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Knife Fight

Knife Fight

Photo Credit:  Kareem Black/Esquire Network
  • Premiered: 
    September 24, 2013
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Esquire
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Game Show & Contest
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Talent
  • Tags: food, cooking

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Plot Synopsis

Chefs compete in head-to-head bouts by combining two or three secret ingredients to create at least two dishes in an hour, while trying to impress a raucous crowd and a rotating panel of judges that includes critics, restaurateurs, and celebrities. Hosted by TOP CHEF Season 2 winner Ilan Hall at his Los Angeles restaurant, The Gorbals, each 30-minute episode of KNIFE FIGHT highlights two battles, with each bout featuring two different chefs, including James Beard nominees, "Food & Wine" Best New Chefs, TOP CHEF competitors, chefs who've worked at Michelin-starred restaurants, and more. While the competitors are cooking, the crowd -- comprised of the chefs' friends, neighbors and family -- cheers and jeers throughout the competition. At the end of each battle, the chefs are judged by Hall and two or three others, such as: celebrities Drew Barrymore, Elijah Wood, Jason Lee, Bijou Phillips, Erika Christensen, Eric Wareheim, and Bijou Phillips; food writers Jeanne Kelly and Evan Kleiman; restaurateur Lou Amdur; TOP CHEF alums Elia Aboumrad and Michael Voltaggio; musician Brett Gurewitz; and many more die-hard foodies. Drew Barrymore is an executive producer of this series. KNIFE FIGHT returned for its second season on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT, as Esquire broadcast a special one-hour Season 2 premiere with Chefs Tim Love and Mike Isabella breaking down an entire pig and making an unusual side bet. Naomi Pomeroy and Kris Morningstar were guest judges for the season opener. After a two-month break, Esquire aired the Season 2 Summer premiere of KNIFE FIGHT on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 10pm ET/PT, showing back-to-back new episodes. At 10pm chef Adam Sappington and Michael Smith battle with a forequarter of beef, trying to impress guest judges Naomi Pomeroy and Brendan Collins. Then at 10:30pm, previous KNIFE FIGHT champ Ricardo Zarate battles Ray Garcia, using octopus for dishes for guest judges Kris Morningstar and Naomi Pomeroy. On Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 10pm ET/PT on Esquire, KNIFE FIGHT returned for its third season with a new tournament format, as two chefs go head-to-head in each 30-minute episode, making at least two dishes in an hour from a combination of secret ingredients. In Season 3, 16 New York area chefs compete in multiple rounds to conquer mystery ingredients -- and each other -- but only one will be left standing. Week after week, each bout is 'do or die' as chefs either advance to the next round or are eliminated from competition. The chefs that move on face harder ingredients and even tougher opponents as each week the battles whittle the competition down to two challengers who go head to head in a one-hour grand finale fight for glory. Ilan's newest outpost, The Gorbals Brooklyn, serves as the venue, and judges Naomi Pomeroy and Kris Morningstar join Ilan, as they select the winning chef. Award-winning chefs battling include: Einat Admony, Miguel Aguilar, Wolfgang Ban, Franklin Becker, Joey Campanaro, Vincent Chirico, Leah Cohen, David Felton, Edi Frauneder, Daniel Holzman, Pete Lipson, Tony Maws, Jonah Miller, Todd Mitgang, Dale Talde and Sean Telo. Season 4 of KNIFE FIGHT premiered on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 from 9-10pm ET/PT, as Esquire Network debuted back-to-back new episodes. Hosted by Chef Ilan Hall and judged by Sue Zemanick and Dale Talde, the fourth season was shot bracket tournament style at Hall's Brooklyn-based restaurant, The Gorbals, showcasing notable chefs as they compete to conquer mystery ingredients -- and each other -- with only one left standing. KNIFE FIGHT Season 3 winner Edi Frauneder guest judges throughout the season. Each half-hour episode features two celebrated chefs battling it out head-to-head, making at least two dishes in a single hour from a combination of secret ingredients. The 16 cheftestants in Season 4 include: John Tesar of Knife, Oak and El Bolero; Angelo Sosa of Anejo Tribeca, Abajo Tequila Bar and Anejo Hell's Kitchen; JJ Johnson of The Cecil and Minton's; Quino Baca of The Brooklyn Star; Tre Wilcox of Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts; Sean Brasel of Meat Market; John Daley of New York Sushi Ko; Luis Bollo of Salinas; Bao Bao of Baoburg; Chris Cheung of East Wind Snack Shop; Carrie Shores of WOW Kitchen; Joshua Henderson of Great State Burger, Westward, Quality Athletics, The Skillet Group and Vestal; Kim Alter of Nightbird and Linden Room; Ed McFarland of Ed's Lobster Bar; Jason Marcus of Bracker & Marcus; and Gary Anza of Bowery Bay Bar.
On Tuesday, December 29, 2015 from 9-10pm ET/PT, Esquire premiered the one-hour finale of this season's tournament, immediately following an encore presentation (8-9pm) of last week's semifinals. In the 60-minute season ender, "Final: Whole Ostrich," only two culinary conquistadors remain. Angelo Sosa faces Quino Baca -- and one very big bird -- with Edi Frauneder, Dale Talde & Sue Zemanick judging who will be crowned champion.


Other Titles

  • Originally known as: Food Fight Club

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Flower Films
  • Produced by Authentic Entertainment


  • The Gorbals (Seasons 1 & 2) - Los Angeles, California USA - Map It!
  • The Gorbals Brooklyn (Seasons 3 & 4) - Brooklyn, New York USA - Map It!