Chef Josh Capon and “sandwich king” Tony Luke Jr. hit the road in search of the latest and most offbeat food crazes in “Frankenfood,” a comedy-and-cooking-competition combo platter that premieres Sunday, June 22, on Spike TV.
Each of the 10 episodes finds Capon and Luke in a new town, along with a guest judge from a local eatery. One by one, amateur chefs file before the trio in a bid to prove that they have come up with the week’s best Frankenfood, which the show defines as “a mash-up of original and unexpected food combinations, resulting in delicious dishes or awful misses.”
In one episode, examples of the former include Gyro Bites, which combines the flavors and textures of a gyro wrap and an egg roll. One notable miss is the Bratnana Split, a jalapeno bratwurst topped with cherry chocolate-chip bacon ice cream, beer & honey ice cream and orange-marmalade pickle ice cream.
Contestants that receive good marks from at least two of the judges move on to the final round, where the two best dishes are selected, tweaked a little by the culinary experts, then served to customers at the restaurant. The winner receives $10,000 and a spot on that restaurant’s menu.
“Is this show ‘Top Chef’? No, and it isn’t supposed to be,” Capon explains to Zap2it. “We don’t take the food too seriously. At some point [in development], this show turned into a food comedy/variety show. The characters and the foods speak for themselves, and the banter between myself, my co-host Tony Luke Jr. and whatever guest judge we are having can sometimes be fun.”
Locations for these first 10 episodes include New York (both Manhattan and Brooklyn), Dallas and Austin, Texas, Chicago, Philadelphia and Milwaukee.
Zap2it: Many of the dishes on this show are fried and/or cheese-laden. Is Frankenfood inherently bar food?
Josh Capon: “Not necessarily, no. One of the finalists was The Apple That Went to Brunch. That was actually somewhat healthy, a roasted apple, not fried, with goat cheese and granola. I don’t think that was particularly a bar food. You’re right, there was a lot of fried food and cheese, but every now and then we got something that went in the opposite direction.”
Zap2it: Do you have a favorite comfort food?
Josh Capon: “I’m a sucker for a Thanksgiving dinner. I just love turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy. It’s such a killer meal that we really should enjoy it more often than just once a year. I also find chicken soup very comforting. I’m not a huge mac-and-cheese guy, ordinarily, but sometimes a version of that can really be nice.”
Zap2it: When did you get into food?
Josh Capon: “I started working in a bakery when I was 14 or 15, but I just always loved being around food. I was always playing around the kitchen. One of my childhood memories was trying to hard-boil an egg in a microwave. If you’ve never tried that, I’m here to tell you not to. I just think food naturally helps bring people together.”