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Tag teams match up in cook-off

June 26, 2003|Mark Sachs | Times Staff Writer

Here's the matchup: On one side of the room, two demure but determined soccer-mom types. Across from them, a pair of grizzled, black-clad bikers.

The tension is thicker than congealed gravy, and on tonight's episode of "Food Fight" (7 p.m. on the Food Network, repeating at 10 p.m.), only one team will leave the kitchen with its dignity intact.

Actually, this weekly cook-off makes for a breezy and fun half-hour, spiced up by some good-natured ribbing between the competitors. The show, hosted by JD Roberto, debuted last month, pitting two pairs of seeming opposites (grandmas vs. construction workers, artists against comedians) to see who can whip up the best meal.

The contestants are provided with the main menu item (rainbow trout tonight) and have two hours and $20 per team to shop and then hustle back to the shared kitchen to prepare their creations. Judging is based on taste, presentation and creativity, with the winner taking home a slew of culinary products.

Tonight's show comes from Banterra, a gorgeous Charlotte, N.C., church-turned-restaurant that dates to 1829. The competition between Val and Diane (the moms) and Benny and Lisa (who ride their Harley to the market) heats up immediately. Driving her Volvo out of the lot en route to the store, one of the moms yells "So long suckers!" as she cuts her opponents off, and with the clock ticking, it's a wild ride to the finish.

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