Netflix’s newest cooking competition addition is like “Chopped” layered on prime of a Willy Wonka fever dream. In “Crazy Delicious,” three contestants enter a backyard the place nearly the whole lot is edible. The stones? Made of chocolate. That tree bark? Colored, crystalized sugar. Any elements wanted for their dishes? They’re out there for foraging (cheese actually grows on timber!), all below the glow of strings of fairy lights.
Under the watchful eyes of three Food Gods — English chef Heston Blumenthal, Swedish chef Niklas Ekstedt, and American chef/TV character Carla Hall — who choose from a Grecian pedestal wearing all white, the dwelling cooks battle it out over three rounds.
The first spherical is devoted to a single magic ingredient, like bananas or mushrooms. In the second spherical, they sort out an replace on a well-known consolation food, like a grilled cheese sandwich. The final spherical is “The Final Feast,” the place the cooks current their most elaborate themed dishes to the judges.
But this is no extraordinary cooking compeitition collection. Instead, the clue for the present’s playful premise is in the title, “Crazy Delicious.” Innovation is central to every spherical, whether or not that comes from updating present recipes by fusing surprising cuisines, or by experimenting with uncommon taste mixtures and strategies. Sometimes this is not completely profitable — like when a contestant mixes chocolate and smoked fish, or when one other decides to combine the components of a grilled cheese into a vegan smoothie bowl.
But when it really works — like a fried spam musubi and tomato dip as a play on a grilled cheese and tomato soup — it is inspiring, particularly for food lovers at dwelling. I do not need to spoil an excessive amount of of the present, however after watching I’m now impressed to jerk-marinate a complete grilled watermelon, thus disguising it as a ham; I may have to construct a terrarium to make use of as a vessel for serving dessert.
It’s whimsical sufficient in premise to face out from the comparable three-round cooking applications that have saturated the food competition panorama over the final decade, however is nonetheless formulaic sufficient to function a soothing binge, very like “The Great British Bake Off.”
“Crazy Delicious” additionally separates itself from different food tv by advantage of the expertise the program has attracted. From the judges’ aspect, Blumenthal is a chef whose restaurant, Dinner with Heston, has been named one among the World’s Best Restaurants; Hall is a multi-talented cookbook creator, former “Top Chef” contestant and host of “The Chew”; Ekstedt is a Michelin-starred chef.
Together, they provide considerate and comparatively snark-free criticism, whereas additionally hamming it up for their new, godly roles — swirling white capes, making entrances to a thunderclap soundtrack, and the like. My favourite new little bit of light choose suggestions comes from Blumenthal. Any time he is introduced with an clearly failed dish, he counters with a considerate, “Are you pleased with this?”
The cooks featured on this present are mind-blowingly proficient, too. None of them are skilled cooks, (although many work in food as bloggers, writers, or food Instagrammers), however after being informed to “Go forth and forage,” they use the backyard as a chance to showcase their creativity.
Grounding this fantastical show is host Jayde Adams. The British comic’s dry, cheeky humor provides a little salt in the in any other case saccharine settings, and her rapport with the contestants is easy. “How did the burger introduce his wife?” Adams deadpans to the viewers throughout a burger spherical. “Meet Patty. Also a good name for a drag queen.”
“Crazy Delicious” is not flawless — the pacing can stutter a bit over the hourlong episodes, particularly throughout the intervals of time the cooks aren’t truly cooking — however I admire how the love of food, reasonably than contrived drama, takes centerstage. This is a present the place each creativity and execution are rewarded. Among a buffet of different choices, “Crazy Delicious” deserves a spot in your plate. As Adams would say, “Smash it out, babes.”
The first season of “Crazy Delicious” is now streaming on Netflix.