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Dueling Chefs TV Show

Create a "Dueling Chefs" TV Show which pits multicultural chefs against each other to create healthier versions of traditional meals.

Photo of Holly Davis

Written by

Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it inspire the end user to lead a healthier life?

Anyone from any culture who would like to learn how to make dishes from many cultures, but would like to learn healthier ways to make the traditional dishes. The competition between chefs makes it fun to watch and a companion website provides resources to inspire viewers to cook healthier meals.

The "Dueling Chefs" TV Show would pit different chefs against each other to create healthier versions of different traditional meals from varied cultures.  In addition to using healthier ingredients and cooking methods (baking instead of frying, for example), the chefs would be tasked with making recipes that are economical to make, so anyone could make the dishes at home independent of their income level.

Lots of different cuisines could be featured including Hispanic, Indian, Thai, Moroccan, Nepalese, various African cuisines, and even American Southern cooking.

A companion website and app would allow viewers to vote on their favorite chef, just as viewers vote on their favorite couple in "Dancing with the Stars".

The companion website and app would also allow viewers to comment on what type of cuisines they would like to see more of and even which dishes they would like to see revamped using healthy ingredients and cooking methods.

The website and app would include a log of recipes on the show as well as information on cooking methods and ingredient substitutions.  The website and app would also include a map to show where to buy healthier ingredients and the show could work with local stores, especially ethnic grocery stores, to supply healthier ingredients if they are not already available.  The local stores could advertise on the show.

Commercials which highlight foods that can be substituted to make a recipe healthier could provide revenue for the show as well as educate the public on easy ways to cook traditional recipes with healthier ingredients.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to connect with from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea?

Graphic designers and programmers to make the website and app a reality more quickly than I could do on my own.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

Does your idea currently have an Indiegogo campaign drafted?

  • No

Evaluation results

12 evaluations so far

1. Can you see this idea fitting into your daily life?

Yes, I think so - 25%

I'm not sure - 41.7%

No, I don't think so - 33.3%

2. Do you think this idea will help people lead healthier lives?

Yes, I think so - 41.7%

I'm not sure - 33.3%

No, I don't think so - 25%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Elizabeth Gannon

Hi, I really like your idea, and I'm wondering what recipes would be used. I think people would watch, but perhaps accompanying recipes would encourage people to be more involved, rather than watching. You would be balancing the entertainment value with the cooking demonstrations, and possibly providing recipes as well?

Photo of Alice

Hi Holly! Great idea! I really like Yibing's idea of the healthier option still being affordable - perhaps part of the challenge could be that the chefs ensure that the healthier option is the same cost or cheaper than the traditional version - you could emphasise the 'before' and 'after' cost to alter people's assumption that healthier food always has to be more expensive. I also like your idea of posting the videos on YouTube to broaden the audience - this would encourage followers and comments where viewers could also add their success stories/suggestions/alternatives

Photo of Holly Davis

Hello to all of those who have continued contributing even though I haven't had the time to participate - thanks for your input! I've added everyone who has commented to the team in case that is helpful for moving the idea forward. I apologize that I couldn't create the team earlier. Now that everyone is part of the team, if anyone wants to jump in to lead the idea forward, feel free!

Photo of Karen Sorensen

I really love this idea! I think healthy challenge cooking shows are awesome. The idea for a cooking show too. Its call the "Frig". The frig is similar to the show Chopped on Food Network but instead of a basket of goods, the chefs/cooks get the contains of a person that refrigerator. The challenge is to cook a low low-calorie meal utilizing the contains of the refrigerator. I think you could even get Magtag or any major Freg manufacture since they could showcase how to use there smart refrigerators. This idea was from my creative opening up the refrigerator and saying "what's for dinner that is healthy and yummy!" The refrigerator real time can tell the Viva Latino! app what the calories are in each dish. It is too bad Holly didn't have time to continue with this idea.

Photo of Ahmed Rub

Good idea Holly, It would be nice if application users can get the materials that are going to be used before the challenge start ! give people to actually participate and post the dish they make while the challenge was on !

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi Holly. Nice idea! Congrats on getting shortlisted!
Who will the dueling chefs be? Who will the judges be?
When I saw your posting an initiative that brings fresh produce into food deserts in NYC came to mind as they developed an associated Cook Book. It is the NYC Green Cart Initiative, a public private partnership between the Mayor's Office, The NYC Dept. of Health, and private industry. The carts carry seasonal produce/fruits. The program developed a Cook Book with recipes highlighting the seasonal produce sold on the carts. What I found really interesting is the source of the recipes in this book. There are some recipes from "Top Chefs" but they also come from the Vendors themselves (they are Green Cart entrepreneurs), Green Cart customers, local Health Systems, Dietician, Food Services Industry, and Students from the "Food and Finance High School" in NYC. ( So it feels like the cookbook covers an ecosystem around the initiative itself, which I thought was very interesting and inclusive. (Can recruiting "chefs" from farmer's markets, community gardens etc. be a way to highlight local resources?)

Can folk nominate family members as chefs with the recipes that they want to learn healthier versions of? Can local community restaurants participate, creating a healthy version of a menu favorite? Can Dueling Chefs create a platform for local ethnic restaurants to create healthier versions of dishes, get community buy in via tastings onsite, maybe as part of the show ?, or community members can join the studio audience?, and this can start to nudge a change in menu options within local restaurants based on new demand, as well as be a source of recipes to prepare at home?

Looking forward to seeing how this idea develops!

Photo of Shane Zhao

Holly, Bettina is an amazing OpenIDEO collaborator and one of our Community Mentors for the Refinement Phase of this challenge. We'd love it if you might reach out to Bettina for feedback as you continue to iterate on your idea!

Photo of Chris Lee

Building off of YiBing and Bettina's ideas, what if the dueling chefs were food truck chefs?
The duels happen live in the field with an app, twitter and other social media announcements for location and time. Then, as part of the deal that comes from being featured in the competition, each truck could carry recipe boxes that include the winning meal of the week or that chef's meal's ingredients (for say a family of 4), recipe and shopping list (i.e. easy reference list of what was in the box) for purchase at cost or something nominal.
Convenient, healthy, mobile.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

I love your idea Chris!
Your comment reminded me of the film "Chef". Did you see it?
Fun film about a chef who drives cross country making Cubano Sandwiches which his son promotes on social media. This causes a quite a following. Customers line up waiting for the truck to arrive.
It worked great in the movies! Might be fun to have food truck Dueling Chefs move to different locations during the course of a show promoting healthy meals/recipes, and gathering audience feedback and votes along the way?
Maybe the Dueling Chefs / Food Trucks can be located at farmer's markets or community gardens, bringing attention to those resources? (Great idea to distribute recipes, shopping lists, and discount coupons.)

How about a community focus, bringing attention to local talent, folk who may dream of starting a business? Maybe the sponsor, Telemundo, can create a Dueling Chefs Contest in which the winner/s gets start up funds for a healthy food truck business?

Thinking about Dueling Chefs, looking at communities and where to find chefs, how about community organizations, churches etc. nominating members who can "duel" with chefs from similar organizations from other locales? Social gatherings within community organizations often involve food. The foods and food preferences may not be the healthiest. Can this be an opportunity to effect change within groups of people who can be supportive of talented community members, and of each other, as they learn about healthier foods and cooking styles in a fun way?

Photo of Chris Lee

I like the idea of linking the duel to community events - instead of being a single battle where winner takes all, it can be a series of community events and farmers markets where the same set of chefs pit their skills and wares against each other to see how they can best support each specific event. The events could be announced ahead of time so that people (or the organizers) could suggest what themes they wanted or special needs to accommodate. A little bit of high tech crowd-sourcing-as-a-marketing-tool training and enough time to follow the chefs from venue to venue as they prepare for each one and add the human interest element.

I really like the idea of making it about local talent who need some help starting their food truck. "American Idol" meets "Iron Chef."

I have not seen "Chef." The food truck idea actually came from MoGo BBQ ( That was one of the first food trucks (at least around here) to go viral using twitter to announce their next location for Korean Tacos. Literally lines showing up to get their food all over the SF Bay Area.

Photo of Holly Davis

Thanks Bettina, Chris and Shane for your comments and great thoughts! I love all the new ideas - local talent (which could be everyday people as well as community "celebrities"); the farmer's market tie-in, and especially local food carts and the tech twist - posting on twitter where they'd be next.

Here's my dilemma: some things have shifted on my end over the past few days and sadly I'm going to have to bow out of participating in OpenIDEO for the foreseeable future (no time to contribute, unfortunately, due to an unexpected new obligation), but I'd hate for this idea to die on the vine with so many good ideas swirling around. Would someone else like to step forward to move this idea forward in the way that seems best to those who are interested in it? Are there any other options?

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi all. Yes by local talent I meant anyone! Telemundo can tweet the upcoming food truck locations during TV shows and on their online sites. Maybe a hashtag can encourage uploading to Instagram as well.

It is too bad that your schedule has changed Holly. (It happens!) I am not able to push the idea forward. Chris, how about you? One suggestion is to put the people who have commented here onto your team. All team members get notified whenever anyone comments on an idea so that can help keep folks in the loop and encourage conversation amongst everyone. Reach out to OpenIDEO via Shane as well I would think.

Chris that is cool about the Korean Taco Truck and the momentum it got using Twitter. I wonder if that inspired the film, or the other way around, or if that is just Food Truck culture in some places. Korean Tacos - Just curious, what is the customer base?

All the best to you Holly!

Photo of Chris Lee

I'm sorry to hear that you can't participate any longer Holly. I hope the new obligation keeps you busy in a good way. :)

The Korean BBQ truck has been going around since at least 2010. The Chef movie looks like it was released in 2014 so I can guess which reflected which. Food trucks are a real phenomenon around here. Hipster foodies of all nationalities are the target demographic. The MoGo website says they have 22,000 Facebook followers and 17,000 twitter followers. Judging by the lines around food trucks at special events I can easily believe those numbers. Our city actually hosts a Friday Night Food Truck gathering each week where they open a parking lot and have a dozen or so food trucks come by.
There is also the Eat Real Fest ( in Oakland. It is an annual mecca of food trucks - AMAZING food of every sort coming out of food trucks and from small vendors at this place. Makes me wish my stomach were bigger.
Speaking of which...
That would make a pretty cool version of the Dueling Chefs show... gather a dozen chefs who want to start their own business and follow them through a series of smaller events on the way to Eat Real. Top three get slots at the event and the top winner there gets recognition, their own truck to keep, etc...
Film the show through different regions of the country, different food cultures and different celebrations. Do it in real time with social media links for real people to participate. Link to web site and apps to record the food choices, cultures and include a dose of keeping things healthy ... perhaps pulling an idea from the zocalo ( idea and partner with supermarkets to have prepared boxes with the featured meals from each truck packaged and ready to cook at home with ingredients for four and recipes.

My schedule is fairly tight. If you can't find someone who has more spare time, I'll take up the reins and try to keep it on course (or at least updated).

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Check this food truck out guys -
Serving a need for the target demographic. How about a duel to make this really exciting?

Photo of Burt A

I think this is a good idea. I think a twist might add additional interest. This could be one segment of the challenge or the main thrust: challenge each chef to create a healthy dish, of the culture or expertise of the opposing chef. So a fine French chef might be challenged to create a Creole dish, while the Creole chef who is challenging would get to create a French one.

Photo of Holly Davis

Thanks, Burt, for your twist. It certainly would be fun to see chefs who specialize in one cuisine be challenged to work outside their comfort zone to create healthy versions of dishes from a different cuisine.

As you might have seen from my replies to some other recent comments, unfortunately I'm going to need to scale back my participation in OpenIDEO for the time being, so if you'd be interested in helping to lead the "Dueling Chefs" idea forward, please speak up! Personally, I'd love to see the idea evolve even though I can't be an active part of that process.

Photo of Yibing Cheng

Hi Holly, here are some of our ideas for the refinement. The criteria for this competition would be "healthy""multicultural""creative""affordable". The goal is to bring the healthy concept to general public. We would like to hold the show in the public area, attract people to come watch and taste, also vote for their favorite dishes. The whole process will be recorded and put simutaneouly on TV and websites just like a LIVE show. Chefs would not neccessrily be real chefs, but from different careers with good healthy cooking ideas and skills. They might be from different cultures with different healthy concepts. In the competition, we would like to set a limited amount of money for each dish/each chef in order to make sure average family could afford a healthy meal like this. After the LIVE show, chefs will share their recipes and cooking steps in detail on the website, also a video to teach people how to cook. People who are interested on the event could come to our related website, "like" the dishes, comment on it and share it on other social medias like Facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc. Also, for cooking fans, they could try the recipe and cook it, post their cooking products on the website, discuss about the problems they have or even the better refinement for the recipes. Some varieties of awards would be given to the recipe, for example, "Heathiest recipe""The most creative recipe""The most economical recipe" or "Recipe of the month". These are some of the refinement ideas now, feel free to give us more comments and ideas;)

Photo of Brigitte

+1 for emphasizing affordability! The fewer barriers there are for the average busy family to make these meals at home, the better. I also love the ideas of showing people with different careers to help drive home the concept that you don't have to be a world class chef to make healthy meals. It has to also pass the kid test - love if the food is healthy and affordable, but if kids won't eat it, parents won't make it.

Excited to see where this idea goes!

Photo of Holly Davis

Thanks Yibing and Brigitte for sharing your thoughts - they certainly enhance the discussion! Sadly, due to some unexpected new obligations, I'm going to need to bow out of contributing in any significant way to this challenge, so if either of you would like to jump in and take a more active role in this idea, I'd certainly be open to that!

Photo of Pui Kwan Chan

I love your idea with the perceptions about healthier version of traditional meals and exchanging multi-food cultures. But there exists some problems. First, TV show can only attract the minority who have much time to watch TV and who love watching TV very much, such as housewifes; but this would probably not attract people who work very busily which occupy quite large percentage of society. After work, they seems like not willing to touch digital appliances like smart phones and computers anymore, so it may not be possible for them to watch TV show after work. What they want is to relax; and when they want to get any information, they will just type some specific words, and search it on the internet. So, we can observe that TV is not popular in this group. How about uploading this show online?

Also, people who work busily actually do not have much time and energy to watch programme. So, it would be much better to make the show shorter, e.g. 15-20 minutes.

Perhaps if we change these two principles, the show may attract more people, and may spread the message of healthy and multicultural meals successfully in the future.

Last but not least, these just our suggestions, and refinement still does not finish, please feel free to comment. Thank you :)

Photo of Holly Davis

Thanks for your comments! You raise an important point about trying to capture a wider audience which would include people who do not have much time to watch TV. I really like the idea of having online content available, perhaps in a YouTube channel, and having the show be shorter. I'll see what I can do to incorporate your ideas into the next version - thanks!

Photo of Shane Zhao

Holly, we're excited to see how you'll tie in feedback from the OpenIDEO community as you start to refine Dueling Chefs! Also, here's a useful tip: When you update the content of your post, it'd be helpful to indicate this in your idea title by adding an extension. For example, you can add the extension " - Update 7/29: Experience Map" to you idea title. This will be a good way to keep people informed about how your idea is progressing!

Photo of OpenIDEO

Congratulations on making it to the Refinement Phase of the Healthy Lives Challenge Holly!
We love how you’ve created a healthy twist to the popular genre of cooking competition shows.
We also appreciated how this idea has a strong focus on cultural traditions.

In the Refinement Phase, it’ll be great to develop how viewers might engage with the healthy content on the Dueling Chefs Show. In addition to allowing viewers vote on the type of cuisines they would like to see, how might people also share their own versions of healthy traditional recipes? Perhaps the companion website to Dueling Chefs may have channels where viewers can submit videos of their own healthy creations. Also, we’d love to see if there might be any synergy between this idea and NBCUniversal’s Top Chef program: As you continue to refine this idea, it’d be helpful to develop some user journeys to describe how this idea can play out in real life. Perhaps you might consider creating an Experience Map to describe some of the proposed activities you've outlined. A template of the Experience Map can be downloaded here:

Also, we think your idea could work well in tandem with these two ideas: Crowdsource TV - and Food Culture = Health Culture -
Given collaboration is the name of the game here at OpenIDEO, we hope you might reach out and collaborate to grow each other's concepts!

Photo of Joanna Spoth

Love this idea, Holly! Thanks for posting.

Photo of Holly Davis

Thanks, Joanna! (And thanks for all your efforts in coordinating this challenge!)

Photo of Shane Zhao

Yes, great idea contribution Holly! It'd be interesting to see if the might be an opportunity to integrate this idea with NBCU's Top Chef program.