Word on the street (OK, on eGullet) has it that the Food Network is readying a new show to be rolled out in January 24, 2007. The new outing is a kind of Iron Chef/Survivor mashup, with chefs dropped off in remote or ill-equipped locations and asked to prepare fancy-schmancy meals, stat.

One ep was filmed on teensy Little Cranberry Island, Maine, where star Robert Irvine (I’ve never heard of the dude, but he’s got a wicked widow’s peak and used to cook for Dubya, the British royal fam, and Donald Trump) had a tall order:

Though it was not yet over, Saturday already had been a long day for Irvine and his two sous chefs, George Gatali and George Krelle, who until that morning had never heard of Little Cranberry Island or of the local village of Islesford. When they met up with [Dinner Impossible’s executive producer Marc] Summers at 7 a.m. at the town pier in Northeast Harbor to find out where they were headed, all they had was their chef’s knives and $3,500 to spend on food.

They had no idea what food they would prepare, where they would get their ingredients, how many people they would be cooking for, what kind of pots and pans would be at their disposal, or what kind of cooking facilities they would have access to. And, with the help of a handful of local residents the Food Network had lined up ahead of time, they had only 12 hours to figure it all out and make it happen.

My first thought is: $3,500? That’s $17.50 a person! If these guys can’t whip out some four-star plates on that budget, they’re not worth their clogs. Of course, not having a kitchen is a tougher hurdle. Reportedly, in the Little Cranberry outing, Irvine and company bought out all the poultry in the small supermarket and scrounged lettuces from a gardener.

Rumor has it that another episode was filmed at Colonial Williamsburg. Rabbit soup and mead, anyone?

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