He doesn’t cook, but Jeff Foxworthy thinks that makes him an ideal host for “The American Baking Competition.”
CBS’ version of a popular British show premieres Wednesday, May 29, pitting 10 food-making amateurs against one another in a contest featuring chefs Paul Hollywood (also of the U.K. version) and Marcela Valladolid as judges. Country-flavored comedian-author Foxworthy’s role on the show may be the perfect one: He doesn’t have to form an opinion on any of the contenders, and he gets to sample all their food as they vie for $250,000 and a publishing contract.
“I’m gonna be wearing maternity clothes after I finish this,” the amiable Foxworthy tells Zap2it with a knowing chuckle. “Let’s put it this way: When I do chin-ups now, I have options. You’re in this room where people are making their favorite home recipes, and I’m walking around with the judges and tasting everybody’s pies. And you’re gonna pay me for that? Yeah, this is a good gig.”
Foxworthy was offered it late in the game, and he recognizes his game show hosting track record — first on “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” then on Game Show Network’s “The American Bible Challenge” — served as his “audition.” His only need was to see an episode of the original “Great British Bake Off” before making his decision.
“My wife and I sat there and watched it together, and she said, ‘I would watch this every week.’ And I said, ‘OK. I want to do this.’ A week later, I was on the set.
“I know nothing about baking,” Foxworthy notes, “but on our show, you get firemen and teachers and lawyers … people from every walk of life. They just do this for fun, and all of a sudden, they’re in a room together with someone saying, ‘Make s’mores from scratch.” I want to know their stories.”