UPDATED: Santa Rosa’s Graves Brothers will be moving forward after the first episode Ayesha Curry’s “Family Food Fight!” which debuted on ABC June 20.
It was a nail-biter as twin brothers Kris and Mike Graves and little brother DJ competed, first making “Sunday dinner for mom” with Bearnaise sauced steaks, cheeseburger egg rolls, and Kahlua chocolate chip cake. Narrowly avoiding a cakepocalypse when the center of the cake crumbled, they made it a second elimination round serving up Cajun eggs Benedict with fried chicken, french toast sticks and SOS (S**t on a Shingle in military lingo) comprised of a simple, but comforting gravy on toast.
“This week we had a few missteps in the competition,” said Kris, “but that’s not going to be how it’s going to go in the competitions coming up.”
In the final judging, Curry said the brothers were a perfect example of a team working as a family.
The Graves brothers are hoping to raise money for the Mama Bear Foundation, a grassroots organization that serves local cancer victims in need of financial or physical assistance. The non-profit was founded in remembrance of their mother, Patti, who passed away from uterine cancer in 2005.
“We started cooking when mom was diagnosed,” said Mike Graves, “Sunday night dinner with all of us was the only thing she wanted.” But soon the twins’ competitive nature kicked in and, instead of just hot dogs and burgers, they were preparing dishes like halibut beurre blanc.
Family Food Fight, which will show throughout the summer on Thursday nights, pits eight families from different parts of the country against each other as they create multi-course meals for— you guessed it—families. Television personality and cookbook author Ayesha Curry, who also happens to be married to basketball phenom Steph Curry, hosts the show with celebrity chef judges Cat Cora and Graham Elliot. The winning family will take home $100,000.
“Cat Cora wanted to adopt the three of us,” said Kris Graves. “We reminded her of her boys.”
The new ABC series—a take-off of an Australian game show—is unabashedly frothy summer television, sandwiched between a putt-putt golf-themed game show called Holey Moley (produced by Steph Curry) and a sexy, action-packed Pacific Island drama called “Reef Break.” The reason behind the brothers’ appearance on the show, however, is anything but funny.
For the Graves brothers, cooking is “all about family.” On the ABC show, they’ll be making “comfort food with class,” inspired by their own family dinners.
“The three of us in one kitchen made it a dangerous setting for the whole show,” said Kris, laughing. “We were like an equilateral triangle, but Mike’s the short side,” he said, referring to the seven-inch height difference between the two twins.
While the brothers are veterans of television game show classic Family Feud as well as a long-forgotten Food Network cooking challenge, firefighter Kris is the one with the acting bug and impetus for appearing on television. After a month of filming Family Food Fight, he’s now moving to Southern California to pursue that dream. “Kris just loves attention,” said Mike.
DJ, who is in commercial lending, and Mike, who works as a sales manager, aren’t planning to make any life changes after their TV stint but said that they’ve created relationships with some of the families on the show that will last a lifetime.
“Families were from all across the country. They all had different stories to tell, came from different backgrounds,” said DJ. Some, the Graves said, they really clicked with. Others, well, not as much. They weren’t there to make friends, after all, just sear some darn good steak.
“We’re trying to win our own Triple Crown,” said Kris of the $20,000-plus wins on the previous two game shows.
Stay tuned as they continue the competition.