Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off – ep.1

Two of the Food Network’s big personalities, Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri, lead a team of amateur cooks/celebrities in this new reality/competitive cooking show. Being a hardcore fan of televised cooking competitions, I couldn’t pass up watching this show up last week. Unfortunately, the first episode did not leave me with a good impression.

At first, I thought this show was supposed to be a celebrity version of Works Cooks of America where Rachael and Guy would be guiding the celebrities and helping them improve their cooking (since they probably don’t have to cook themselves). And when I flipped to the Food Network channel to catch the last half of the show, I thought I was right. On the screen, it looked like Aaron had no idea what he was doing and experimenting unsuccessfully.

On that note, it’ll be helpful to introduce the contestants: Cheech Marin (of Cheech and Chong), Alyssa Campanella (Miss USA 2011), Joey Fatone (singer and TV personality), Summer Sanders (Olympic swimmer and medalist), Aaron Carter (singer), Taylor Dayne (singer) , Lou Diamond Phillips (actor and director), and Coolio (rapper and “ghetto gourmet”).


Overall, I was pretty disappointed. The whole thing seemed to drag on and on, probably due to the show’s lack of structure. There was only one main challenge and, at the end, a 10-minute elimination round with two celebrities (from the losing team) pitted against each other. It was a bit dull as I’m used to three quick rounds on Chopped as well as the super fast-paced kitchen chaos of Top Chef’s Quickfires, the drama-filled Elimination Challenges, and the utterly suspenseful Judges’ Table and stew room.

The critiques on the food, which is a major part of any cooking competition, were lackluster. Only two judges? Wait, can’t forget the hungry crowd/amateur critics. The show needs more expert opinions to give us viewers some proper insight…sorry, don’t mean to be a cooking competition show snob.

The crowd comments on Aaron’s dish: “It’s different.” You know they don’t like it. Who wants to tell a celebrity that their food is gross?

Also, I wonder if the show set any rules for the contestants because it seems like they allow cookbooks (Aaron needed one for ranch). I don’t blame the celebrities for not knowing how to make certain dishes, but I’d expect Rachael and Guy to play a bigger role. Perhaps, teach some basics…and some sanitation rules.

Back in the kitchen, when Aaron was making his ranch, did you notice he was sticking a finger in mouth to taste his ranch?? I bet that went right back in the bowl. Let’s keep it sanitary, please. Anyway, enough of picking on Aaron.


What probably made the show boring for me was the fact that they’re not super talented chefs nor really bad (thereby amusing) chefs, but amateur chefs. There’s no sense of urgency in the kitchen, no innovative ideas, no excitement.

Why was this show created, anyway? Maybe Food Network is desperate to have the leading food-oriented program (the title going to Bravo’s Top Chef, in my opinion)…but that would be too high of a standard. But they’re adding celebrities…seems like they’re trying too hard. Sure, they got me for the first episode, but I can’t turn down a show about food without trying it out.

Watched: Rachael vs Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off

When: Sundays at 9 pm/8c on the Food Network

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Mini-cringe: When Joey mispronounces “camarone” in his dish name, “Fatone’s Camarone.” I think he adds a letter to it somewhere.

Side note: Watching Top Chef has brought out the critic monster in me (all in good fun, though), so this review on the first episode may be a bit nitpicky.

What were your impressions on the show? Was episode 2 any better? (The TV was hogged up so I missed it.)


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