Food Network celebrity chef Guy Fieri is exactly who he seems to be according to River Forest resident, cookbook author and contestant Emily Paster in a recently aired episode Food games for boys. The cooking game show “Shopping Meets” has aired for 30 seasons and pits home cooks against each other in speed rounds designed to test their creativity and cooking skills for a panel of judges.
“There’s nothing fake about Guy Fieri,” said Paster of the Food Network star, who also hosts Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. “I really appreciate how he supports small businesses through his work and I admire him for being self-made.”
Known for writing books that embrace global Jewish cuisine, Pasteur found her way Food games for boys through a casting company that had considered her for another Food Network cooking show years ago.
“I think they took me out of a file they had,” Pasteri said. “The application was extensive and I went through several interviews before they made the decision to bring me out to record the episode. I didn’t believe it was really going to happen until I had a plane ticket.”
Food games for boys it’s a relentlessly positive show, and contestants, even those who might struggle, are never humiliated or berated for mistakes. No one is considered a villain, and Pasteur enjoyed going to a show that was rooted in fun and cooking had no downside risk, but she was still determined not to do anything stupid. To further complicate matters, each challenge remains a complete surprise to the contestants until moments before they’re unleashed on the Flavortown Market for a frenzied ingredient-sourcing shopping spree. They only have 30 minutes to buy ingredients, cook and plate their dish in each round.
Self-described as nervous by nature and detail-oriented, Pasteur went “over the top” when preparing for the show. After being chosen as a contestant for the episode titled “Cooking the Books,” Paster said she became laser-focused on how she was going to take on the competition without letting herself down. She applied her intellect and passion for recipe development to identify proteins that would cook quickly enough to meet the huge time constraints faced by competitors and committed to paying special attention to presentation as it accounted for 20% of its total result.
Pasteur’s episode was filmed in January and aired in August. The show took 12 hours to film and pitted him against three Guy Fieri “super-fans” who were asked to put themselves in dishes inspired by recipes in his many books. The first challenge had Pasteri and her contestants tackle an edited bubble pepper burger recipe, and the second allowed them to taste one of a small number of Fier’s recipes.
Paster said she was prepared for the challenging tasks, but felt a little intimidated by the professional cooking equipment available to her during the competition. She qualifies herself as a competent home cook and had never used appliances like the deep fryer, overhead broiler and scorching hot grill at her disposal while filming. However, Paster came up with a rated burger in the first round and some seriously crispy fish tacos in the second. Despite being a formidable opponent, Paster missed out on first place honors by just one point.
“It was so much fun to be on the show and I would absolutely do it again,” Paster said. “I’m still amazed by the sheer number of people it takes to make an hour of television.”
Paster is a former Wednesday Journal freelancer and author of four cookbooks: Instantly Mediterranean (Tiller Press 2021); “Epic Air Fryer” (Harvard Common Press 2019); “The Joys of Jewish Conservation” (Harvard Common Press 2017) and “Food Exchange: Special Recipes for Sharing, Sharing, and Giving” (Story 2016). Her episode of Guy’s Grocery Games (Season 30; episode 10) is available to stream on Prime Video.