Over the past 20 years, the food competition show has taken the gravitas-laden template of Iron Chef and frequently re-purposed it in service of escapist entertainment. Many of its present-day descendants will still teach you a few things along the way, but from Chopped to MasterChef to Guy’s Grocery Games, accessibility is the foremost goal. By fusing the bombast of game shows with the educational value of a cooking series, food TV has found unprecedented success, along with an occasional penchant for truly absurd premises.
The latest example of the latter is the forthcoming streaming series Dishmantled, a project created by Chopped executive producer Linda Lea and set to be hosted by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Tituss Burgess. The series description from Deadline makes Dishmantled sound like a fake show featured in a movie or TV series, but we can assure you that it is very real:
“Hosted by Burgess, each episode starts with the cannon-blasting of a mystery food dish into the faces of two blindfolded chefs. They’ll use their culinary prowess to identify the exploded dish and then race against the clock to recreate it. Whichever chef comes closest to the original dish wins a cash prize.”
Dishmantled will premiere on the yet-to-be-launched streaming service Quibi, which is currently set for an April 2020 debut. And as high-concept gimmicks for food shows go, it’s certainly storming out of the gate with confidence—it feels as audacious as a Japanese game show. There’s so much streaming content to take in now, culinary and otherwise, that a series has to set itself apart from every other choice out there. If setting itself apart involves turning food into an aggressive projectile, that’s just the price of doing good business.