FOX is spicing things up by serving a whole entrée of shows this summer, leading with the series premiere of Crime Scene Kitchen, a culinary cooking guessing game that will satiate your appetite with its mystery, hilarity and delicious bakes. Hosted by actor and comedian Joel McHale, each episode begins at the scene of the crime — a kitchen of crumbs and flour trails used to create a mouth-watering dessert that has since vanished. In an exclusive with McHale ahead of the reality TV competition's debut, the host teases what fans can expect from the unique cooking series featuring some very dramatic moments that find contestants duplicating the recipe based on their guess.
"Obviously, there's a lot of baking shows out there, but I think this one's unique because you don't know what you're going to make and you go into this kitchen and there's some evidence left behind of something that's been baked there," McHale told PopCulture.com. "You got two minutes to search for it and then they're like, 'All right, you have four hours. Come up with it.'"
Revealing how the show is a mix of both "highly trained bakers" and "a bunch of self-taught" geniuses, McHale admits audiences will be "amazed at how close they got to some of the recipes" for the mystery baking show. But some were also quite off as he shares his experiences of testing and trying many of the creations. "I was like, 'This is the best thing I've ever had. Right here is the best dessert.' And then others, it was like, 'I don't know if this is edible. Can we drink egg whites? Is that okay?' So, the highs are really high and some of the lows are pretty low, but the skill level — the way that people came to play and you're kind of not sure... It's not revealed until the end what the actual thing was."
Hosting alongside judges and chefs, Curtis Stone and Yolanda Gampp, McHale — who calls himself a "yahoo host [...] dressed like a lumbersexual" — sings his Crime Scene Kitchen co-stars' praises, calling Gampp a "queen of the world for cakes" and crediting the "annoyingly handsome" Stone for being "so good on television" thanks to being a world-class chef.
With the chefs leading two teams, challenging their competitors to scour the kitchen for clues and ingredients to figure out what was baked, each team must replicate the recipe based on their guess. Winning each round requires culinary flair, precise execution and a refined taste surpassing the competition as the show also involves a grand prize of $100,000 prize for the baker who has proven their technical know-how, imagination and problem-solving skills. But with McHale hosting, you can be sure there will be some hilarious distractions. "I like to mix it up with not just the regular like, 'What are you working on?' Because you can win $100,000. And I was like, 'Would the money mean a lot to you?' So I like to go, 'Hey, where'd you get that shirt?' And those are the questions I like asking," he joked.
The Crime Scene Kitchen host, who is also a self-proclaimed food snob, adds that while his social media feed might show he has a savory taste palette, he does indeed have a sweet tooth. "I don't want to say I don't like baking — I'm just not good at it because the level of expertise it takes to get all of it right is the same as it is building like a helicopter," he said. "Everything has to come together perfectly. I mean, there was a couple of desserts where like, you did all this right. This one thing you didn't do right and that's why it's not great."
McHale credits good desserts take the right. "chemistry and the coordination" to make a delicious treat. "And I'm not saying that as, 'Now, go watch the show.' But people have been joking. They're like, 'Oh yeah, you love desserts, don't you?'" he said, adding how he has to be strategic though about eating desserts. "I am not a person to be like, 'And now I'm going to eat an entire pie each day.' I wish I could. In my twenties, I could, but I really do. I was eating like 9,000 calories a day on this baking show. And I kept going, 'Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for this opportunity. I cannot believe I get to do this.' Because it was all so good. But I'm not one of those people like, 'No dessert for me.' I'll have some but I can't have it every day."
The comedian adds that his addition to the show was all about having someone with "fresh eyes who doesn't really know" much about baking. "I didn't know the difference between all the different like Italian creams or French creams and American creams that you put on cakes," he said, further revealing how he's excited about the series premiere as a big food fan. "Because we never dreamt about food like this. I mean, my mom was a really good cook on top of all that, but we just never dreamt of it."
Crime Scene Kitchen airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on FOX. For more with Joel and the new reality TV competition, stay tuned to the latest from PopCulture.com.