On Tuesday, July 22, NBC will premiere its new food competition series Food Fighters, hosted by Man v. Food‘s Adam Richman and featuring home cooks attempting to best the efforts of top TV chefs for cash and bragging rights.
In each episode, the talented amateurs will go head-to-head with the pros who try to outcook them at their specialty dish. With each pro they defeat — average Joes are the judges — their cash bounty grows even bigger.
And it won’t be easy. Iron Chef’s Cat Cora, Top Chef Masters’ Elizabeth Falkner and Lorena Garcia, Road Trip’s G. Garvin, Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman and current Cutthroat Kitchen judge Jet Tila are the human hurdles to claiming ultimate victory and $100,000.
“It’s a joy — NBC is the major leagues,” Richman told us of his foray into broadcast-network television. “It’s an amazing operation. And it’s kind of a really great juxtaposition of the things that I love and I consider myself so profoundly fortunate to do what I do.”
We caught up with Richman recently and asked him to cook up some answers to our 7 Questions.
1. You’re at a magazine rack and can only pick three titles. Which ones do you choose?
GQ, World Soccer and Esquire.
2. If your TV carried just three shows or networks, what would they be?
The Soup, Game of Thrones and Classic Albums.
3. What’s a movie you can watch over and over again?
Raising Arizona or L.A. Confidential. My favorite movie of all time is It’s a Wonderful Life, but I try not to over-watch it, so it doesn’t lose its luster. The others I could seriously watch every damn day.
4. What are three things you have to have in your fridge or pantry?
Sriracha, raw almonds and garlic … and miso paste … and extra virgin olive oil.
5. Tell me about a recent memorable fan encounter?
Abroad, it is a fairly well-known fact that I support the British football team Tottenham Hotspur. They recently signed a young player from Denmark named Christian Eriksen who is widely considered to be one of the finest players of his generation in any country. After a match I saw this past March in London, a team executive was leading me out of the stadium. We were cutting across the field, and he pointed out that Eriksen was walking towards us. I became a total fanboy, and asked if he would be willing to facilitate a picture for me. He said he would. As Christian approached us, the executive said, “Do you have time for a quick picture with Adam?” He smiled, nodded and said yes. I thanked him profusely and he then looked me dead in the face and said “Man Versus Food! My friends and family in Denmark watch you all the time!” All I could stammer out was, “You know who I am?”
He really couldn’t be more gracious. Here is this guy who stands to change the fortunes of not only the club I support, but his national team for generations to come — and despite being an ocean away he still knows who I am!
6. Tell us about playing on Team Rest of The World for UNICEF’s Soccer Aid last month.
It is surreal! If anyone takes anything away from this, it’s this: If you dream it, you can be it. There are people who thought I would never be on television and there were people who thought I would never lose weight and people who thought I would never do Soccer Aid. If you believe and have others who believe, you can be blessed and do anything you put your mind to.
7. Tell us about losing more than 70 pounds since Man v. Food ended — and Food Fighters began filming.
People didn’t recognize me right away. It was funny and flattering. But I like to surprise people. I like to show people that you can have your cake and eat it too. People thought I had gained weight because of the challenges, but it had nothing to do with that. It was a lot of the ancillaries I was doing — cooking and writing books and not being as calorie-conscious as I could have been while shooting. Because you are shooting and then you want to eat lunch and then the chefs want you to try other stuff on the menu and it is like “This is what I live for! Culinary exploration!” It is hard to pick and choose.
I have always said if you do what you can to stave off the adverse affects of comfort food, you can have your cake and eat it too. I think there were people who worried about me when I was a little bigger eating comfort food and may not have found me attractive. May start to now. The bottom line is, I am in even better shape now than I was because I was training for this big soccer match. It is great that people will say, “Hey, Adam actually took care of himself!” It is all checks and balances.
Food Fighters airs Tuesdays at 8/7CT beginning July 22 on NBC.
Photos ©2013 NBCUniversal Media, LLC