These Shows Tried To Rip Off Man V. Food And Failed

Americans love two things: food and a challenge. That's why television show "Man v. Food" became so popular. If you're unfamiliar with the show, the host — first Adam Richman, now Casey Webb — visits an American city and participates in a local eating challenge. You know, those asterisks on menus promising a free meal and your picture on the wall if you can eat an inordinate amount of food.

"Man v. Food," currently in its ninth season, has been running for over a decade, highlighting the many, many eating challenges around the United States and becoming a fan favorite. Given its popularity, it's no surprise other networks tried their own versions, hoping to capitalize on the popularity of people, well, eating.

Some shows haven't used "Man v. Food" simply for inspiration, though. Rather, they put a small spin on the concept, trying to seem original but ultimately failing. Some were just episodes, others were entire series, but all were copies. Here are the shows that tried to rip off "Man v. Food."

Chefs vs. City

In 2009, Food Network premiered its "Man v. Food" knockoff "Chefs vs. City." The name itself was a blatant copy of "Man v. Food," but the format was a little different. Two chefs, Aarón Sanchez and Chris Cosentino, traveled the United States in search of local food challenges and always faced a competing team of two local chefs. Each team had to drive around the city to complete the challenges and win the competition.

Unlike "Man v. Food," the challenges on "Chefs vs. City" didn't always require eating. For instance, one challenge at Passport Coffee and Tea in Scottsdale, Arizona required the teams of chefs to correctly identify coffees through a blind taste test.

The show didn't last long, and after just two seasons was canceled. Years later, Cosentino spoke out about his time on television, noting his regrets — particularly those from his time on "Chefs vs. City" — at a MAD 4 symposium, as reported by Eater. The chef claimed the show took advantage of his weaknesses, and the foods he ate damaged the lining of his stomach, forcing him to change his diet to recover. He warned others with television ambition: "be careful what you wish for."

Food Paradise

"Food Paradise" is a long-running show on the Travel Channel that takes fans across the country in search of restaurants that make the best of a particular food. Like many food shows, the episodes are themed, showing the best places for steaks, hot dogs, pub food, and bacon, just to name a few.

A couple episodes have had themes awfully similar to "Man v. Food," though. One episode covered what "Food Paradise" considers to be "the manliest restaurants around." We'll let you decide what that means for yourself, but according to the various patrons featured on the episode, it's basically large foods and large portions, nearly identical to what is seen on "Man v. Food." "Fish that overhangs my bun by, you know, six inches on either side, that's manly food," one guest said.

Another episode very clearly made its theme about large foods, calling it "Titanic Treats." One restaurant profiled was a seafood joint in San Diego that served gargantuan sushi rolls, each about the size of a burger — rolls we can easily imagine Adam Richman enjoying.

Carnival Eats

On Cooking Channel's "Carnival Eats," host Noah Cappe visits carnivals around North America to try the unique fare sold. He's tasted several interesting dishes over the course of the show, and he loves it. "When people say to me, 'What's your dream job?' I'm like, 'Well, I kind of have it,'" he told On TV Today.

While the show's premise is different than that of "Man v. Food," a couple episodes have come dangerously close to copying, as they've featured Cappe eating truly enormous-sized foods.

In season four, Cappe traveled south for an episode called "Everything's Bigger and Better in Texas," which featured him trying large versions of burritos, burgers, and sausages, among other foods, to prove the old adage about the Lone Star State. In another episode, which Cappe highlighted on Facebook, the professional eater ate a donut nearly the size of his face, a practice which Adam Richman is familiar with (via YouTube).


SORTEDfood is a popular YouTube channel that features a host of food-related content. The featured chefs, Jamie Spafford, Mike Huttlestone, Barry Taylor, Ben Ebbrell, and — until 2021 — James Currie, cook recipes and give tutorials, review kitchen instruments, battle each other, and, it seems, look to "Man v. Food" for video inspiration.

In one episode called 2 CHEFS. 6 FOOD CHALLENGES!, part of their "Game Changers" series, Currie and Ebbrell traveled around Portland, Oregon to complete food challenges based on some of the city's best ingredients. The winner of each challenge won ingredients to use in the final challenge — a grill battle. Some of the food challenges in the episode included eating a giant burger the fastest and a blind taste test to identify ingredients.

In another episode called "POKER FACE 'Fermented Foods' Challenge," Ebbrell and Huttlestone tasted fermented foods while trying not to react to the taste. Some of the foods they tried included natto and century eggs.

Man v. Food Reboot

It may not seem possible for a show to rip off itself, but hear us out. Fans were livid when the show's original host Adam Richman quit. He didn't give much of a reason concerning his decision, but stated on Facebook, "I now seek to explore, to learn and to share what I've learned about food, places, people and travel itself & make that information enjoyable and accessible to everyone."

Shows get new hosts all the time, but Richman became synonymous with "Man v. Food," and, as he noted in his post, helped "that phenomenon [catch] hold worldwide." For many fans, a new host felt wrong. When Casey Webb took over, fans were quick to express their dismay with the choice, many taking to Twitter, as The Daily Meal shared. Fans found Richman irreplaceable and claimed he was responsible for the show's success.

Richman was seemingly unhappy with the choice, too. Per Foodbeast, the former host left a comment on Instagram subtly shading Webb. "Replacement? Lol – nah. Just someone driving a stolen car," he said.

BuzzFeed Bring Me

BuzzFeed Bring Me is a travel guide that shares locations, restaurants, travel tips, and other interesting information with readers. They're also active on YouTube, and gave one contributor, Jasmine Pak, her own series called "Giant Food Time." As the name might suggest, on the show Pak makes her friends "giant versions of their favorite foods," per the episodes' intro.

In one episode, Pak took the surprise to a new level. She and her friend visited the same San Diego restaurant as seen in "Food Paradise" to try their giant sushi roll, where each piece weighs over five pounds. The restaurant features a challenge where one person is given 15 minutes to finish the entire roll, which is made of eight individual pieces.

Pak and her friend took on the challenge, just as Adam Richman and Casey Webb did and do on "Man v. Food." The two signed waivers before beginning the challenge, but neither came close to finishing the enormous rolls. Many have tried, but no one can eat like "Man v. Food."