Tacoma native to appear on NBC’s ‘Food Fighters’

Just when you thought you couldn’t stuff one more new food cooking competition show in your gullet, along comes “Food Fighters” on NBC tonight (July 29).

The show premiered last week, but tonight’s episode features Tacoma native Kena Peay, now a California resident, fashion blogger and amateur cook. She will compete against five professional chefs on the show.

Like reheated leftovers “Food Fighters” is “Iron Chef” sautéed with “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” It’s hosted by Adam Richman, formerly of “Man Vs. Food.”

In “Food Fighters,” a home cook makes one of his or her personal recipes during a timed period – five in total. The professional chef has to come up with a version of the amateur’s recipe on the spot. The results are then evaluated by a panel of judges in a blind tasting.

Each round nets the contestant a cash prize – a total of $100,000 – if his or her dish is chosen.

If future episodes are like the first, don’t expect much suspense or novelty. It’s like the producers took the ingredients of several cooking shows, put them in a blender and poured this one out. The fact that the amateur chef bested four of the five chefs in the first show didn’t come as a surprise. The five cooking rounds fly by so quickly the cooks’ techniques are given flashcard style; no insights can be ascertained.

The show has all the clichés: suspenseful music, confessionals, macho stare downs, sweeping camera movements, anxious family members in the audience, (slight) trash talking.

It is fun though to watch Richman interview the cooks and then turn and run as if he’s afraid they’re going to gut him like a Christmas pig. I’m not sure what the thinking is there: perhaps to imbue the show with a sense of urgency? But the result is just head-scratching. The chefs (Cat Cora, etc.) don’t seem to be too invested in the show.

I’ll tune in to see how Peay does, but after that this show is going to be fed to the dog.

Peay has a blog where you can check out what she’s up to:

The hourlong show starts at 8 p.m. on NBC (KING 5 in Puget Sound). Learn more at