Parents' Guide to

Chef Academy

By Kari Croop, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Cooking contest's formula isn't really fresh, but it's fun.

TV Bravo Reality TV 2009
Chef Academy Poster Image

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You could make the argument that we don't really need another reality-style cooking competition on television -- and on the same network as genre stalwart Top Chef, no less. But Chef Academy at least makes the attempt to switch it up by offering a glimpse of Novelli's personal life and including several relatively inexperienced home cooks among its slate of competitors. In that sense, it's much easier for viewers at home to relate and feel like they, too, could give it a go ... which could be precisely what Novelli has in mind.

Orange County housewife Suzanne Winn is a surefire standout, and it's not just because her platinum hair and cleavage make her look like a casting reject from The Real Housewives of Orange County. As it turns out, the woman can make some delicious fruit compote. But she's also the most entertaining person on the show by far, given her habit of spouting random one-liners at the camera, including "Film at 11!" "I'm a ci-vil-i-an" and "Will Rogers! [sic] Emergency! Emergency!" Novelli's own fondness for old episodes of Columbo (and his Peter Falk impersonation that goes along with it) is also kind of endearing. So we'll keep watching ... at least until Suzanne serves up that third fail.

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