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For years, Marc Summers revealed the whats and hows of timeless snack foods on Food Network’s Unwrapped. And beginning tomorrow, he’ll be part of the all-new series Rewrapped, wherein three hopeful contestants must re-create a sweet or savory treat, then use the original item in an inspired dish all of their own. Marc will sit on the judges’ panel alongside two other culinary experts, and together they must determine which competitor’s offerings are worthy of the prize: a lifetime supply of snacks. FN Dish was recently on the set of Rewrapped, and we caught up with Marc to look back on Unwrapped and to get his insider’s perspective on what’s ahead on Rewrapped. Read on below to learn his thoughts on both series, then hear from host Joey Fatone.
What are you most looking forward to in this competition?
Getting back on television would be No. 1, on fresh shows. I just think it’s fun. All the other competition shows on Food Network are pretty intense. This one, you smile during the whole thing. It’s snack foods, it’s junk foods, it’s kind of everything we ever did on Unwrapped, but I think when you see the Twinkie or the Hostess cupcake or the Bloomin’ Onion or SpaghettiOs, you think … “I identify with them.” And then seeing if somebody can duplicate it is just fun. We kind of hit the ground running on day one. It just seemed like we’d been doing it forever. Joey’s a great host. He brings a certain energy to it. It’s effortless.
What can fans expect from the show?
To learn a little bit about their favorite snack food, as to how it was made; on each show we have a judge from that particular company who doesn’t reveal all the secrets about how the things are made, but kind of opens up some doors. And so I think there’s a reliability … for the viewer and the product and with what we’re doing.
How is this different than other competition shows you’ve been part of, like Double Dare?
I used to throw food on that show, and now I get to eat it, so there’s a huge difference there.
What will be your judging criteria for the “re-create” round and the “reinvent” round?
We’ve done 500 episodes of Unwrapped or something, and we’ve attacked every major snack food you can imagine, and because of that, I’ve eaten each one of these several times, not only in my personal life but on the show. So I have a palate that is somewhat expert when it comes to that. … I’m kind of surprised every day by how creative the chefs are and it kind of makes it fun to come to work.
What are some of the most-memorable foods that you’ve “Unwrapped”?
I’m a junk food guy. I sustained myself on Twinkies and Kraft macaroni and cheese when I was a starving performer in Los Angeles back in the ’70s, so I ate my fair share of these things. So those two stand out. … We were doing hot things [on Unwrapped], things with peppers and jalapenos, and there was this thing called Cowgirl Chocolates. And before we started the show, they said whatever you do, don’t eat these things. … So on camera, I decided to eat the Cowgirl Chocolates, and I don’t know if they had ghost peppers in them, but they had some pepper in them that was just off the charts. I couldn’t speak for like 45 minutes. Water, milk, bread — no matter what I tried, my whole mouth was on fire. So that one stands out, not necessarily for a good reason, but it shut down production for a while.
Are there any pieces of Unwrapped trivia that you still remember today?
I start off each [Rewrapped] show with Joey coming to me and giving a little trivia fact about whatever the product is that day, most of which I can kind of pull from my head and check online; a few I have to dig for on the Internet. I have ridiculous retention. I started off as a game-show writer, and I retained a lot of that. And on Unwrapped, I kind of remembered a lot of the silly facts.
What are the makings of a successful snack food?
Sugar, no doubt. … The theory is that if you fry your wallet it will probably taste good. So, fried, some sort of cream filling and some sort of chocolate around — I think those three things you can’t go wrong with.
What are your top-five favorite snacks?
Twinkies are probably No. 1 because I’ve likely had more of those in my life than anything. Then any chocolate chip cookie. Any chocolate cake would be No. 3. Cherry pie would be No. 4, and anything to do with peanut butter would be No. 5.
Tune in to the premiere of Rewrapped on Monday, April 21 at 8|7c.