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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Be Our Chef is a cooking competition where families must complete challenges inspired by Disney films and characters. The show is a fun watch for families with young kids, and the contestants demonstrate teamwork and problem-solving skills. The kitchen tasks are simple enough that viewers can use them as inspiration for their own culinary creations as well. That said, commercialism is a concern. Disney excels at branding nearly every aspect of this series, from the Walt Disney Resort setting and frequent prize promos to the movie clips and visits with characters like Cinderella and Baymax that happen throughout.
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What's the story?
In BE OUR CHEF, families face off in cooking challenges in the hopes of winning a Disney Cruise Line vacation grand prize. Hosted by Angela Kinsey, each episode pits two families against each other in a timed cook-off inspired by a Disney movie or character. Team members also compete for the chance to win an advantage -- such as extra time for themselves or a "time out" for their opponents -- in a Garden Game while the action continues in the kitchen. When time runs out, the teams present their entries to a professional chef who determines the winner. Families accumulate pins representing their wins with the most successful team claiming the grand prize trip.
Is it any good?
This series celebrates teamwork and family cooperation, but it’s also a thorough and exceedingly effective ad for the Disney franchise. Set at the Walt Disney World Resort, it includes scenes of lavish theme park destinations, shows the contestants meeting characters from Disney films, and incorporates clips from movies like Cinderella and Big Hero 6. In other words, it is difficult to forget as you watch that the show is a Disney production.
Even so, there are worse ways to spend family screen time than by watching Be Our Chef. The families cooperate well and must put their heads together to solve the problems that inevitably arise in the kitchen. Creativity and thinking outside the box are rewarded, and overall the show is a good reminder of the value of stretching yourself and trying something new.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the teams in Be Our Chef work together effectively. How do they divide responsibilities in the kitchen? What strengths does each member bring to the group?
Given the same challenge, what dish would you have made for the judges? How would you incorporate the requisite Disney theme? Do you think this themed cooking is a fun way to meal plan?
What aspects of this series reflect the Disney brand? Do the prolific references to it distract from the actual focus of the cooking competition, or is it a fun combination? To what degree are we influenced by what we see and hear on the screen? Is that necessarily a bad thing?
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