Two of Food Network’s most kid-friendly stars mentor a group of budding chefs as “Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off” returns for Season 2 on Sunday (Aug. 17), on the channel.
Eight versatile junior chefs are split into two teams during the six-week competition and are mentored by either Rachael Ray or Guy Fieri. The eventual grand prize winner gets his or her very own Web series on Foodnetwork.com.
Unlike most other cooking competition shows, however, this one is all about rewarding excellent performance, not punishing failure: Kids who excel get stars to wear on their aprons, but no one gets kicked off the show if they under-salt the water for their pasta.
“The goal is not to eliminate kids, but to teach and mentor and develop them,” Fieri tells Zap2it. “If you go around chopping off kids left and right, you wind up focusing only on one or two kids at the end of the show. What we want to see happen is everyone learning from and enjoying the whole experience.”
The contestants all bring a formidable amount of knowledge to the show, but in most cases, “They don’t know how much they know,” Fieri adds.
“They don’t know how to apply it, which is where Rachael and I come in,” he explains. “They’re thirsty to be taught. But they’re not overly stressed about it, which is really great.”
As for the competition between teams, Fieri says it feels like sibling rivalry between him and Ray, a close friend.
“Do not let that great smile and all that bubbly energy mislead you. She is a full-blown tactical warrior,” he says, laughing. “If you take her too lightly, you are making a serious mistake, my friend. She’s a very savvy businesswoman with a very kind heart. But she is in it to win it, trust me.”