Food Network recently announced a slate of new shows, ranging from the predictable (“Ultimate Recipe Showdow: Season 3”) to the inexplicable (“What Would Brian Boitano Make?” — I kid you not). But the one that caught my eye is “Chefs vs. City.”

Premiering in July, the series will feature chefs Chris Cosentino (of San Francisco’s Incanto) and Aaron Sanchez (of “Next Iron Chef”) teaming up and traveling the country, competing against local chefs in various cities in “Amazing Race”-like challenges.

From the press release:

Acclaimed chefs Chris Cosentino and Aaron Sanchez
are pitted against two local foodies in a winner-takes-all race through
a different city each week, through the most fascinating, unusual food
Each team begins with a clue leading them to their first food challenge.

could include everything from wine stomping to the eating the spiciest
chili west of the Mississippi to diving for sea urchins! The five
challenges take the chefs and foodies on an adrenaline-charged,
food-lovers tour of each city, and once complete, it’s a sprint to the
finish line to see if the locals can protect their home turf or if the
Food Network chefs can conquer a new city.

Sounds like it could be a lot of fun. The food challenges on “Amazing Race” have always leaned toward the gross (drink a gallon of paprika soup, eat squirming octopus arms, etc.), so it should be nice to see serious food competitions.

Cosentino, by the way, has a national reputation for his “nose to tail” dishes, incorporating every part of the animal, from brain to organs to other yucky innards. So don’t expect him to get squeamish about, well, anything. He’s also a professional-caliber mountain biker, so don’t get in his way. There’s a good Q&A with him here.

Hmmm, what could the Sonoma County challenges be if they ever came here? Running around a Petaluma chicken farm to catch dinner? Jump in a vat full of grapes and squish out some wine? Risk life and limb to dive for abalone? Or maybe the toughest challenge of all: Make a successful, lasting restaurant in that cursed 420 Mendocino storefront!

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