Guy Fieri will be returning to Food Network on Feb. 18 for another installment of “Tournament of Champions,” TheWrap has exclusively learned. The culinary competition show will debut at 8 p.m. ET/PT and will air its final episode on April 7.
“As the wildest, most anticipated culinary competition year-after-year, you know that we had to go big for Season 5,” said Fieri in a statement to press. “So here’s the deal, in order to win, you’ve gotta either be a past champ or take down a champ, as all the winners from previous seasons are back to defend their titles. We’re crankin’ up the already fierce competition with heated culinary rivalries, wild cards, and of course, off-the-charts flavor on ‘Tournament of Champions V!’”
“Viewers cannot get enough of this exhilarating, unpredictable competition as ‘Tournament of Champions’ is consistently Food Network’s highest-rated series, with nearly 11 million viewers at the edge-of-their-seats last season,” said Betsy Ayala, head of food content for Warner Bros. Discovery, in a statement to the press.
Just like the previous seasons before it, “Tournament of Champions” Season 5 will operate via a bracket system. The series takes 32 of the most talented chefs from the East and West Coasts and pushes them to their absolute limits. Chefs, which will include all four previous winners of the series, do not know their opponents, their challenges or which random ingredient they will have to use. All they know is that they have to cook the best dish possible in this series of challenges that become increasingly harder each round.
Battles will be judged by a rooster of the some the biggest names in the food world. Adding to the pressure, chefs will be able to watch the judges’ critiques of their work backstage. Donatella Arpaia, Scott Conant, Cat Cora, Rocco DiSpirito, Susan Feniger, Lorena Garcia, Carla Hall, Michael Mina, Eric Ripert, Marcus Samuelsson, Nancy Silverton, Ming Tsai, Michael White, Jonathan Waxman, Geoffrey Zakarian and Andrew Zimmern are all set to judge this season.
Simon Majumdar and Justin Warner will host the series in front of a live audience, and Hunter Fieri will conduct behind-the-scenes interviews.
The series will run the course of eight weeks, which will include 31 head-to-head battles. At the end of it all, one chef will be named the winner, an honor that comes with the “Tournament of Champions” belt as well as $150,000 — the largest cash prize in the history of the event since its premiere in 2020.
From the East coast the competitors will be Season 2 champion Maneet Chauhan, Season 3 champion Tiffani Faison, Eric Adjepong, Karen Akunowicz, Kelsey Barnard Clark, Tobias Dorzon, Amanda Freitag, Jose Garces, Stephanie Izard, Marc Murphy, Britt Rescigno, Jonathon Sawyer and Dale Talde.
As for the West coast, Season 4 champion Mei Lin, Antonia Lofaso, Season 1 champion Brooke Williamson, Carlos Anthony, Shirley Chung, Crista Luedtke, Brian Malarkey, Shota Nakajima, Joe Sasto, Adam Sobel, Casey Thompson, Jet Tila, Michael Voltaggio and Lee Anne Wong will take on the challenge.
Fans of the series will get a glimpse of the competition in two different pre-season specials. Episodes of “Tournament of Champions: The Qualifiers” will premiere on Feb. 8 and Feb. 14. During these specials, 16 chefs will go head-to-head to win four eighth seed slots in the tournament bracket.
Feb. 14 will also mark the premiere of another “Tournament of Champions” special, the last season recap “Road to Tournament of Champions V,” which will premiere at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
“Tournament of Champions V” is for Food Network by Knuckle Sandwich and Lando Entertainment.
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