and creative food combinations, but it also serves as a gentle reminder that New Jersey’s diverse population makes our food diverse. Plus, it’s refreshing to watch a show that shares Jersey genuinely.
Another uplifting aspect of “Kitchen Crash” that totally captures its suburban spirit is the relationships between competing neighbors. Although they’re not directly cooking the meals being presented to the judges, the passion shown for their new chef partners are palpable. It’s hilarious to watch the light-hearted smack talk between the suburbanites when the competition actually begins. It also really makes you wonder how your pantry compares to those across the street.
As night falls and the final round comes to a close on “Kitchen Crash,” the families huddle under production lights to hear the verdict. And although some of the kids have school tomorrow, and COVID-19 still rears its ugly head, each family knows that the true victory of the day was the healthy distraction brought over by Food Network. While the NJ suburbs are often considered a place of monotony and normalcy, “Kitchen Crash” is proof that excitement can still be found outside of city life.
Main image by Curtis Adams