New Valley TV cooking show features six Scottsdale students

Scottsdale’s Danya Sherman swears she saw a prawn move, horrifying her sister Liana. Could it possibly still be alive? Find out on Food*Ball, starting at 4 p.m. May 23 on AZTV-7 Cable 13. (Submitted photo)

Scottsdale’s Danya Sherman swears she saw a prawn move, horrifying her sister Liana. Could it possibly still be alive? Find out on Food*Ball, starting at 4 p.m. May 23 on AZTV-7 Cable 13. (Submitted photo)

Six Scottsdale students are among 36 Valley teens competing for cash prizes, commendable cuisine and crushed competitors in Food*Ball TV show, a dramatic new weekly program that launches at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 23, on AZ-TV/Cable 13.

The Scottsdale participants are:

  • Chaparral High School juniors Amy Wiffler, 16, and Michaela Soden, 16.
  • Coronado High School senior Tali Lopez, 18.
  • Desert Mountain High School senior Danya Sherman, 17.
  • Desert Mountain graduate and George Washington University freshman Liana Sherman, 19.
  • Horizon High School junior Shai Nadler, 17.

Food*Ball will air from 4 to 5 p.m. on 20 successive Saturdays starting May 23 on AZ-TV7/Cable 13.

The first nine episodes will each feature four contestants. The tenth episode, titled the “Food*Ball Bowl,” will give the two best-performing teams the opportunity to vie for the Food*Ball Bowl Championship and a $1,000.00 cash prize for each winning team member.

The Scottsdale youths were chosen from more than 100 area teens who auditioned for the high energy competitive cooking reality show that was the brainchild of former Valley auto dealership business manager Margaret Clark, the show’s executive producer, and her grandson, Billy Butler, according to a press release.

“It was initially inspired by the wonderful meals we had during a trip to Italy six years ago,” Ms. Clark stated in the release. “My grandson said he’d never tasted such good food in his life. That led us to discuss ways we could share this great experience with other young people.”

Set to football metaphors, the hour-long Food*Ball TV show pits two-person teams against each other in the kitchen to see who can score with the best on-field performance while amassing the fewest penalties for violation of food safety and procedural rules, according to the release.

All contestants in Food*Ball’s 10-episodes completed a one-day crash Food*Ball Training Camp focused on food preparation techniques.

Chaparral High’s Michaela Soden, left, and Amy Wifler can't agree on what to do with the shocking mystery ingredient "kicker" they've chosen that must be added to their appetizer recipe. Find out if they decided to boot the terrible tidbit of taste to their opponents on Food*Ball, starting at 4 p.m. May 23 on AZTV-7/Cable 13. (Submitted photo)

Chaparral High’s Michaela Soden, left, and Amy Wifler can’t agree on what to do with the shocking mystery ingredient “kicker” they’ve chosen that must be added to their appetizer recipe. Find out if they decided to boot the terrible tidbit of taste to their opponents on Food*Ball, starting at 4 p.m. May 23 on AZTV-7/Cable 13. (Submitted photo)

The teams were then turned loose in the kitchen under the supervision of a whistle-blowing referee, Junior American Culinary Federation Competition Team co-captain Ian Ray. Chaos, comedy and concoction of the – occasionally – palatable cuisine ensued.

Whatever the culinary outcomes, the kitchen creations had to be rated by food experts brave enough to taste anything.

According to the release the intrepid panel includes head judge Jon-Paul Hutchins, executive chef at Le Cordon Bleu College of culinary Arts in Scottsdale, and Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame member. His associate judges are Hayley Gibbons, a hospitality management veteran and entrepreneurial gourmet chef in Phoenix, and Gabriel Garfio, executive chef at Sunnyside Breakfast Lounge in Mesa.

The Food*Ball TV show host is actor, director and voiceover artist David Dickinson. Former Miss Arizona and Arizona Coyotes hockey team cheerleader Kimberly Hoff is the show’s onfield reporter.

Veteran Valley producer/director David Rawlings directed all 10 Food*Ball episodes which were produced at the East Valley Institute of Technology.

“We wanted to develop a program that would be exciting and entertaining while teaching some basic food survival skills,” stated Food*Ball TVShow Executive Producer Margaret Clark, in the release. “Research shows that more than half of the young people leaving home for college or other life opportunities don’t know how to cook even five simple dishes.”

Combined with the waning existence of high school home economics classes, Ms. Clark said, this inevitably leads to consumption of junk food with too much fat, too many calories and not enough nutrition, a situation that contributes to the nation’s unhealthy tripling of obesity rates.

“But our first goal was to show viewers how much fun it can be to learn to cook and then enjoy the outcomes,” Ms. Clark said. “This is a fast paced show with a lot of excitement, unexpected disasters and happy surprises.”

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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