Jonathan Bennett is ready to go back in time. On July 12, 2023, the longtime Hallmark star and “Mean Girls” actor announced his latest venture: hosting a brand new series on Food Network called “Battle of the Decades.”
After several years away, Bennett returns to Food Network to serve as the ringleader while contestant teams, each comprised of two chefs representing different generations, compete in cooking challenges while being required to use popular ingredients and gadgets from the past.
When Food Network announced the show on its Instagram account, Bennett commented, “I can’t wait for the world to watch Old School VS. New School in a battle of the decades!” Here’s what you need to know:
Jonathan Bennett to Host ‘Battle of the Decades’ With Celebrity Judges
“Battle of the Decades” will challenge chef duos to do away with modern conveniences, using formerly trendy gadgets and incorporate retro ingredients and techniques to create their recipes, according to a Food Network press release.
On each of the eight one-hour episodes, three teams receive a series of challenges, trying to make it to the final round. In the first round, Bennett reveals what’s inside a time capsule that must be used to make their first dish, including required ingredients and a cooking gadget from a particular year, like a Snoopy Sno-Cone machine, electric grill or an Easy Bake Oven.
In round two, the two remaining teams have to improve viral food trends from the past, like 1950s gelatin molds, smiley fries and spicy vodka pasta.
Then, in round three, the last team splits up and faces off against each other to cook up their version of a “timeless dish like Chicken Kiev and Beef Wellington,” per Food Network. One winner each week goes home with $10,000.
In each of the eight one-hour episodes, Bennett will be joined by a “rotating panel of judges” that also represent different generations. They include:
- Former NFL player and “Food Network Star” winner Eddie Jackson with his father Eddie Jackson Sr.
- Cookbook author Antonia Lofaso and her daughter Xea Myers, whose dad was the late rapper Heavy D.
- San Francisco restaurant owner Peter Fang and his daughter, two-time “Chopped” champion Kathy Fang
- Dallas restaurant group owner Julian Rodarte and his father and business partner Beto Rodarte
Food Network says there will also be retro celebrities representing different decades on the judging panel, including singer Taylor Dayne, “90210” actress Jennie Garth, “Seinfeld” actor Wayne Knight, Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” actress Nia Vardalos.
Fans & Friends Thrilled to See Jonathan Bennett’s Return to Food Network
“Battle of the Decades” is not Bennett’s first time as a Food Network host. According to IMDb, he’s been at the helm of several shows over the years including 2015’s “Christmas Cookie Challenge,” “Cake Wars” from 2015 to 2017, “Cupcake Wars” in 2016, and “Halloween Wars” from 2016 to 2020. Bennett also has years of experience hosting Times Square’s official New Year’s Eve livestream.
He wrote, “Yay! A show I would watch even if I wasn’t your husband. Can’t wait for this.”
Bennett’s “The Christmas House” co-star Robert Buckley wrote, “About freaking time. Congrats!”
Producer Robbie Kocsis wrote, “We are working hard on it! Can’t wait for everyone to see” and Bennett replied, “yaaaaaas”
Many fans were thrilled by the news, too, with one writing, “It is safe to say I am freaking out right now. My favorite host is back on Food Network. I have already set a reminder. I saw you first on Food Network and have been waiting on your return.”
Another commented, “This sounds so Awesome & Fun @jonathandbennett 🙌🙌👏👏❤️❤️🧑🍳 Can’t wait to watch it!!!”
“Battle of the Decades” premieres on August 16 at 10 p.m. Eastern time.