Grocery Shoppers Are Ambushed in Food Network's 'Supermarket Stakeout'

Rick and Christina Gables
Michael Moriatis/Food Network

Beginning Tuesday, August 13, the new Food Network series Supermarket Stakeout shows where blind luck, negotiation and cooking skills are the key ingredients to success.

Hosted by Iron Chef and Chopped judge Alex Guarnaschelli, each episode kicks off with a culinary ambush outside a local supermarket, where four competing chefs approach unsuspecting shoppers leaving the store to negotiate the bags right out of their hands — without knowing what’s inside.

Over three rounds of themed culinary challenges and with a budget of only $500, the chefs are limited to using the items they can wrangle out of the customer’s carts using their charm, persuasiveness and a little cash.

Courtesy of Food Network

A rotating panel of judges determines which challengers had the most successful dishes using the acquired ingredients, with the last chef standing in each episode walking away with enough cash for a year’s worth of groceries.

Set in pop-up kitchens outside local supermarkets, each episode begins with host Alex Guarnaschelli giving the four chef contestants $500 apiece — their whole budget to buy ingredients for the three-round cooking competition.

In round one, the chefs can purchase ingredients only by blindly ambushing customers outside the store and negotiating for their grocery bags without knowing the contents.

Courtesy of Food Network

In round two, competitors can only purchase groceries from a single shopper, but may look through the bags before negotiating the price. In the final round, competitors may purchase five ingredients total, but can approach as many shoppers as it takes to get what they need.

After each themed cooking round, the least successful chef is eliminated, leaving two competitors going head-to-head in the final round, vying for a cash prize.

Supermarket Stakeout, Series Premiere, Tuesday, August 13, 10/9c, Food Network