Michael Symon: Food Feuds

Super Chef caught a sneak peak at Food Feud, a new Food Network series staring Michael Symon. The idea is most cities and towns have rivalries between competing restaurants – who makes the best breakfast burrito, pizza, or lobster roll. Michael is there to decide which is best.

In this episode, Michael starts in Chicago deciding between Al’s #! and Mr. Beef – both sandwich joints make “Italian beef sandwiches” that consist of giardiniera and sliced beef on a roll dipped in beef juices. Michael goes behind the scenes and discovers that Al’s uses well-done top sirloin, while Mr. Beef’s uses sirloin butt cooked medium rare. Both top the sandwich off with a spicy celery mixture and mustard. The final decision is made in front of a hooting crowd in the John Hancock building. At first, Michael declares a tie – which makes sense since both restaurant have huge legions of fans and have survived for years – and the recipes hardly differ. Michael declares: “I am a chef. I am a sucker for tradition” and chooses Al’s. But in the end, it doesn’t mean that Mr. Beef’s isn’t as good, or that Mr. Beef will be driven out of business.

The next stop is Detroit, where Michael runs a restaurant. This time the feud is over Coney Island hot dogs, a chili dog with mustard and onions. Two cousins are feuding next door to each other with very little difference in their recipes. To up the excitement, Michael calls one side red (American Coney Island) and the other side blue (Lafayette Coney Island). Is this the Democrats versus the Republicans? (But wasn’t Lafayette helping the Americans in the Revolutionary War?)

Adding a dose of partisan politics is not enough to add real drama to Food Feuds. The feuds themselves have added to the allure of the sandwiches the restaurants serve.

Why settle?

The whole point is to keep it going, so that each person can decide which he/she likes better. No one wants to give up their favorite for the other side.

And why would anyone change just because a celebrity chef says that the other sandwich is better?

Meantime, you can always channel surf over to the Travel Channel’s Food Wars and catch Sassy Pole Girls founder Camille Ford

(Image of Michael Symon from the Food Network and of Camille Ford from Ugo)

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