According to a legend, nearly a mile beneath the foundation of Food Network headquarters in Chelsea Market, there exists a culinary lab of the most peculiar type. Comestibles from all over the world are gathered and transported here. The ingredients are tasted by robotic tongues. The flavor data is analyzed and each ingredient is classified by its ability to fuse with other ingredients.
Some play nicely. The humble egg frolics with oils, citrus and tiny mustard seeds. Cutesy strawberries jump with glee on a bed of goat cheese.
Some are more clique-ish. The ever-attractive artichoke only associates with the briniest of morsels. And some don’t play at all. They sulk in the corners of our gastronomic playpen. These are the palate destroyers — the over-powerers. They are preserved. They are fermented. They are canned. They are weird.
Each week, one of the most elite of Food Network’s team of sustenance scientists hand-selects four edible elements. They are placed into a sturdy black basket and transported to the surface. The baskets are presented to the most-talented chefs in the land to assemble. From what appears to be a picnic of pain emerge glorious dishes, never before seen! They are crafted with ingenuity. Upon their judgment they sing palate-pleasing songs forgotten since childhood.