Gordon Ramsay’s first new cooking competition series in more than a decade is taking the genre as a whole to the next level, by housing the upcoming show inside a three-story set with an industrial kitchen on each floor.
Dubbed “Next Level Chef,” the Fox series challenges its contestants to compete in each of these different kitchens, with the lowest as the worst possible setup to cook in, the middle being a standard professional situation, and the top a state-of-the-art masterpiece that makes life a breeze for chefs.
A platform full of ingredients is lowered down into each of the floors, with those at the top having the first pick of what they want to use, and only a few items remaining once it reaches the basement.
In order to keep the kitchen-specific difficulty level in that ascending order in every aspect of the show, the “Next Level Chef” team had to construct kitchens right on top of each other without allowing heat from the bottom kitchens lead to a trickier cooking environment temperature-wise as you went up each floor.
“This was not your normal television set,” showrunner and executive producer Matt Cahoon told TheWrap in an email Tuesday, ahead of “Next Level Chef’s” January debut. “It truly was a Next Level marvel constructed by our team. Built with over 85 tons of steel, our stage is 50 feet high, meaning we had to have a production hub built to house it, as the only permanent structures with that kind of height were sports arenas. A 40,000 sq ft industrial tent was built. It was the largest temporary structure in Las Vegas history. With that, our stage had to pass many of the permanent building codes in Clark County. With that much fortitude built in, neither the heat, nor the sound was ever an issue from floor to floor.”
Cahoon added: “One more thing we were truly proud of…the entire set was 100% green. A feat never before accomplished. All of our burners and ranges were run on natural gas. All of our generators, which ran electric and air conditioning (which we used a lot of in the Las Vegas 110 degree heat) were also gas powered. This set was absolutely cutting edge.”
Hosted and judged by Ramsay and his co-mentors, chefs Nyesha Arrington and Richard Blais, “Next Level Chef” features a lineup of competitors that range from line cooks to home chefs to social media stars to food truck owners, all of whom are trying to make the best of whatever circumstance they are thrown into each week in this three-floor battle.
The winner will received a $250,000 grand prize and a year of mentorship after being named “Next Level Chef.”
“Next Level Chef” premieres immediately after the NFL on Fox doubleheader and aftershow “The OT” in all time zones on Sunday, Jan. 2.