The Great Soul Food Cook-Off: Release Date, Judges, And More - What We Know So Far

The cuisine of Black America is finally getting its spotlight. Earlier this year, the Netflix documentary "High on the Hog" broke new ground as it enabled Black people to tell a story that's theirs to begin with: the evolution of Southern soul food (via The New York Times). While "The Great Soul Food Cook-Off" may not have the gravitas of "High on the Hog," it might signal that Black cuisine has made the big time.

Black chefs who specialize in their traditional cuisine will go head-to-head in the new food competition show, coming soon to Discovery+. In a sense, "The Great Soul Food Cook-Off," released by Discovery+ in partnership with OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, picks up where "High on the Hog" left off. It celebrates contemporary versions of a cuisine that originated in Africa and was introduced to the United States by slaves. As OWN President Tina Perry said in a Discovery+ press release, "Soul food originated in the earliest African American communities and describes a style of cuisine that represents the creativity and skill of Black cooks from many cultures within the African diaspora."

What is the release date for The Great Soul Food Cook-Off?

"The Great Soul Food Cook-Off" premieres on Discovery+ just in time to inspire you to add some soul to your Thanksgiving Day spread. The show makes its debut on the streaming service on Saturday, November 20, and it's not meant to be binged. Discovery+ will roll out episodes one week at a time on Saturdays through December 18, according to the streamer's press release.

Eight Black chefs will appear in the premiere, all hoping to be the one who goes home with the $50,000 prize at the end of the season. OWN President Tina Perry said in the press release she hopes the show appeals to existing viewers on the platform, who love cooking competitions, as well as new viewers — perhaps those who are curious to know what Black cuisine is all about, along with those who might see themselves in the contestants. "This series is a celebration of long-standing traditions," Perry said. "Our audience cherishes time together as a family around the table, and many have passed down favorite family recipes for generations."

Who will be the host and judges on The Great Soul Food Cook-Off?

"The Great Soul Food Cook-Off" host Kardea Brown is a proven veteran. She already has a show with her name on it: Food Network's "Delicious Miss Brown," per the network's website. Brown just revealed to her fans on Instagram that she is filming Season 6 of the popular show, which dives into something close to home for Brown: Southern cooking.

Who better to host "The Great Soul Food Cook-Off" than Brown? She was born and raised in the epicenter of Southern food, coastal South Carolina. Her ancestors are among those who are credited with establishing and maintaining West African food traditions in the U.S. Brown has appeared on several Food Network shows, including "Beat Bobby Flay," "Chopped Junior," and "Family Food Showdown."

The two full-time judges on "The Great Soul Food Cook-Off" will be Eric Adjepong and Melba Wilson, according to the Discovery+ statement. As Adjepong's website explains, the chef knows West African cuisine, too. As a first-generation Ghanaian-American, it's what he had for dinner. Adjepong was a fan favorite in seasons 16 and 17 of "Top Chef."

Wilson is owner of the renowned Melba's Restaurant in Harlem and a past winner on "Throwdown with Bobby Flay," according to The Hollywood Reporter. She's been a judge before, on "Beat Bobby Flay" and "Worst Cooks in America."

What will episodes of The Great Soul Food Cook-Off feature?

Episode 1 of "The Great Soul Food Cook-Off" offers two stages of competition. In the Soul Starter Challenge, according to the Discovery+ statement, the eight contestants divide into teams for a "meat and three challenge," to try to come up with the best plate of pork chops, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, and collard greens. The winning team will gain an advantage going into the main challenge.

The eight contestants hail from Florida, Harlem, Oakland, and points in between. They range in age from Jamarius Banks, a 28-year-old private chef from Atlanta, to 53-year-old Chris Scott, chef-owner of Butterfunk Biscuit Co. in Harlem.

Guest judges will rotate through the six episodes: Tanya Holland, Alexander Smalls, BJ Dennis, Tiffany Derry, Millie Peartree, and Kwame Onwuachi. You may have seen Onwuachi before, as a contestant on "Top Chef" Season 13 and then as a judge in the most recent season, set in Portland.