Chef J Chong has always had mixed feelings about cooking competition shows. You know — the ones that pit contestants against each other while a clock ticks anxiously. But Asheville’s resident Cantonese chef says she’s thrilled to appear in the new HBO Max series "The Big Brunch.”
“I always joked I would never be on a food cooking competition show,” said Chong. “But this one hit different. It’s not your typical cooking competition.... I think this is going to give people a different perspective of what we do in the service industry.”
The show, produced by Dan Levy — well-known for his role as David Rose in “Schitt’s Creek" — follows ten chefs from across the country who share their stories and business dreams and cook plenty of brunch dishes while going head-to-head for a $300,000 prize. The eight-episode series premieres Thursday, Nov. 10.
While, yes, the show inevitably involves competition, Chong explains “it’s supposed to be an uplifting food show,” one that gives a platform for “people who are trying to do good in their communities.” She continues, "[Levy] was extremely intentional with choosing the contestants, and I’m honored he saw something within me.”
Joining Levy, food writer Sohla El-Waylly and restaurateur Will Guidara will serve as judges on the show. Chef contestants, who often collaborate, represent cities from Norfolk, VA and El Paso, TX to Brooklyn, NY.
While we’ll have to wait and see how Chong fares in the show, watchers can expect plenty of love, passion, and camaraderie among the judges and contestants. And this trailer teases several scenes that are bound to pull on heart strings.
“My main goal is to continue being a visible queer Asian woman and continue to offer that representation through food,” reflects Chong. “That’s my number one passion. And I hope that my platform will gain a bigger audience through this show.”
Interested in watching episode one with fellow fans? Check out New Belgium Brewing’s watch party on Friday, Nov. 11 at 8:30 p.m.