Just when Cooks vs. Cons competitors think they’re set to cook the assigned dish in Round 1, host Geoffrey Zakarian is on hand to change their plans with the announcement of a mandatory surprise ingredient that must be showcased. And again in Round 2, though competitors can prepare any dish they’d like, their freedom goes only as far as yet another surprise ingredient. Cereal, soda, pickles, mushrooms and chocolate — all of these sweet, savory, tangy eats and drinks, and others, have made appearances, though not all the uses of them were wholly successful. When we checked in with Geoffrey recently, he told us about another ingredient he’d like to see revealed in the future. When we checked in with Geoffrey recently, he told us about another ingredient he’d like to see revealed in the future: “I think … another protein, like a chicken that they have to butcher or something they have to butcher — that would wipe me right out.” Browse photos to see how both professional chefs and amateurs approached the surprises.
All Posts By Maria Russo
Maria Russo is an online editor at FoodNetwork.com, covering top-tier show and talent packages and managing the FN Dish and Star Talk blogs. She grew up in a tight-knit Italian family in Michigan, where food was the focus of most conversations and it wasn't unusual to talk about the next day’s lunch and dinner menus while eating breakfast. Maria graduated from Barnard College in 2012 and currently lives in New York City. She likes her pasta cheesy, her eggs runny and her oysters briny.