Each week, we take a quick, cautious look at food TV. This week, Extreme Chef, a one-hour show about watching the world burn, Thursdays at 10 p.m. on the Food Network.
On the premiere Extreme Chef, seven chefs were dropped by helicopter to the "modern day hellhole" of the Salton Sea and asked to "enter life in the apocalypse." Their first challenge: raiding an "abandoned tent village down the road" to scavenge whatever they could find to make a (hugs television) "restaurant-quality entree."
Here's a selection of direct quotes from the premiere, presented as an epic poem without commentary.
I can't breathe
I'm a top-ranked windsurfer
The floodgates of hell have opened up and washed everything away for miles
I'm an extreme caterer
This is crazy
This place is a hellhole
I don't think anybody has lived here in a long time.
I'm in peak physical condition
It smells like nothing but dead stuff
I'm the private chef for NASCAR chef Jeff Gordon
I see houses that are destroyed
What can you cook here? And who's going to eat anything here?
This is nuts
Life after apocalypse
Down that road is a tent village
I'm an ex military sniper
I can take you out with a bullet, or a souffle.
I got dead fish bones in my shoe
I feel quite animalistic
Where we are is just disastrous
I'm going to dehydrate in less than 10 minutes
I got this 2x4 that jabbed me in my leg.
I found a 9-volt battery and a piece of wool to start my fire
You need to build your own cooking device
I have to worry about gamma rays in my food
The difficulty with cooking beef jerky ...
If you can eat those bones, why get rid of them?
This is apocalyptic grill cooking
I'm going to wrap this braised tongue in kindling
Let it burn.
I need some sort of vessel
I need a bowl
It is just so hot
Hades couldn't have planned a better disastrous situation for me
Every element of this situation is extremely hard
It is beyond anything I could have imagined.
Here I am out in the middle of nowhere-land,
cooking on a shopping cart
For the record, what you did with the stakes and the knives is called "batoning"
After an apocalyptic event, food that is often thrown away is treasured.
You'll find ingredients buried in the sand
My strategy to win the competition is what any sniper would do
I have a Bowie knife, and camp stove, and a blow torch
I ran as fast as I could
Doomsday will come today.
Lance Knowling, the ex-military sniper, did not get back on the helicopter. Lance went home. It can be said he went home because he did not fan out his Spam and his amuse-bouche tasted like butane -- but those are quibbles. Lance failed because Lance is weak. Lance failed because he is not extreme enough to make restaurant-quality food from a tent village in a hellscape of pain. Lance makes me sick.
Tonight the remaining competitors rescue food from a capsized boat.
Michael Leaverton has watched and made fun of a whole host of food TV shows. We used to list them all right here, but that list grew too goddamn long. Click here to check 'em out.