Oprah Winfrey Network announced today “The Great Soul Food Cook-Off,” a first-of-its-kind soul food cooking competition series celebrating Black chefs and the Black culinary traditions that are the cornerstone of American cuisine. The six-episode, one-hour series debuts on discovery+ on Saturday, November 20th, with new episodes every Saturday through December 18th.
Today, we see Black culture recognized like never before in music, film, fashion, TV, sports, and more, but that same cultural recognition remains long overdue in the kitchen. OWN has partnered with discovery+ via the original series, “The Great Soul Food Cook-Off,” in a cooking competition that finally spotlights the culinary contributions of Black chefs with challenges designed to highlight the past and present of soul food. Eight chefs will go head-to-head throughout the show in this high-stakes, spiritual, and emotional competition, but only one competitor can take home the grand prize of $50,000.
To watch the “The Great Soul Food Cook-Off” trailer, click HERE
“Soul food originated in the earliest African American communities and describes a style of cuisine that represents the creativity and skill of Black cooks from many cultures within the African diaspora,” said Tina Perry, president, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. “Our audience cherishes time together as a family around the table and many have passed down favorite family recipes for generations. This series is a celebration of long-standing traditions we hope to introduce and spotlight for new and existing viewers as we shine a light on a few of today’s most talented Black chefs and culinary curators.”
“The Great Soul Food Cook-Off” is hosted by acclaimed chef and television show host Kardea Brown. Brown will be joined by some of the world’s best chefs, Eric Adjepong and Melba Wilson as they critique the chefs’ weekly creations.
Additional judges that will join Adjepong and Wilson include:
· Tanya Holland – (Episode 1)
· Alexander Smalls – (Episode 2 & 6)
· BJ Dennis – (Episode 3)
· Tiffany Derry – (Episode 4)
· Millie Peartree – (Episode 5)
· Kwame Onwuachi – (Episode 6)
“The Great Soul Food Cook-Off” contestants are:
· Chris Scott, 53 (Chef/Owner, Butterfunk Biscuit Co. – Harlem, NY)
· Dorian Hunter, 47 (Chef/Caterer, Elevated Soul – Atlanta, GA)
· Fred Fluellen, 32 (Private Chef/Caterer, Fluniversity – Atlanta, GA)
· Jamarius Banks, 28 (Private Chef – Atlanta, GA)
· Jermaine Smith, 48 (Chef/Owner, Henry’s Soul Cafe – Washington, D.C.)
· Razia Sabour, 40 (Private Chef/Caterer, Fuller Foods – Atlanta, GA)
· Shacafrica Simmons, 47 (Private Chef/Caterer, Southern Fusion – Tallahassee, FL)
· Tirzah Love, 38 (Private Chef/Caterer – Oakland, CA)
The competition premieres with a Soul Starter Challenge paying homage to the foundational “meat and three,” a meal featuring a portion of meat and three sides that are African American community must-haves. In this first challenge, “The Great Soul Food Cook-Off” chefs form teams and are challenged to a Meat N’ Three Knockout, preparing smothered pork chops, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and a potato salad. The winning team then holds an advantage going into the main Cook-Off Challenge, where the chefs create innovative dishes with staple ingredients. So who will dig the deepest and draw inspiration from their ancestors to win, and who is going home?
“The Great Soul Food Cook-Off” is produced by Good Egg Entertainment, the company behind Food Network’s hit cooking competition series “Chopped.” Michael W. Twitty, the esteemed culinary historian, educator, and James Beard Foundation award-winning author of The Cooking Gene, will serve as culinary historian and consultant for the series. OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is overseeing production.
ABOUT KARDEA BROWN
Kardea Brown is a contemporary Southern cook born in Charleston, South Carolina. She is of Gullah/Geechee descent, a term used to describe a distinct group of African Americans living in the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia who have managed to preserve much of their West African language, culture and cuisine. Her love for cooking started in her grandmother’s kitchen, learning to cook Gullah dishes that were passed down from her mother. Although she loved cooking as a hobby, Kardea did not envision herself pursuing a career within the culinary field. Instead, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and embarked on a career in Social Services. But in 2013, she switched gears and began to pursue cooking. She created The New Gullah Supper Club, traveling from state to state cooking traditional Gullah dishes with a contemporary twist. Kardea has since made dozens of guest television appearances on shows such as ABC’s The Chew and Food Network’s Farmhouse Rules, BBQ Blitz, The Kitchen, Chopped Jr., Beat Bobby Flay, and Cooks vs. Cons. Additionally, she has her own show on the Food Network, Delicious Miss Brown, which is currently in its 5th season.
discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service. discovery+ features a landmark partnership with Verizon that gives their customers with select plans up to 12 months of discovery+ on Verizon. discovery+ has the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service at launch, featuring a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular, passion verticals in which Discovery brands have a strong leadership position, including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com or find it on a variety of platforms and devices, including ones from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Samsung.
ABOUT OWN: OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey’s heart and creative instincts inform the brand and the magnetism of the channel. OWN is a leading destination for premium scripted and unscripted programming from today’s most innovative storytellers. OWN connects with its audience wherever they are, inspiring conversation among a global community of like-minded viewers on social media and beyond. Launched on January 1, 2011, OWN is a joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery, Inc. The venture also includes the award-winning digital platform Oprah.com. Access OWN anytime on Watch OWN and discovery+ across mobile devices and connected TVs.
ABOUT GOOD EGG ENTERTAINMENT
Good Egg Entertainment is a New York-based, unscripted production company that’s committed to creating innovative, energetic and positive content for all ages. Best known as the producers of Chopped, with almost 900 episodes of the series to date, the Good Egg team has proven its capabilities in making long-lasting premium television. Focused on entertaining formats with international appeal, especially food-forward content for streaming and linear platforms, recent Good Egg productions include Money Hungry with Kal Penn for Food Network/Discovery+, Dishmantled with Tituss Burgess and Eye Candy with Josh Groban for Roku Originals, and The Great Soul Food Cook-Off for OWN/Discovery+. Individually, the leaders at Good Egg have built their careers on the development and production of seminal series that include Queer Eye, Pawn Stars, the Emmy-winning Zimmern List, Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? and Legends of The Hidden Temple.