Knife Fight (TV series)

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Knife Fight
Knife Fight TV Titlecard.png
Titlecard for "Knife Fight" show.
Presented byIlan Hall
Giovanni Reda (Master of Ceremonies)
JudgesSee episodes
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes72
Executive producer(s)
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30 to 60 minutes (including commercials)
Production company(s)Flower Films
Authentic Entertainment
Original networkEsquire Network
Picture format1080i HD
Original releaseSeptember 24, 2013 (2013-09-24) – December 29, 2015 (2015-12-29)
External links

Knife Fight was an American reality/cooking competition television series on Esquire Network. It was set to premiere April 23, 2013, but was pushed to September 24, 2013, to coincide with rebranding of the now-defunct Esquire. Knife Fight was hosted by season 2 Top Chef winner Ilan Hall and executive produced by Drew Barrymore.[1] The show ran for four seasons, ending when NBCUniversal ceased distribution of Esquire Network as a whole.


Originally set in Hall's restaurant The Gorbals in downtown Los Angeles, this secret underground happening took place during the overnight hours when restaurants close their doors to the public. This kind of competition has not been (nor meant to be) televised. In the show's premise, two talented cooks were selected to prove who's the best. They're cheered and heckled by a rowdy crowd of celebrities, restaurant critics, die-hard foodies, and sometimes each other. The chefs are given 1-3 mandatory ingredients, such as pig heads, jackfruit, and live catfish. They're given one hour to prepare at least two dishes, but may prepare more. The chefs may plate and present dishes at any time during the hour. The winner of each episode earns "bragging rights" as well as a cleaver with "I Won" written on it. The loser receives a smaller cleaver with "I Almost Won" written on it. In rare cases where picking the winner is too close to call, the 2 chefs go through a "Sudden Death" round where they make a dish in 5 minutes.

Former Top Chef contestant CJ Jacobson revealed on his podcast that the show was originally going to be named Food Fight Club after the David Fincher film Fight Club.[2]

Series overview[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
Season premiere Season finale
1 18 September 24, 2013 (2013-09-24) November 19, 2013 (2013-11-19)
2 23 September 24, 2014 (2014-09-24) April 15, 2014 (2014-04-15)
3 13 May 26, 2015 (2015-05-26) July 14, 2014 (2014-07-14)
4 15 November 10, 2015 (2015-11-10) December 29, 2015 (2015-12-29)


Season 1[edit]

Ep # Total Title Airdate
11"Collins vs. Feau"September 24, 2013 (2013-09-24)

Featured are Brendan Collins, known for his underground British gastropub Waterloo and City, and David Feau, an executive chef of The Royce at The Langham, who compete in a unique culinary competition with celebrity judges and culinary experts.[3]

Special Guests: Eric Wareheim, Jeanne Kelly, and Bijou Phillips.
22"Morningstar vs. Jacobsen"September 24, 2013 (2013-09-24)

A cooking competition between Mercantile's chef and renowned cooking veteran, CJ Jacobsen, and his friend from Ray's and Stark Bar's, Kris Morningstar; highlights include white truffles, kohlrabi, ridgeback shrimp and a powerful allergy.

Special Guests: Lou Amdur and Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz
33"Kobayashi vs. Arrington"October 1, 2013 (2013-10-01)
Elijah Wood judges as Nyesha Arrington ("Top Chef") takes on James Beard nominee Chris Kobayashi in a battle of Hawaiian Kampachi and braised lamb neck.
44"Neroni vs. Toft"October 1, 2013 (2013-10-01)
Two of the hottest new chefs face off as Eater Chef of the Year Jason Neroni takes on Jordan Toft in a battle of big-eye tuna. Will Jason’s last-minute handmade pasta deliver him the big win? Guests include Patrick Fugit.
55"Fullilove vs. Boudet"October 8, 2013 (2013-10-08)

Chef Jason Fullilove’s artistic cuisine takes on Brandon Boudet’s rustic cooking style.

Guest Judges: Erika Christensen, Amy Scattergood, Eric Koston.
66"Rocco vs. Herndon"October 8, 2013 (2013-10-08)

Chef Trevor Rocco of Red Hill looks to seek revenge on Umami Burger’s John Herndon as they tackle Japanese yams and Maitake mushrooms.

Guest Judges: Lou Amdur and Bill Esparza
77"Paderno vs. Santana"October 15, 2013 (2013-10-15)

Los Angeles chefs Amar Santana and Mirko Paderno make a bet that leaves one of them up to his ears in potatoes and cooking with whole pig’s head.

Guest Judges: Elijah Wood, Krista Simmons and Beth Riesgraf.
88"Page vs. Trees"October 15, 2013 (2013-10-15)

Chefs James Trees and Christian Page break down an entire goat.

Guest Judges: Chefs Eric Greenspan and Octavio Becerra.
99"Pereira vs. Lee"October 22, 2013 (2013-10-22)

Chef Phillip Frankland Lee[4] takes on chef Natalia Pereira in a cooking contest in which each participant must prepare at least two dishes in a single hour while incorporating at least two or three secret ingredients, including radishes and foie gras.

Guest Judges: Evan Kleiman and Stephane Bombet
1010"Strubel vs. Mairinger"October 22, 2013 (2013-10-22)

Chef Jeremy Strubel takes on chef Bernhard Mairinger in a contest in which each participant must prepare at least two dishes in a single hour while incorporating at least two or three secret ingredients, including chestnuts, jackfruit and haggis.

Guest Judges: Actor Jason Lee, Lisa Arch, Quinn Hatfield
1111"Oh vs. Lieberher"October 29, 2013 (2013-10-29)
Chris Oh of Seoul Sausage seeks revenge on Wes Lieberher of Beer Belly and Sirtaj Beverly Hills in a contest in which each must make two dishes in one hour using brussel sprouts and cow tongue, with guest judges Michael Midgley and chef David Feau (from the show's debut episode).
1212"Shuman vs. Abell"October 29, 2013 (2013-10-29)
Chef Neil Shuman of the Xen Lounge takes on chef Tim Abell, chef and owner of the farm-to-table Flatiron Truck, in a cooking contest in which each must prepare at least two dishes in a single hour, incorporating manila clams and Berkshire pork loin.
1313"Baumgarten vs. Wexler"November 5, 2013 (2013-11-05)

Will the competitive spirit of chef Amanda Baumgarten earn her the win against L.A. Magazine’s ‘2012 Chef of the Year,’ Micah Wexler? The mandatory ingredients are shark and rambutan.

Guest Judges: Lisa Arch and Quinn Hatfield
1414"Zarate vs. Becerra"November 5, 2013 (2013-11-05)

Chef Octavio Becerra goes to bat against chef Ricardo Zarate. Tonight they work with turkey, monkfish liver and spiny lobster.

'Guest Judges: Elia Aboumrad and Eddie Lin
1515"Kalman vs. Richter"November 12, 2013 (2013-11-12)

Chefs Stefan Richter and Bruce Kalman fight with oysters, quail and nasturtiums.

Guest Judges: David Feau, Lesley Balla and Rhys Coiro
1616"Travi vs. Kuramoto"November 12, 2013 (2013-11-12)

Comedian Bobby Lee keeps the crowd roaring as Jason Travi battles John-Carlos Kuramoto with trout roe, pork loin and clover.

Guest Judges: Evan Kleiman and Stephane Bombet
1717"Trani vs. Abgaryan"November 19, 2013 (2013-11-19)
Chef Vartan Abgaryan battles Dustin Trani in a nerve wrecking competition with lamb belly and live crawfish. Guests include: Michael Voltaggio and Mark Peel
1818"Lunetta vs. Fraser"November 19, 2013 (2013-11-19)
Actress and “Knife Fight” executive producer Drew Barrymore judges this epic battle between legendary chefs Raphael Lunetta and Neal Fraser. The mandatory ingredients are dry-aged ribeye, abalone, and Pacific Ocean trout.

Season 2[edit]

Ep # Total Title Airdate
119"Whole Pig"April 15, 2014 (2014-04-15)

In a special hour-long season 2 premiere, the culinary hijinks continue as chef Tim Love of Texas and chef Mike Isabella of Washington, D.C., are asked to turn their considerable skills to breaking down an entire pig, but they also make a side bet involving tequila and a shoe.

Guest Judges: Kris Morningstar and Naomi Pomeroy
220"Oxtails"April 22, 2014 (2014-04-22)

Nerves come to the fore when Italian master chef Freddy Vargas of Scarpetta struggles to maintain his composure against modernist chef, and James Beard Foundation Award nominee, Justin Wills of Restaurant Beck in an oxtails showdown.

Guest Judges: Kris Morningstar and Naomi Pomeroy
321"Live King Crab"April 22, 2014 (2014-04-22)

Chef Brooke Williamson of Tripel in Los Angeles feels twice the pressure of having to contend with the very talented chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston as well as trying to impress guest judge, Josiah Citrin, who was her old boss.

Guest Judges: Krista Simmons and Josiah Citrin
422"Cardoons"April 29, 2014 (2014-04-29)

Consistently inventive chef Johnny Zone of La Poubelle takes on former minor league pitcher turned innovative chef Michael Teich of The Wallace in a battle of Los Angeles centered around the unusual, and tough, ingredient of cardoon.

Guest Judges: Naomi Pomeroy and Kris Morningstar
523"Sea Snails"April 29, 2014 (2014-04-29)

Two of the culinary world's most reputable and influential chefs, Mark Peele of Campanile and Sal Mario of Il Grano, are forced to forgo their friendship and battle each other in what becomes a master class in cooking involving sea snails.

Guest Judges: Krista Simmons and Josiah Citrin
624"Sweetbreads"May 6, 2014 (2014-05-06)

Two representatives of the new guard in the food world, City Tavern's Jessica Christensen and Acabar's Kevin Luzande, find themselves in a heated competition as they try to establish their reputation with a menu including sweetbreads.

Guest Judges: Naomi Pomeroy and Kris Morningstar
725"Pig Ears"May 6, 2014 (2014-05-06)

The Pacific Northwest culinary crown is up for grabs as two Portland, Ore., chefs, Benjamin Bettinger of Imperial and Patrick McKee of Paley's Place, face off under the gaze of their mentor using pig's ears and rabbit as their ingredients.

Guest Judges: Krista Simmons and Josiah Citrin
826"Blood"May 13, 2014 (2014-05-13)

Tin Vuong of Abigaile pits his traditional style of Vietnamese cooking against Perry Cheung of Phorage's innovative twists on the cuisine in an unconventional battle that is not for the squeamish as the main ingredient is blood.

Guest Judges: Krista Simmons and Brendan Collins
927"Live Scallops"May 13, 2014 (2014-05-13)

Eric Park of Black Hogg in Los Angeles has the opportunity of a lifetime when he goes up against one of his culinary heroes, Kevin Gillespie of Gunshow in Atlanta, as they prepare scallops and pig's feet for a very special guest.

Guest Judges: Nyesha Arrington, Kris Morningstar and Brett Gurewitz
1028"Bison"May 20, 2014 (2014-05-20)

New Orleans chefs, Sue Zemanick (Gatreau) and Tory McPhail (Commander's Palace) create bison dishes for the competition.

Guest Judges: Krista Simmons and Brendan Collins
1129"Sea Cucumber"May 20, 2014 (2014-05-20)

In an Oregon vs. Southern California match, John Gorham and Kasey Mills of Portland, Oregon’s Toro Bravo step into the kitchen for a sea cucumber battle against Hungry Cat chefs, David Lentz (Santa Monica and Hollywood) and Kris Longley (Santa Barbara, California).

Guest Judges: Krista Simmons and Brendan Collins
1230"Beef Forequarter"July 29, 2014 (2014-07-29)

Adam Sappington of Portland's Country Cat and Kansas City's Michael Smith (Michael Smith Restaurant and Extra Virgin) go head-to-head to tackle a forequarter of beef. After volunteering to butcher the meat, Sappington chooses the Tomahawk chop steak cut as one of his dishes.

Guest Judges: Naomi Pomeroy and Brendan Collins
1331"Octopus"July 29, 2014 (2014-07-29)

Pitting Peruvian against Mexican flavors, Season 1 winner and 2014 James Beard Award semifinalist, Ricardo Zarate (Picca, Mo-Chica, Paiche, Blue Tavern) defends his title against The French Laundry alum and Santa Monica chef, Ray Garcia (FIG at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel).

Guest Judges: Kris Morningstar and Naomi Pomeroy
1432"Eels"August 5, 2014 (2014-08-05)

2010 James Beard Award winner, Seattle’s Jason Wilson (Crush) is pitted against Portland friend and two-time award nominee, Greg Denton (Ox) over eels, juniper berries and gizzards.

Guest Judges: Kris Morningstar and Krista Simmons
1533"Whole Goose"August 5, 2014 (2014-08-05)

Tandy Wilson, the two-time James Beard Award finalist (City House) is up against fellow Tennessee chef, Kelly English (Restaurant Iris and The Second Line). Loser of the goose battle loses not only the victory knife, but also their facial hair in a side bet.

Guest Judges: Kris Morningstar and Krista Simmons
1634"Skate"August 12, 2014 (2014-08-12)

In another Southern California vs Northern California battle of chefs, Mary Sue Milliken (Border Grill, Los Angeles) and multiple winner of James Beard Foundation Awards, Traci Des Jardins (Jardinere, San Francisco) execute skate (fish) dishes.

Guest Judges: Kat Odell, Brendan Collins, and Naomi Pomeroy
1735"Live Halibut"August 12, 2014 (2014-08-12)

Jason Paluska of Santa Barbara (The Lark) and Oakland’s Kyle Itani (Hopscotch) spar over live halibut.

Guest Judges: Josiah Citrin and Naomi Pomeroy
1836"Flying Fish"August 26, 2014 (2014-08-26)

San Francisco chefs, Charles Phan (The Slanted Door) vies for the prize against Anthony Strong (Locanda Osteria & Bar) using the ingredients: prickly pear, burrata, monkfish and flying fish.

Guest Judges: Naomi Pomeroy and Brendan Collins
1937"Whole Spring Lamb"September 2, 2014 (2014-09-02)

James Beard Award nominee of St. Louis, Kevin Nashan (Sidney Street Café and Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.)[5] locks horns over whole spring lamb with New York City’s Harold Moore (Commerce).

Guest Judges: Stacey Woods[6] and Brendan Collins
2038"Calf’s Liver"September 9, 2014 (2014-09-09)

Los Angeles chefs, Ricardo Diaz (Colonia Taco Lounge) and Gilberto Cetina Jr. (Chichen Itza Restaurant) battle for Mexican cooking supremacy using calf liver.

Guest Judges: Brendan Collins and Krista Simmons
2139"Silkie Chicken"September 16, 2014 (2014-09-16)

The battle of the protégés commences when Ricardo Zarate mentee, Brian Huskey, competes with Mei Lin, Michael Voltaggio's apprentice, to create a menu using an unusual ingredient, silkie chicken, that at least one judge finds disturbing.

Guest Judges: Ricardo Zarate and Michael Voltaggio
2240"Live Spot Prawns"September 23, 2014 (2014-09-23)

A kitchen mishap nearly derails Kelly Liken as she takes on Steve Redzikowski in a showdown between two of Colorado’s best chefs.

Guest Judges: Naomi Pomeroy and Brendan Collins[7]
2341"Thousand Year Old Eggs"September 30, 2014 (2014-09-30)

Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery in New Orleans takes on Michael Bryant of Los Angeles' The Churchill in a competition in which they have to create a winning menu using the unusual ingredient of thousand year old eggs.

Guest Judges: Nyesha Arrington and Kris Morningstar[8]
2441"Crickets"September 30, 2014 (2014-09-30)

Michelin-starred[9] New York City chefs and business partners Edi Frauneder and Wolfgang Ban fight as rivals in a cooking showdown using crickets as a feature ingredient.

Guest Judges: Brett Gurewitz, Kris Morningstar and Naomi Pomeroy[10]

Season 3[edit]

Round of 16Quarter-finalsSemi-finalsFinal
Pete LipsonL
Dale TaldeW
Dale TaldeL
Einat AdmonyW
Jonah MillerL
Einat AdmonyW
Einat AdmonyL
Miguel AguilarW
Todd MitgangL
Miguel AguilarW
Miguel AguilarW
Leah CohenL
David FeltonL
Leah CohenW
Miguel AguilarL
Edi FraunederW
Wolfgang BanL
Edi FraunederW
Edi FraunederW
Franklin BeckerL
Sean TeloL
Franklin BeckerW
Edi FraunederW
Joey CampaneroL
Daniel HolzmanL
Joey CampaneroW
Joey CampaneroW
Tony MawsL
Vincent ChiricoL
Tony MawsW

Season 4[edit]

Round of 16Quarter-finalsSemi-finalsFinal
Corn, lemon verbena, turkey parts
John DaleyL
Garlic scapes, grapefruit shandy, live sea eel
Quino BacaW
Quino BacaW
Potatoes, freeze-dried cranberries, pickled herring
Chris CheungL
Bao BaoL
Honey, challah, raccoon
Chris CheungW
Quino BacaW
Sichuan peppercorns, plantains, scungilli
Luis BolloL
Gary AnzaL
Coffee, okra, lamb brains
Kim AlterW
Kim AlterL
Dragon-tongue beans, sour cherries, live soft-shell crabs
Luis BolloW
Tre WilcoxL
Nattō, branzino, soil, whole ostrich
Luis BolloW
Quino BacaW
Celtuce, tapioca, scorpion fish
Angelo SosaL
Carrie ShoresL
Horseradish root, morcilla, live black bass
J. J. JohnsonW
J. J. JohnsonL
Stinging nettles, coxcombs, live Korean mudfish
Sean BraselW
Sean BraselW
Pine needles, poulet bleu, live uni
John TesarL
Sean BraselL
Aged Porterhouse steak, red-veined sorrel, jellyfish
Angelo SosaW
Ed McFarlandL
Hemp seeds, artichokes, duck testicles
Joshua HendersonW
Joshua HendersonL
Ginseng, Jamón ibérico, mahi-mahi
Angelo SosaW
Jason MarcusL
Angelo SosaW


  1. ^ Ilan Hall Takes The Knife To Food TV, His Boys At Top Chef Included - Food Republic (released April 11, 2013)
  2. ^ Ilan Hall's New Show, 'Knife Fight,' to Debut on Esquire - Eater (released January 31, 2013)
  3. ^ "Knife Fight Episodes". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 1 September 2014. External link in |website= (help)
  4. ^ "ScratchBar". Discover Los Angeles. LA Tourism & Convention Board. Archived from the original on 1 September 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  5. ^ Stiles, Nancy. "Kevin Nashan Talks Battling New York Chef Harold Moore on Knife Fight". Riverfront Times, LLC. Riverfront Times. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  6. ^ Woods, Stacey. "My Day with a Freshly Slaughtered Lamb". Hearst Communications, Inc. Retrieved 15 September 2014. External link in |website= (help)
  7. ^ "Knife Fight - TV Show, Episode Guide & Schedule". TWC Central. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Knife Fight - TV Show, Episode Guide & Schedule". TWC Central. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  9. ^ Raposo, Jacqueline. "We Chat With Chef Edi Frauneder of Seasonal, Edi & the Wolf, and The Third Man". Serious Eats. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Knife Fight - TV Show, Episode Guide & Schedule". TWC Central. Retrieved 25 April 2015.

External links[edit]