Halloween Cake Off (Food Network)


Halloween Cake Off (Food Network) – Premieres 8th October

Another Halloween inspired cooking competition, but in this host Duff Goldman has four bakers going up against each other in a bid to win $10k.

The competition is split into two rounds. In the first the four bakers have to create a halloween themed cake within 3 hours that incorporates the stipulation set before the round starts. After the round is finished the cakes are tasted and evaluated by Duff and two other judges, where the cake deemed to be the worst is eliminated.

In the second round, the remaining bakers have to pick an envelope that contains a word that their final cake has to adhere to. Then the bakers head off to their home bakeries for five days for them to make a super sized cake with less than regular additions to it.

When the five days are up the bakers return to the competition where they have 20 minutes to do the finishing touches before they are presented to the judges. Then when the cakes are ready, the judges check out if the cakes fill the brief they were given, along with actually tasting them. And the best is crowned the winner.

While the show is a run of the mill competition, some of the cakes are an impressive sight. And while it’s a solid enough competition, there’s not too much going on that separates it from the other similar types of show.



Dancing with the Stars: Juniors (ABC)


Dancing with the Stars: Juniors (ABC) – Premieres 7th October

A version of Dancing With The Stars/Strictly Come Dancing, where instead of adult celebrities taking part, the dancers are kids that are either have fame in their own right, or are the offspring of famous folk.

Like the original, the kids are paired up with a competition standard dancer of around the same age, but in this each team is tutored by a dancer that appears in the adult version.

During the programme each team has to perform a routine, and after recap of their week build up along with the actual dance, the pair get feedback from the three judges before being given their score. Then when all the couples have performed, the studio audience votes on their favourite performance, the scores are added to the judges and the lowest scoring couple is eliminated.

As the show is near identical to the adult version, this incarnation would only be of interest to those that enjoy the original.


Haunted Gingerbread Showdown (Food Network)


Haunted Gingerbread Showdown (Food Network) – Premieres 7th October

A Halloween based cooking competition where three bakers that specialise in making gingerbread showpieces go up against each other, for the chance to get to the grand final where they would have the chance to win $25k and a feature in Food Network Magazine

Over the course of two days the bakers have to make a gingerbread scene based on a certain theme. Where the final product has to fit within the parameters of being 90% edible and 70% gingerbread, along with the bakers being allowed to bring in a certain amount of gingerbread that was produced at home in preparation.

During the 1st day of baking where they have 9 hours available, the three bakers are also challenged to create an additional edible creation to their scene. Where the person who wins the side challenge is give a bonus where they can put the other two bakers in a 20 minute time out.

Then when the bakers have finished the second day where they have 3 hours to do the final touches of their scene. The three judges assess each of them and then announce the winner who’ll progress to the final.

As baking shows go, it does what you’d expect from a Food Network programme. And if you like the usual competition shows they have on there, then this is more of the same.


Bake It Like Buddy (Discovery Family)


Bake It Like Buddy (Discovery Family) – Premieres 8th September

A cooking competition hosted by baker Buddy Valastro, where two teams made up from two family members go against each other to win $1k and some professional kitchen supplies.

The competition is held over just the one round, where after Buddy gives the theme that the bakers have to work within, they have four hours to produce their confection.

During the round while the teams work away, Buddy and his two other judges chat to the contestants and each other as they highlight possible problems, what may have gone wrong, or things they are looking forward to. Then at the end of the round, the baked goods are tasted and judged, and the winner is crowned.

As a more family centric cooking competition it’s an easy piece of viewing, and comes across as a condensed version of similar shows. But while it does what you’d expect, it’s not one you’d seek out to watch.


Bite Club (Food Network)


Bite Club (Food Network) – Premieres 6th September

A cooking competition where host Tyler Florence heads off to a US city, gets five of the tops chefs in the area, and has a competition to finds out who’s best.

In the show only three of the five chefs get to battle it out, and after drawing lots, the chefs find out if they are going to be cooking or judging the dishes. After the contestants are picked, they then go through two 30 minutes rounds.

In the first round the competing chefs have to incorporate a dish that uses all three secret ingredients that the cooking chefs have brought with them. Then after everything is cooked and served the worst performer is eliminated.

In the final round the remaining two chefs have to incorporate the two ingredients the now judges have brought with them. And at the end of the round the best dish gets the chef the victory and a shiny trophy.

As a cooking competition, it’s a nice change to see professionals going against each other. And the programme itself is an easy watch, so if you like these types of shows it’s one to check out.


Ultimate Summer Cook-Off (Food Network)


Ultimate Summer Cook-Off (Food Network) – Premieres 5th August

A cooking competition where six chefs go head-to-head over 4 weeks in a barbecue based competition to win the grand prize of $25k.

The show is split into two rounds. In the first, the chefs have 30 minutes to make  6 portions of the item required. Before they begin cooking the chefs also have to select a cooler at random which contains an ingredient they have to incorporate into the final dish. The when the food is prepared, tasted and judged, the winner gains an advantage for the next round.

In round two the chefs have 60 minutes to create two versions of the same dish. One set to a certain set of parameters and the other to their own creation. During this round the winner from the last is given access to a selection of ingredients only available to them. And at the end of the round the worst performer is eliminated from the competition.

For a Food Network competition, this one does seem to have more of a focus on how and why the competitors are cooking their variations of the dishes. Which makes it one of the more of the interesting cooking competitions that they’ve released. That said it’s doesn’t have any unique twists like Sugar Rush to make it stand out from the rest, though if you like this type of programme it does the job.


Ultimate Ninja Challenge (Discovery)


Ultimate Ninja Challenge (Discovery) – Premieres 5th August

A survival show where nine competitors are put through a 24 day challenge, split into eight parts that are devised by Jinichi Kawakami. Kawakami is recognised as the last living ninja, and each of the tasks the competitors tackle are based on the training principles of the ninja.

In the opening episode the nine are split into three teams of three, where they are dropped of in various parts of the Pacific Northwest. They are then given the guidelines of the task, where they have to work as a team to survive for an unspecified amount of time, and if they fail the are eliminated from the competition.

When the time limit is up the survivors are collected, split into new teams and put straight into their next task.

For a survival show, this lacks the watchability of programmes like Naked & Afraid or Alone. Mainly due to the slow pacing of it all, and the real lack of any jeopardy to the tasks given. Altogether it makes it a bland bit of viewing.