Chefs vs. City

by in View All Posts, August 7th, 2009

chefvscity1I know you’ve been counting down to the Chefs vs. City premiere tonight. In each episode, Food Network chefs Aarón Sánchez and Chris Cosentino challenge two local foodies to locate that city’s biggest, boldest, most unexpected food places.

When we asked super fast runner and Chefs vs. City co-star, Chris Cosentino, how to describe this new series in five words or less, he shot back, “exciting, funny, humbling and super competitive.”

Here’s a two-fer interview with Chris, and Photo Coordinator for Food Network, Melissa — two people who just happen to share a home city (keep reading to find out where), and spent an exciting day at a photo shoot. Like the stars on Chefs vs. City, let’s get things running.

SOMMER: Each Chef vs. City episode is in a new town with a new set of challenges. Which city was the most difficult to compete in and why?

CHRIS: Las Vegas was the most difficult. It was chaotic with so many people milling about. In addition to the crowds there was construction going on and it was disorienting. We kept getting lost!

S: Since much of the show involves your teammate, Aarón Sánchez, and you showing off your impressive tastebuds, what is the most insane thing that we’ll see you eat or discover in the name of Chefs vs. City?

C: I don’t want to give anything away, so let me just say that the audience will be surprised by the amazing variety of insane things we ate. I know Aarón and I were certainly surprised. As for what foods I discovered, I’d say my greatest discovery wasn’t a food, but the fact that people have so much pride in their cities. It was amazing to experience the hometown pride first-hand.

S: Melissa, I’m sure you’d agree that Chris and Aarón’s friendship is the third co-star of Chefs vs. City. What’s their dynamic like in person?

M: They were really friendly to everyone on the crew and kept coming up with alternative names for the show, which I wish I could remember. They are two peas in a pod; their personalities really complement each other, and they have a lot of pride in their restaurants and what they do.

S: Chris, how was the Chefs vs. City photo shoot — what’s it like seeing yourself on billboards or in promos?

C: The photo shoot was in a pouring rainstorm in the Meatpacking District in the early morning around 7am. The photographer, Peter Yang, had just shot Obama (for Rolling Stone at the time) so it was kind of weird to be his next assignment. Doing things with Aarón is always fun; he always brings levity to the moment — rain or shine! Seeing myself on the promos is a bit new to me. It’s kind of like hearing your voice on the answering machine times 1,000.

S: A shoot in the rain, huh? That must’ve been fun, Melissa!

M: We were shooting for possibly maybe 20 minutes before the clouds opened up, and there was lightning and crazy rain. Luckily, the photographer had three assistants, and they had a huge tarp to cover everything. So we ended up actually shooting [Chris and Aarón] in the rain. They had a great attitude throughout the shoot, and they were even offering to carry stuff when it started raining and when we changed locations.

S: Chris, speaking of cities, you and Melissa happen to both be from the beautiful San Francisco. In one of the upcoming episodes, you race around your home city. Having cooked there for thirteen years, what was it like going up against former colleagues and friends on your own show?

C: Knowing the city helps, but competing against colleagues and friends is always a bit weird. I have known the chefs I competed with in that episode for years, and they are both great friends and super-talented ladies. They make me a bit nervous. They know their stuff.

Happy Friday, and be sure to catch the premiere of Chef vs. City tonight at 10pm/9c.


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Comments (23)

  1. Denise says:

    I enjoyed this new show a great deal, but who was the evil mind who added the hot peppers part of the competition? Wow, that was painful to watch. I wondered if they were going to be sick from all the capsaicin–that was a powerful amount they were required to consume.

    Looking forward to seeing what new, weird, exciting challenges the guys have to go through next. And my hat's off to the FN ladies' team. They were real troopers did very well. :)

  2. Sandy says:

    I also enjoyed the show. In fact, I've set it to tape in case I lose track of time. I think Aaron Sanchez is great and have really enjoyed him on Chopped. He is much kinder to the chefs than the other judges. He seems to truly be a man of compassion… and passion. :-) He's the reason I watched the show, but I like his co-star Chris as well. They are obviously friends and have a good guy chemistry together. They make it fun to watch.

  3. Jean Greene says:

    great show! i'm a huge fan already! i love to travel and love food, and when having to budget, i watch travel shows, read travel books and cook ethnic foods until it's time for the next trip

    i miss "The Ingredient Smuggler" — exactly the kind of stuff i love to do, explore through travel and cooking. i love Melissa but there are already a ton of save money by home cooking shows. Food Network, you blew it letting Jeffrey Saad go

    i love Aaron Sanchez on t.v., and i totally agree about his compassion on "Chopped" — he's got class! Chris is a hoot, and who couldn't love someone from San Francisco, since i'm from there, too?

  4. food-coma says:

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzz……Even die-hard Food Network watchers will be lulled into a deep coma by this tragic attempt at reality TV. The only reality is that I changed the channel after 5 minutes of utter and complete boredom. FN – time to chop this one

  5. asunburst says:

    I just couldn't get into it. When I see Aarón Sánchez all I see is hot chili peppers and that food is never "spicy" enough for him. He seems nice but it's his mantra like RR's Yummo is hers. I swear he would want habanaro's in his ice cream.

    • Chetf says:

      She took everyday spices easily found in the normal store and combined them to make the meal extraordinary. The only thing the same is North Africa.

  6. Logan says:

    This is a great new show! I LOVED Kelsey Nixon, so I was excited to see her again, and the end of the Boston episode was insane… and yes, Aaron Sanchez is smokin' :)

  7. Joe D says:

    Chefs vs City is great. Aaron and Chris make a great team. The show is interesting and fun to watch. All 3 episodes were very enjoyable. These are the kinds of people the station needs more of.

    • gigi07 says:

      I just saw the show for the first time. I really enjoyed it. I'd love for Aaron to have a cooking show! I enjoy watching him on Chopped. He seems to be nicer than some of the other judges.

  8. Frances says:

    I just saw Chef v. City for the first time today – the Las Vegas show. I loved it. Thought it was fun. The FN chefs had a little disadvantage since they didn't know the city as well, but they did a great job and almost pulled it out. I hope to catch the reruns of the shows I missed and catch the rest of the new ones. Good job!

  9. Johanis says:

    I love the show!!!!!! It's really fun and entertaining.. and Aarón Sánchez is super HOT!!!

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