Helen Herimbi

Last week, a friend of mine chastised me for having unhealthy eating habits. Food “is there to nurture you, not to comfort you,” she said, not-so-jokingly. She may be on to something.

But when it comes to ‘Chef vs City’, food is there to separate the common cook from the culinary artist. While carrying a gigantic sandwich on the shoulder and running through a park. Say what?

‘Chef vs City’ is not just a cooking show. In fact, it’s more of a reality TV competition that actually requires you to do more than stick stuff in a pan to be crowned the best chef on television. That’s because it pits two teams against each other in an Amazing Race-esque way. The half-hour programme airs on TopTV’s Fine Living Network.

Two television chefs – that would be the guys who have shows on which you can watch them cook, and not the guys who could place your plasma on a pan and claim to not be high on bath salts – are the consistent contestants.

Chris Cosentino and Aaron Sanchez are famous faces on The Food Network and Ethan Erickson (whom you may have seen in CSI: New York) is the show’s host. Each week, the three guys travel to an American city and challenge the best pair of chefs in that place to a race across the city; making all sorts of local dishes on their way to the finish line.

All of the chefs are given a backpack with tools such as rulers – for those foot-long Subs, you know – and a car to navigate their way to their destinations. As in the Amazing Race, they are also given cooking, baking or food preparation challenges which, upon completion, result in them being given clues about their next challenge.

‘Chef vs City’ is so competition-driven viewers who love plain ol’ food shows may feel robbed of that lengthy cooking experience. But if you’re on the fence about shows that involve food, but enjoy watching competitions, you’ll like it.

‘Chef vs City’ screens on Fine Living (TopTV channel 451) on Sundays at 10pm and on Mondays at 6pm.