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Food Fighters


Food Fighters

"Jon Coombs"

Home cook Jon Coombs puts his best recipes to the test against five pro chefs, including Cat Cora, as he tries to win $100,000...[button color="black" size="small" link="" target="blank" ]Official Site[/button]

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This week, home cook Jon Coombs, a decorated Sergeant in the U.S. Army and father of seven, will battle it out against five pro chefs. He has brought five of his best recipes in hopes of defying the odds to bring home $100,000 to buy a new house for his family and a trip to visit his mother in Jamaica. Jon has been in the Army for 23 years, which has taken him all around the world and had a big impact on his cooking style.

Jon's first opponent is Chef Daniel Shemtob, a Los Angeles food truck owner whose style is funky fusion. Jon chooses to make his Scallops and Potatoes. Chef Shemtob isn't intimidated in the least - he grew up eating scallops. The men banter in the kitchen as Jon prepares fingerling potatoes and pesto to serve with his scallops. Chef Shemtob uses his scallops to create a Potato Chive Pancake. Both dishes are presented to the Dinner Party, a group of everyday Americans, for a blind taste test to determine the winner. In a 3-to-2 decision, the winner of the food fight is Jon!

Next, Jon faces Devin Alexander, a leading chef in the health and fitness industry. In an effort to stump Chef Alexander, Jon chooses to make his most unhealthy dish, Mac and Cheese with three different types of cheese and cheese crackers on top, inside, and on the bottom of the dish. Chef Alexander adds a twist to her Mac and Cheese by simply adding bacon. The Dinner Party deliberates and in another 3-to-2 decision, Jon wins!

Chef Vic Vegas goes head-to-head with Jon in the next round. Jon decides to make his Caribbean Chicken with coconut rice and beans, hoping the Italian Chef Vegas will be unfamiliar with the dish. The recipe has been in Jon's family forever. Chef Vegas decides to make Chicken Skewers with papaya salsa and grilled watermelon. In a 4-to-1 Dinner Party decision, Chef Vegas wins.

Jon tries to redeem himself in his fourth battle. He competes against Chef Eric Greenspan, the king of comfort food. Jon strategically chooses to make his Cookie Sandwich, which turns out to be a good call because Chef Greenspan has never made cookies before. Jon makes an almond cookie sandwich with vanilla whipped cream and a strawberry basil relish. Chef Greenspan decides to make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Sandwich, incorporating peanut and butter filling and nitrogen ice cream. In a 3-to-2 decision, the winner is Jon!

Jon's final opponent is Celebrity Chef Cat Cora, and the only recipe left on the menu is Shrimp and Grits. Jon is intimidated, since Shrimp and Grits is Chef Cora's signature dish. However, Jon powers through, making his shrimp with pepper jack cheese grits and tomato sauce. Chef Cora blackens her shrimp and serves them with garlic grits and bacon butter. In a surprising unanimous decision, Jon wins! He goes home with a total of $70,000! He will finally be able to move his family into a bigger house and take them to Jamaica to visit his mother.

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Jon Coombs' Recipes


Scallops with Fingerling Potatoes 


7 scallops
2 cups chicken stock
3 purple fingerling potatoes
3 yellow fingerling potatoes
1 bunch chives
1 bunch cilantro
4 garlic cloves
2 lemons (juiced)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Blend chives, cilantro, garlic and lemon juice until smooth. Slowly add olive oil, season to taste. In skillet, heat chicken stock, add diagonal, long-cut fingerling potatoes. Cook until tender, season. In hot cast iron pan, season and sear scallops until golden brown and crispy on top.


Cheesy Cracker Mac and Cheese


2-1/2 cups elbow macaroni
Oil as needed
2 cups Cheez-Its
1-1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup Mexican blend cheese
1 cup pepper jack cheese
1-1/4 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt
White pepper

Boil noodles until soft in seasoned water (oil, salt). In pot, bring cream to simmer. Slowly add cheese (hold back 1/4 cup mozzarella) until smooth and slightly thick, season to taste. In food processor, process crackers to a loose powder. Combine pasta, cheese sauce and 2/3 crackers, place in ramekins slightly filled with remaining crackers and mozzarella cheese, bake 5-7 minutes in 500-degree oven.


Caribbean Chicken with Coconut Rice and Beans


4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon tamarind
1/4 cup curry powder
2 tablespoons turmeric
1/4 cup Vidalia onion (small dice)
2 carrots (small dice)
2 Idaho potatoes (small dice)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups jasmine rice
1/2 cup kidney beans
Salt and pepper
Green onion
1-1/4 cup chicken stock
Water as needed
Cornstarch as needed

Add oil to skillet and pan sear chicken; give it some nice color. Add all vegetables, stock and seasoning. Cook until chicken is 165 degrees throughout and vegetables are tender, onions translucent. Remove chicken, let rest. Make slurry with starch and water, and stir into sauce until thick. Meanwhile, add rice, milk and beans to pot with just enough water to cover rice by 1 inch. Cook until rice is done and beans are tender, season all with salt and pepper.


Almond Cookie Sandwich with Vanilla Cream


1-1/4 cup flour
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup toasted almond slivers (ground fine)
2/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup water
5 strawberries
3 basil leaves
1/4 cup basil sugar
Kosher salt

Beat 1/4 cup sugar and 1 cup butter until fluffy. Add flour and almonds, beat until combined. Roll on floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut 14 1-1/2 inch circles. Bake for 6-7 minutes in 500-degree oven. Put remaining sugar and water in pot, reduce until syrupy consistency. Cut strawberries to a small dice, chiffonade basil, add to simple syrup when done and set aside. Beat cream, confectioners sugar and vanilla paste until light and fluffy. 


Shrimp and Cheese Grits with Tomato Sauce 


2 tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 Vidalia onions
1 green peppers
16 tiger prawn shrimp
1 cup pepper jack cheese
1 jalapeño
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups grits
Kosher salt
White pepper
3 slices bacon (diced)

Pan roast tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, jalapeños and garlic until slightly charred. Puree until slightly smooth with minimal chunks. Season with salt and pepper, put back in same skillet and cook over low heat. Grill shrimp just enough to add a little color and parcook them. Add to tomato puree, cook through. 

Cook grits, heavy cream, milk until grits are done. Slowly add pepper jack cheese, season to taste. Cook bacon until crispy. Reserve bacon drippings for tomato puree and combine all. Garnish with chives.

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