E! Picks Up New Reality Culinary Series PLAYING WITH FIRE
E! Entertainment dishes up an exclusive look inside the lives of the driving personalities who are at the forefront of New York's world-renowned culinary scene with a new unscripted series, Playing with Fire. The series showcases the movers and shakers of New York's exciting restaurant industry as they work to strike a balance between busy professional and personal lives in a city known for its cut-throat competitiveness, vigorous pace and of course delectable cuisine. Playing with Fire began production in fall 2012 and is set to premiere April 2013, E! Entertainment President Suzanne Kolb announced today.
"We're excited to provide E! viewers with this unique new perspective on New York's world-famous food culture and the charismatic, driven individuals who thrive in it," Kolb said. "Playing with Fire embodies a world in which a combination of talent, ambition, a lot of charm and a little gamesmanship are needed to reach the ultimate goal -- long-term success in a high-stakes industry."
"We're thrilled to be working with E! on this sexy docu-soap set right in our own backyard of New York," says Bruce David Klein, President and Executive Producer of the NY-based Atlas Media Corp. "This ensemble cast has explosive passion and creativity - and together they represent the best of what's happening in the world's greatest food city."
The 6-episode, one-hour series features a cast of New York's star "foodies" that includes well-connected Chef Boyardee heiress, brand ambassador and cookbook author Anna Boiardi; devilishly handsome nightlife impresarios-turned-food-entrepreneurs Derek and Daniel Koch; Julie Elkind, a pastry chef extraordinaire with a little edge to go along with her sweet touch; Candice Kumai, a former model and Top Chef competitor who aims to keep foodies' waistlines trim with her calorie-conscious cuisine. Actress Jennifer Esposito, who lives with Celiac disease and has committed herself to advocating for those in her position and cooking Gluten-free food will also make appearances in the series, as will celebrity Chef/Restaurateur Todd English.
This fascinating bunch is a cross section of players who reside atop New York's glamorous food scene. Reservations at an elite chef's dining room are as sought after as tickets to the hottest Broadway show, and writers covering food, gossip and business wield tremendous power as they keep close tabs on the volatile professional and personal lives of the revered leaders. This all results in a city that brims with a variety of delicious food choices, from haute cuisine to simple fare that inspires the palates of food lovers around the world.
The series will feature the Koch brothers' fun and buzz-worthy parties; Boiardi's intimate dinner gatherings overflowing with succulent fare and celebrity faces; Elkind's intensely active pastry kitchen where the delicate delights on display belie the stressful atmosphere, and former Los Angeleno Candice Kumai's quest to make a name for herself in New York. Playing with Fire illustrates what New York City's food scene is known for - big helpings of high energy and the drive for success, with a side of drama.
Anna Boiardi is an Italian-born, New York socialite whose family's name is prominent in every American supermarket. The granddaughter and niece of the founders of the Chef Boyardee company - that's her uncle on the can! - hosts in-demand dinner parties at the home she shares with her lawyer husband and young son. She's a brand ambassador for the company, and wrote "Delicious Memories," a cookbook of authentic Italian recipes inspired by her early experiences of cooking with her mother and grandmother. She also shares her love of food by teaching New Yorkers how to cook through her exclusive Cucina Academy classes.
At just 25 years of age, Julie Elkind is already a pastry chef extraordinaire. An accomplished kick-boxer who was voted to the top of Zagat's list of 30 Under 30 Hot Chefs in New York, she lives with her aspiring actor boyfriend Kyle, whose casual approach to life sometimes clashes with her perfectionist ways.
Known as the "Stiletto Chef," Candice Kumai was a "cheftestant" on Bravo's Top Chef, where her culinary skills quickly won over those who assumed this former model was just a pretty face. Since then, she has written best-selling cookbooks, made numerous TV appearances and established herself as an advocate of healthy eating. A longtime Angeleno, she's moved to New York and is staking her claim in a city that doesn't lack for talented chefs.
Identical twins Daniel and Derek Koch started off as models but quickly transitioned to the New York food scene, making a name for themselves with their boutique events and hospitality company, Dual Groupe. Now, they are growing their business from promoting restaurant/nightclub concepts like the fun Day & Night parties, to include restaurant ownership, such as Toy at the Gansevoort hotel in New York's Meatpacking district. The brothers are mixing their hard-charging lifestyle with the nitty-gritty of running a successful dining room.
Playing with Fire is produced by Atlas Media Corp., with Bruce David Klein serving as Executive Producer, Joseph Eardly and Lorri Leighton as Co-Executive Producers.
More On: E!, Top Chef, Jennifer Esposito.