Unless you’re one of those Trader Joe’s/Wholesome Choice/farmer’s market people, chances are when you go to the grocery store, you stick to the tried-and-trues. You know, Chef Boyardee, Yoplait, Nestle. Every once in a while, the marketing geniuses in the food industry manage to introduce a totally new product into the mainstream (Greek yogurt and kale anyone?), but for the most part, we consumers are stubborn little assholes who need to be told ad nauseam that something is worth our time before we even consider testing it out ourselves.
So what happens when someone — anyone, be it your mom or your sister or your neighbor — has a brilliant food product idea that most people would probably love if they’d only give it a shot? Why, put it on TV of course.
That’s the basic gist behind a new show from Lifetime airing this Monday called “Supermarket Superstar.” Each hour long episode will follow three home chefs as they pitch their unique and specialized product ideas to several food world celebrities for the chance to have their creations launched nationally through The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company grocery chain.
“Almost anyone can cook a great meal,” reads the press release (take that, Masterchef!), “but this is the first food comeptition show that provides a platform for individuals that can change the way millions of Americans shop and eat.”
Last week, we headed out to the preview event at the Smog Shoppe in Los Angeles, Calif. to see what all the fuss was about. Some of the chefs’ products, admittedly, were bland. Others we wished were taken over by the “grown-ups” and made better. A select few, however, we wanted to buy right then and there. Here’s a round-up of the five dishes that impressed us most:
Fried Chicken Dumplings AKA “Pao! Bao Fried Chicken & Gravy Bao” — Ben VanCleave, Los Angeles, Calif.
East meets South with these fusion dumplings stuffed with a variety of fillings, including the featured Fried Chicken & Gravy; definitely the most innovative and eye-catching product we saw all day — Appears Episode 101: “Snacks,” September 2
Frozen Cheesecake Cookie Sandwich AKA the “Smoogy” — Tekisha Collins, Indianapolis, Ind.
Named by Collins’s son, the “Smoogy” features frozen cheesecake filling sandwiched between a sugar cookie and graham cracker blend — Appears Episode 107: “Baked Goods,” August 12
Barbecue Shrimp Cocktail Sauce AKA “Famous Flaming Ember BBQ Sauce” — Leon “Torchy Burns” Williams, Valley Village, Calif.
For anyone who’s tired of boring bottled shrimp cocktails, Williams’ unique twist on barbecue sauce can be served either hot or cold, splattered on ribs or dripping of plump, dangling shrimp — Appears Episode 106: “Barbecue,” September 9
Crab Pie — Monica VanCleve, Austin, Texas
Exactly what it sounds like, savory crab baked into a crispy crust like a “crab quiche” — Appears Episode 108, “Dinner Entrees,” September 16
Chinese Tamales AKA “Chimales” — Dominic Lau, San Gabriel, Calif.
As owner of LA’s own “Don Chow Taco Truck,” Dominic Lau combines fresh masa stuffed with either Kung Pao Chicken or Chinese BBQ Pork to create his signature fusion dish — Appears Episode 105: “Global Cuisine,” July 29
Supermarket Superstar premieres Monday July 22 at 10 ET/PT on Lifetime