New season of ‘Kitchen Crash’ brings block party fun to an outdoor cooking competition

Kitchen Crash
Host Jeff Mauro, as seen on Kitchen Crash, Season 2.
Photo courtesy of Food Network

Ready for a truly wild block party? A new season of Food Network’s “Kitchen Crash” is premiering this week!

Hosted and judged by Jeff Mauro, each episode of “Kitchen Crash” features three chefs that go head-to-head in a cooking competition. However, the chefs are dropped onto an unsuspecting block that is preparing for a block party. The chefs have 10 minutes to convince the residents of the block to let them raid their kitchens for ingredients.

“You’re looking at anything from gifts such as homemade Turkish dry seasoning that was imported from grandma to use in a chicken dish, to literally gigantic arm-sized zucchinis in their backyards. The chefs can use anything,” said Mauro. 

After the residents of the households gather ingredients, the chefs must ration what they are given to last for the entire competition. There are three rounds of competition, each with its own theme.

Chef Sara Nguyen greets the Chambliss Family before Round 1, as seen on Kitchen Crash, Season 2.Photo courtesy of Food Network

Mauro is joined by a different guest judge each episode, including Cliff Crooks, Marc Murphy, Julian Rodarte, and Justin Sutherland, and the winner of the competition splits $10,000 with the family that provided the ingredients.

“That’s the beauty of it, there’s no shared pantry and they’re left to the ingredients they gather. I’m not gonna lie, it’s challenging [to judge]. I judge in taste and plating in the ingredients they have and that carries through the competition,” said Mauro. “I’m not going to give them a surf and turf challenge if one has no surf and the other has no turf. We judge on what they’ve got, 90% of American has this stuff in their freezers. It’s a great equalizer for a cooking competition.”

Because the competition is taking place outside, the chefs have to be ready to compete against the elements, as the competition goes on rain or shine.  Sometimes chefs also find that some of the block residents don’t want to participate and will slam the door in their faces, cutting into their time to find ingredients.

“Every block is going have a couple of people that slam the door on chefs as they knock on it. Then you have places where 100% participated,” said Mauro. “Once the energy starts, the lights go on and competition starts, it’s still a neighborhood block party. These people got down. There’s a party going on, the competition unfolds before their eyes.”

Chef Brandon Campney with Host Jeff Mauro during Round 1, as seen on Kitchen Crash, Season 2.Photo courtesy of Food Network

Mauro says that families really get in on the fun of the competition, which makes it tough to send a chef home because a family is getting knocked out of the competition as well. But one of Mauro’s favorite aspects of the show is that he can interact with the families on the block and partake in the block party while the competition goes on.

“I’m not going to fancy trailer in between takes, I’m talking to the people, having a jello shot or two, maybe doing a keg stand or playing dodgeball,” said Mauro with a laugh. “I was partying with them.”

This season, “Kitchen Crash” isn’t limited to the restrictions that were in place during the first season, which was shot during the pandemic, so you really get to see the fun of the block party surrounding the competition. Mauro says that this new season is non-stop fun for everyone involved.

“This year, it’s a full-on block party. The competition is more intense, the shenanigans are tenfold,” said Mauro. “Every episode comes with a surprise, from shooting in a rainstorm to real good wholesome American fun. And the food is so good and the chefs are so talented. This is the funniest thing I have ever worked on.”

The new season of “Kitchen Crash” premieres on Food Network at 10 p.m. ET/PT on July 12.

Chef Claude Lewis with the Tornetto Family during Round 1, as seen on Kitchen Crash, Season 2.Photo courtesy of Food Network