With another “Top Chef” season behind us, foodies now have a new culinary competition show to look forward to: BBC America’s “No Kitchen Required.” A combination of “Top Chef” and an adventure travel show, NKR keeps the chefs static while changing location each week. And instead of the focus on a tournament style competition, the focus lies on the challenges presented by each new destination.
The three chefs involved — Michael Psilakis, Madison Cowan and Kayne Raymond — need to find and prepare their food in situ while on location, whether that’s in the jungle, the Arctic or wherever their crew lands. They’re judged by local experts and though there’s a winner each week it’s a fairly friendly competition.
The kind folks at BBC America sent over a screener of NKR to Gadling Labs this weekend and we took a look. There are some distinctive similarities to “Top Chef.” There’s a beautiful, slender host, the timed cooking and judging is identical and the frustrating production is similar to many of the unscripted series choking the market. Where “No Kitchen Required” really excels is in its cast and the narrative. The chefs are really positive and respectful, throttling down the drama to focus on the destination and the local culture. The story weaves through the location and the audience can learn not only about the food, but also about the history and the landscape of the setting. For this travel writer, those virtues make “No Kitchen Required” volumes better than “Top Chef.”
“No Kitchen Required” airs tonight on BBC America at 10/9C. Check out the exclusive clip above for a taste of the series premier.