At first glance, AMI-tv’s Menu Match-Up seems like any other culinary competition program. Home cooks have to prepare tasty dishes using secret ingredients in a specified amount of time. Their foods are judged and a winner is declared. What sets Menu Match-Up apart from those other programs? The home cooks are blind or low vision.
Debuting Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET on AMI-tv, Menu Match-Up is the latest program—like Four Senses and Eyes for the Job before it—to spotlight blind or low vision people doing everyday things. Now Menu Match-Up pushes things a little further by testing these folks’ skills in the kitchen. They’re not doing it alone. Each blind cook is teamed with a sighted professional chef to pull it all together.
Hosted by Matt Basile of Fidel Gastro’s restaurant and TV’s Rebel Without a Kitchen, Menu Match-Up is executive-produced by Jonathan and Drew Scott of Property Brothers fame via their production company Scott Brothers Entertainment. That’s quite the pedigree for a project on AMI-tv and shows just how much Accessible Media Inc. is committed to creating unique, inclusive television for their viewers. You may have to be blind or low vision to compete on Menu Match-Up but you don’t need to be to enjoy the series. Home cook Dan and Jonny O’Callaghan of Bru Restaurant take on home cook Sylvia and Joe Friday of Calii Love. Who will impress judges Missy Hui of Fabbrica Restaurant, blogger Hubert Leung and Deji Oduwole of The Odu Group and win the trip for two to Niagara-on-the-Lake?
In the beginning moments of Episode 1, it really was up for grabs. With an hour to create an appetizer and a main course, the duos needed to build a partnership quickly. And, with mystery items like chorizo sausage, honeycomb, mustard greens, heirloom tomatoes and jalapeño-flavoured cheese snacks, it wouldn’t be easy. Sylvia and Joe went with a salad and pasta while Dan and Jonny opted for a tomato salad and version of Beef Stroganoff using the sausage. What I immediately like about the first episode of Menu Match-Up is that Sylvia and Dan were not only in on the planning but the execution as well. It would have been easy to have them chop while Joe and Jonny did all the work. That isn’t how it rolled out at all, proving that being blind or low vision doesn’t mean you can’t be involved in creating high-end food. Who wins the first instalment of Menu Match-Up? Tune in to find out!
Menu Match-Up airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on AMI-tv. Check your local listings for where AMI-tv is available in your area.