The battle is on in the supersized fourth season of Food Network’s Tournament of Champions, which premiered on Feb. 19! “The skills and abilities of the most talented chefs from the East and West coast will be pushed to the limit in the most difficult bracket-style culinary competition” on this season of the Guy Fieri-hosted show, Food Network says.
But with a $100,000 cash prize, how do we know that Tournament of Champions isn’t rigged?
Some fans are suspicious. “Just watch the randomizer,” one wrote on Reddit in 2020. “How could it always be different? Especially for the protein. Also pay attention to the part where it shows it spinning and almost ready to come to a stop. Then look at the clip after. Nowhere is what it was possibly going to stop at in the clip.”
Well, we’ll have to take the word of a Tournament of Champions executive producer and a star of the show…
‘Tournament of Champions’ isn’t rigged, and there’s “no funny business,” EP Brian Landon contends.
As Reality Blurred reported in March 2022, conspiracy theorists say the randomizer — a slot machine-style — doesn’t always seem random when it picks variables like proteins, produce, equipment, cooking styles, and time allotments for the contestants. After all, viewers don’t see the same item come up on the itemizer twice, right? And then the random protein just happens to be in the fridge, ready to go?
But Tournament of Champions executive producer Brian Lando explained it all. “100 percent, it’s random,” Brian told the site. “It’s so important to Guy that there’s no funny-business behind the scenes.”
As Brian revealed, randomizer selections get swapped out after they’re picked. “Our culinary team is so talented and creative that they have enough options that viewers will never see the same things twice,” he said.
So how does the random protein magically appear in the fridges? “What happens is: After the randomizer lands — and it lands 100 percent for real, there’s no re-spins — there’s a two-minute breakdown where the chefs hear all the specific rules,” Brian said. “We cannot stock the 20 proteins that we have there on that day in those refrigerators. … The [culinary] team takes the proteins from the back that were just spun and puts them in the refrigerator, and then it picks up right from there.”
There’s “nothing rigged,” adds commentator Justin Warner.
Justin Warner, the Food Network veteran who provides play-by-play commentary on Tournament of Champions, assured Reddit users in 2021 that the show’s randomizer lives up to its name and that there’s “nothing rigged.”
When a Redditor asked how random the randomizer really is, Justin replied, “Hi! Justin Warner here. Nothing rigged. And the randomizer gets worse per heat. You’ll see.”
Justin also said there’s “no human element” in the randomizer. “I promise you, it does what any other sentient machine would do,” he quipped.
If you want to see the randomizer in action, Tournament of Champions airs on Food Network on Sundays at 8 p.m. EST and streams on Discovery Plus.