Guy Fieri’s Tournament of Champions is returning to Food Network

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 12: Chef Guy Fieri attends the Build Series at AOL HQ on October 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 12: Chef Guy Fieri attends the Build Series at AOL HQ on October 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images) /

Guy Fieri is bringing his Tournament of Champions competition back to Food Network. A second season will begin airing on Sunday, March 7. It will be the ultimate competition where chefs from the East and West will all battle it out for culinary supremacy.

It will of course once again be hosted by Fieri himself. This season his son Hunter will also be along to give backstage reactions and interviews.

Similar to the first Tournament of Champions, the new competition will feature 16 chefs battling each other in a bracket-style competition. On one side of the bracket will be chefs representing the East Coast and the other side will be chefs cooking to represent the West Coast. Similar to last season, the winner of each bracket will go head to head to decide the champion and the more influential half of the country.

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Making a second appearance in TOC will be acclaimed chefs Marc Murphy, Amanda Freitag, Maneet Chauhan, Christian Petroni, and Darnell Ferguson for the East Coast. Returning to represent the West Coast are Antonia Lofaso, Michael Voltaggio, Jet Tila, and also season one champion Brooke Williamson. This already makes an impressive list of competitors.

Those returning stars will be joined by Bryan Voltaggio and Madison Cowan on the Eastside. Aaron May, Brian Malarkey, and Iron Chef Cat Cora are new competitors for the West Coast. Seeing the brackets, we can only hope for a rematch between the Voltaggio brothers reminiscent of what we saw on Top Chef. I’m also personally rooting for Jet Tila to make it to the finals.

Tournament of Champions will not lack culinary star power during season two

One change from the first edition of TOC to TOC II is we only know the first seven contestants for each bracket. According to Food Network, there will be a play-in tournament to fill the last two “wild card” spots of the tournament. The play-in will be a two-week tournament of its own and results will not be known to the public until the first episode airs.

It will be interesting to see how all of the chefs handle this completely different style of competition. The “randomizer machine” not only decides the ingredients, but it also decides the cooking timeframe and at least one piece of equipment that must be used during the dish preparation.

Once again judging of each head-to-head battle will be done blindly. The judges taste the dishes, give feedback, and then score each offering without ever knowing who competed.

The accomplished list of judges will include Scott Conant, Giada De Laurentiis, Traci Des Jardins, Rocco DiSpirito, Marcus Samuelsson, Nancy Silverton, Ming Tsai, and Jonathan Waxman. DiSpirito was a contestant in the first season. It will be interesting to see how he views things from the other side.

Both Simon Majumdar and Justin Warner are returning to give real-time updates from each chef’s preparation similar to what you may see during Iron Chef competitions.

Tournament of Champions II will last until a two-hour season finale on April 8. The champion will be crowned that night, but along the way, we will see 90-minute episodes paving the way to the finals.