(( Read about season 2 premiering Jan 19th 2016 CLICK HERE))
I am incredibly excited to announce that my new show Junk Food Flip is premiering June 2nd at 9pm EST on Cooking Channel!!!!!!!!!!!
On Junk Food Flip, myself and Bobby Deen travel around the country in a massive food truck (I can now add food truck driver to my special talents) and put our healthy spin on some of the best indulgent dishes this country has to offer.
We find restaurants with signature dishes that are delicious but are also very indulgent (think 1400 calories or more!) and challenge them to a showdown to see if we can make a version that's healthier AND tastes even better than the original.
Eating the famous Jalapeno Popper Burger at GAS Restaurant
We’re talking deep fried burgers stuffed with cheese, lobster mac and cheese sandwiches and French toast hot dogs.
First Bobby and I each make our own version of the signature dish, then we have a handful of taste testers choose which version they liked better, Bobby's or mine. The version that wins then goes head to head with the restaurant original.
A blind taste test with the locals then decides if we have made a version that is not only healthier but better than the original. It's a lofty promise and you'll have to tune in to see if we can pull it off.
The rain forming behind us ruined the shoot for the rest of the day.
Having a show where I can share my food has been a dream of mine for many years now. When I didn't win Food Network Star, this dream felt so far away. But with much perseverance and hard work, anything can happen!
Bored and goofing around
I first auditioned for Junk Food Flip nearly 2 years ago, so this has been a long but exciting process. Being able to finally share the show with all of you is definitely the most exciting part by far!
Jessica can do touch ups anywhere!
Junk Food Flip was filmed in January/February of this year, even though most of the crew was based in NY, we decided to pick up and move everyone to the south. Considering most of the show is shot outside, dealing with the snowstorms and bitter cold up north didn't seem like the best idea.
The cast + crew of Junk Food Flip
However we must have brought the cold with us because Florida, Georgia and South Carolina felt eerily similar to my hometown of Buffalo. Let's just say it was freezing!!
I ended up wearing a down vest under my shirts and made it a habit to stick muscle relieving hot patches all over my back (hey, it was some source of heat!). Even though my teeth were chattering outside the truck, I always warmed right up when we started cooking for up to 80 taste testers.
Left: Seeing if I can get away with a down vest under my shirt. See if you can tell I’m wearing it on episode 3! Right: Every morning the wonderful Jessica came knocking at 4:45am to make me pretty.
There were two things that surprised me while on the road; the signature dishes were not just indulgent and over the top, but also seriously tasty, and that the people were so incredibly kind and welcoming.
Shooting the opening of the show which you'll see at the beginning of every episode
These people were making their own buns, smoking their meat for 14 hours and sourcing only the best ingredients. I got seriously nervous after trying the food at each one of these places because it was SO good, I wasn't sure we could pull it off.
It was so amazing filming with the restaurant owners and hearing how their restaurants came to be. Southern Soul BBQ burned down in 2011 , but with the help of donations from the community they rebuilt. Perfectly Franks started as a counter with 3 stools and A1A Burrito Works grew from one to many locations quicker than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Roadside Seafood started as a food truck while GAS Restaurant's space was originally (you guessed it) a gas station. And all of these places are run by families with many generations on hand.
It was incredibly fun and wonderfully tasty and I really hope you can check out Junk Food Flip, premiering June 2nd at 9pmEST on Cooking Channel!!!!