Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri host "Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off"… (Dan Steinberg / Associated…)
The Food Network premiered its latest reality food show competition Sunday night with the second season of "Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-off." The network's version of "Dancing With the Stars" -- they even got an ex-contestant to compete -- is gearing up for a season full of bloated celebrity egos and mishaps in the kitchen.
On Guy Fieri's team: Tori Spelling's husband, Dean McDermott, Chilli from the group TLC, socialite Cornelia Guest and figure skater Johnny Weir. On Rachel Ray's team: singer Carnie Wilson, ex-football player and former "Dancing With the Stars" contestant Hines Ward, actress Kathy Najimy and comedian with that nails-on-the-chalkboard-voice Gilbert Gottfried.
For their first challenge, the celebrities were tasked with putting on their own dinner theaters with a three-minute skit and four tastings on a plate for 100 guests. Some had serious cooking chops: Chilli gave Team Guy the win with her tilapia tostada she named "Chil-apia;" McDermott did a skirt steak with jalapeño polenta; and Ward made his mom's recipe for Asian-style chicken wings. While Gottfried embarrassingly admitted the only thing he knows how to make is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Ray's suggestion? Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on the sandwiches to make them competition worthy. Hmm, yeah, that'll do the trick.
The dinner theater portion of the show was painful to watch. Having to relive it right now would also be painful, so I'll just leave it at that.
Najimy and Gottfried, two chefs from the losing team, Team Rachel, each had 20 minutes to make the perfect midnight snack to stay in the competition. Gottfried was sent home after he decided to make yet another peanut butter and jelly sandwich -- even though he added bananas this time.
Did I learn a single new thing about food or cooking techniques? No. Was it so lame and awkward at times that it made me uncomfortable? Yes. Was I at all entertained? Definitely. So I'll tune in next week because Wilson is too much of a hot mess for me to not watch and the forced drama, although difficult to stomach at times, is delightfully cheesy.
Best, worst moments:
Any moment with Weir, but first it was the kiss. McDermott kissed Weir for no apparent reason during the theater portion of the competition. "I'm making out with Tori Spelling's husband and loving it," gushed Weir in a sparkle bustier.
Fieri telling Weir his chicken meatballs needed more fat. "I like a fat-free meatball," said Weir. "Well, America doesn't," retorted Fieri. What did you expect, Weir? The guy hosts a show called "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."
Ray wearing a lace trim mini and Fieri in a plaid suit with velvet trim. Eek, I know it's not a fashion show, but step up the style, guys.
"Rachael vs. Guy" runs Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern time on the Food Network.
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