Watch My Show: Knife Fight’s Producer on Why Her Cooking Competition Cuts Deep

Knife Fight
Kareem Black/Esquire Network
Knife Fight

Esquire’s Knife Fight might be considered the street food of TV’s buffet of cooking shows. Chef (and Top Chef Season 2 winner) Ilan Hall oversees the late-night tournament, in which competitors compete by using mystery ingredients. In Season 3, 16 New York chefs face off at the Brooklyn outpost of Hall’s restaurant chain The Gorbals. Naomi Pomeroy and Kris Morningstar serve as judges along with Hall. We asked showrunner J.C. Begley why we should save room for Knife Fight.

I have time to watch one more show. Why should it be yours?

It’s the best cooking show on television that no one’s ever heard of. Also probably the drunkest. And the most fun. Those last two tend to go hand in hand.

Who should be watching?

Meat lovers, vegans, pescetarians, the gluten-free, the gluten-heavy, the lactose intolerant, the lactose enthusiasts, chefs, eaters, and your parents, especially if they are in the male 18-49 demographic.

What happens if we don’t watch?

We’ll get canceled. The competition will go on even without the camera guys there, but it’ll be a whole lot less fun for the chefs. They love the cameras.

What’s the best thing someone has said about your show?

Jimmy Fallon called us his favorite show. Drew Barrymore said we’re “baller,” although she’s an executive producer on the show so maybe that’s biased.

What’s the worst thing?

“This show is fine.”

Who was right?

Drew. We’re totally baller over here.

What’s an alternate title for your show?
When we air in Japan we’ll be called Cook Stab Drink Show!

Give us an equation for your show.

It’s the zombie battle from Game of Thrones plus Iron Chef minus the shiny floor divided by catfish. The fish, not the show.

Come up with a premise for a spin-off.

Kite Fight. Two chefs must cook a four-course meal while keeping their kites in flight on a windy beach. It’s the next evolution of culinary excellence.

What credit of yours would you prefer we forget?

Maid of Honor at my sister’s wedding.

Tell us one thing about your cast.

We don’t actually have a cast. We have a chef. And yes, those glasses are real.

What other series would you most like to be an executive producer on?

One on a really big network. Then I could afford to do helicopter shots.

Let’s scare the network. Tell us something that didn’t make it to air.

It’s the episode entitled “Donner, Party of Four, Your Table is Ready.”

Finish this sentence: “If you like________, you’ll love our show.”


Pick a show and start a fake feud.

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Let’s do this, Fieri! We are coming to take those sunglasses.

What other show would you like to do a crossover episode with?

Law & Order. The detectives are busted down to checking on FHA violations and must go undercover to infiltrate Brooklyn’s mysterious after-hours cooking competition. Mariska Hargitay gets to reveal the ingredients.

How will your show change the face of TV as we know it?

With razor clams and star anise.

Knife Fight airs Tuesday nights at 10/9c on Esquire.