Family Food Showdown review: Make Mom proud in the kitchen


Did mom teach them well? In this Family Food Showdown review, two teams battled to see which family had the tastiest dishes in this Food Network competition.

Ready for the first Family Food Showdown review? In the premiere episode two families had the difficult task of making mom proud. These two family teams had family pride on the line. With three challenges to prove their cooking prowess, only one team would walk away with the $10,000 and family victory.

This newest Food Network show brings almost a family feud vibe to a cooking competition. While the cooking challenges are the main focus, the interactive elements make this Food Network show very engaging. From back talking between families to the judges stoking the fire, this Food Network show could become a new foodie favorite.

The premise of the show is simple. Two teams of three take on a total of three challenges. After each challenge, one team member is eliminated. In the first two rounds, the winning dish receives an advantage. By the final challenge, one team member must create the final dish, on his own, which could earn the team $10,000.

These two teams have both home cooks and professional chefs. Still, the dishes focused more on the family centric recipes than elevated haute cuisine. For the first challenge, the chefs had to create a meal that mom would love. While each team had a very different approach, both meals made the moms proud.

Instead of focusing on the meals themselves, the more interesting aspect is the effect/emotion that the meal intended to create. From a comforting bowl of sour soup to a family favorite fried pizza dough, the connection to the meal is vital. Of course execution is key, but the connection between mom and meal was paramount.

While both teams had delicious dishes that did mom proud, the Gollaher family won. The sour soup captivated the judges with flavor Their advantage was that they could choose one cook to go to time out during the second challenge. Additionally, each team had to put one of their cooks on the sideline. While they could comment/assist, they couldn’t help.

For the second challenge, the teams had to create a dish that was a childhood favorite, but it had to be elevated. The teams took very different approaches. Specifically, the difference was sweet versus savory.

The Gollaher’s family decision to do a French Toast had a little bit of a struggle. The sweet on sweet would appeal to a child, but the adult palate might want more balance with the savory. If the bacon was just regular, not candied, this dish might be more successful.

The Cipriano family’s riff on a Philly Cheese steak was smart. It had all those comforting factors from a childhood, but the potatoes pushed it over the top. It was indulgent, in all the good ways. The Cipriano family won the second challenge.

For the final challenge, the teams had to eliminate another teammate, which left just one cook standing. The opposing teams were able to choose the other team’s eliminated chef. It was surprising that there wasn’t more gamesmanship in the choices.

The advantage for winning the second challenge was that the Cipriano could bring back one of the eliminated teammates. Even those few extra minutes of help could make a huge difference.

For the final challenge, the teams had to create a fried dish. Both teams went with a chicken dish, which was a little surprising. It would have been nice to see someone push the boundaries a little more. But, given the limited time frame, the teams didn’t have many options.

Looking at the two dishes, the Cipriano family had a more composed dish. The fried chicken cutlet was smart, although it could have used a touch more seasoning. Also, the fried mushrooms were ok, but the dish could have benefited from more textures.

The Gollaher family chose to do boneless chicken wings. Truthfully, traditional wings would have been better, but they were considered about timing. No one would ever want to serve raw chicken to the judges. Unfortunately, boneless chicken wings can be a little bland and dry.

The first team to win a Family Food Showdown episode was the Cipriano Family. Looking just at the final challenge, that dish was more satisfying than the other team’s dish.

While this Food Network show is a cooking competition, the entertainment value comes from the contestant interactions. Everyone knows that cooking with family can be volatile. This program does a great job of making that banter the star of the show.

Having the eliminated family members directly in the kitchen, adding their input, adds to the fun. What happens if someone doesn’t listen to their mother or changes that classic recipe? Sure family pride is on the line, but it is more than that scenario. In a way, it replicated some of the classic moments that people can related to (doesn’t your Sunday family dinner sound a little like these kitchen moments?)

Additionally, the judges get into the interaction. Whether it is the occasional question or the comments to themselves, those moments make the episode more enjoyable. Even the judging commentary feels real.

Overall, the premiere episode of Family Food Showdown was quite entertaining. This new Food Network Show should do quite well with food fans.

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Did you watch? What is your Family Food Showdown review?