‘Fridge Wars’ – A raid, a meal, a reaction
In the age of the pandemic, the ability to cook with what is already in your refrigerator – and not go out to the supermarket – has become paramount. It’s also at the heart of a culinary competition series coming up on The CW.
In “Fridge Wars,” produced by Canada’s CBC Television and premiering Sunday, Aug. 2, host Emma Hunter visits a Canadian family’s home and conducts a raid of their refrigerator, the contents of which are then brought to a studio kitchen where two top professional chefs create imaginative meals on the fly. The family members then sit down, try the dishes and judge which chef did best.
The twist here is that the chefs have 45 minutes to get dinner on the table and know nothing about the family nor their tastes, so a Spanish dish might not go over well with a clan that prefers meat and potatoes. And the quality of ingredients can vary wildly, from baby cuttlefish and pork chops to leftover lasagna and years-old frozen vegetables. So, being able to handle pressure and think outside the box are required traits.
And that, says Hunter, is where the fun begins.
“It’s not like you get to bring in the most beautiful ingredients from specific parts of the world that you’ve researched,” the Toronto-based actress, writer and comedian explains. “It’s like, ‘OK, this is this family’s fridge, deal with it.’ Leftover pizza, mac and cheese, some weird beef that might be expired. What are you going to do? And I think for the chefs, the higher the challenge, the more exciting it was. … so ,yeah, (it’s) a very cool new twist on a food competition but also makes for good comedy with a lot of laughs.”
And that plays out. notes Hunter, when the families sample the dishes and fail to recognize the meat or vegetable that came from their own kitchen.
“Sometimes, a dish wouldn’t jive with one of the family members,” she says, “and they would say, ‘You know, I really don’t know what these ingredients are, but they’re disgusting.’ I go, ‘They’re yours.’ Because the dishes were so creative and so unlike anything the family would necessarily be able to prepare by themselves, there was this feeling of being an outsider very comfortably judging the chef’s creations, which I think really works. It was pretty funny.”