Food competition fairs seem to fall either into the Chopped category, with one-off competitions, or the Great British Baking Show / Top Chef category, with an ongoing competition that ends with a big prize in the final. But none of these shows use Disney’s intellectual property. Foodtastic is a culinary arts competition, hosted by Keke Palmer, that draws heavily on Disney intellectual property, creating projects that have a lot of potential to be fun. Read on to find out more.
FOODTASTIC: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
Opening shot: We see Keke Palmer take on the role of a lab tech who, in the narrator’s words, “is in desperate need of a nap.” She dreams that she is transformed into Micro Girl.
The essential: Palmer’s sketches, not so far off the sketches she puts on her TikTok and Instagram feeds, is a cute way to introduce us to every episode of Foodtastic, where Palmer is hosting a culinary art competition that relies heavily on Disney intellectual property to shape the challenges. The episodes will revolve around Ant-Man, Cars, Star Wars, The Avengers, The Muppets, Beauty And The Beast, Toy Story and others.
The format is more in the Chopped vein, where three new teams compete in each episode. The price? A pin and the pride they’ve earned against some of the best culinary artists. The judges are culinary art experts Amirah Kassem and Benny Rivera, with Amirah judging the elements of the storytelling and Benny examining the technical sense used.
In the first episode, the culinary artists are tasked with creating a scene where Ant-Man fights Yellowjacket or Ghost in an everyday environment. Teams should of course keep proportions in mind when creating their scenes. As the artificial sun clears its way over the studio (we’re assuming it’s a 12 hour build), Palmer and the judges visit each team to uncover their plan and see how they’re doing; of course, there are discussions about their progress.
With a few hours remaining in the construction, a surprise is thrown; teams need to incorporate the Wasp into the story they are trying to tell and ensure that it is not there after the fact.
What shows will this remind you of? As we mentioned, Foodtastic is basically the Chopped format, but the culinary art is what is done. In this regard, he examines a little more closely Chocolate School.
Our opinion : Foodtastic is a fantastic show. You can tell the Disney money went into the complex set, which changes with each episode to reflect the IP that is used. And, of course, the contestants are fantastic food artists who can do creative things, like using ramen bricks to make an anthill. But the format itself isn’t doing the contest any favors, and the bubbly Palmer is the only one who keeps the show from being a slow-paced mess.
Due to the complexity of the challenge, there is no âquick turnâ on this show, or multiple turns as you might see on Chopped. So, after taking on the challenge, the remainder of the 40-minute episode is made up of the teams sculpting, molding, and building, with the inevitable side interviews with each team. We’re given some background information about the teams, but it’s not enough to just hang on to one of their stories and support someone throughout the episode.
There’s also no way these expert culinary artists are really wrong, despite what the montage may have you believe. Indeed, the errors made or the inadequacies noted by the judges were minor quibbles. Minor quibbles don’t make reality TV convincing.
Also: Maybe Disney could have opened their safe, told Scrooge McDuck to stop diving into the rooms for a second and find some real money instead of a few pins and a sense of pride. Being a culinary artist may or may not be lucrative work, and having money on the line would have made things more exciting for viewers. This is one of the reasons why Chopped works, because the chefs can really use the money from the given prize; hearing how a prize would make a difference for the winner would have made the show more interesting.
That being said, Palmer is such a presence that we would watch the show for his goofy sketches during the episodes and his overwhelmingly positive, warm, and inclusive hosting. We love that she asks each team “How are you feeling?” When they present their constructions, before getting into everything about how the constructions were built and the judges’ comments.
What age group is it aimed at? : We don’t know why, but Foodtastic is classified TV-PG. Maybe there are minor language issues. But, for the most part, it’s a sight that can be enjoyed by anyone.
Starting shot: Palmer, as a lab tech, wakes up from her dream and says she’d like to be “Lab Tech by Day, Micro Girl by Night.”
Sleeper Star: I don’t know why, but we love it when Amirah and Benny talk to each other in Spanish. This sets them apart from other judges on shows like these.
Most of the pilot lines: We just wish these shows were a little more transparent about the time pressure that these candidates are really under. With an hour remaining, it looked like the three teams were far from over, but the completed builds all looked polished. Yes, it’s more boring than the “rush to finish edit”, but it’s so clichÃ© at this point, you roll your eyes when you see it.
Our call: Stream it. Foodtastic is watchable due to Keke Palmer’s dynamic presence and the fact that the contestants are such Disney intellectual property experts that they work with – or at least studied before entering the studio. But the pace of the series could be much better.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting, and tech, but he’s not kidding himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.
Flux Foodtastic On Disney +