“I want to smear you on a cracker and eat you up,” the grandma whispered into Ben Dawson’s ear. Ben, one of the shirtless cooks in the road show “Chefs – A Sizzling Kitchen Showdown” gave her a winning smile and guided her off the stage back into the sold-out audience.
“Just another night during the tour,” Dawson explained, “You have to love the attention and you have to love being touched.”
The innovative show is a cooking competition where the stakes are high: if a chef loses a culinary challenge, he must remove an article of clothing. The audience has a chance to participate by helping decide the winners and losers.
Welcome to “Chefs – A Sizzling Kitchen Showdown:” A mash up of Chippendales and “Iron Chef” in the post-50 Shades of Grey world, all brought to you by Mills Entertainment.
Cutting across demographic, geographic and political lines, the show draws huge crowds ages 21-80 in places like West Virginia, Boston, Tulsa and Minneapolis.
During one performance, a woman was pulled from the audience to help judge and got so excited she kissed a chef and passed out. Around 80 percent of the crowd is women looking for a fun, night out that is a little different. The other 20 percent are men – both gay and straight.
A man that identifies as a straight lumberjack got so into the competition he playfully spanked his almost-naked chef when they lost. The crowd roared. Even in the #MeToo World, everyone sees this as a lighthearted night of good fun and the crowd is very animated.
If the theatre serves alcohol, the crowd gets even rowdier the cast feeds off the energy, especially during the dancing segments.
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The show is carefully paced to build momentum in the crowd. Intermission is timed to give the audience an opportunity to both cool down and engage via social media for show prizes (we don’t want to spoil it for our readers).
Dawson, who has been acting for 10 years and has been on HBO’s “Deuce,” “Investigation Discovery,” commercials, an independent series and more says while this is a different path then he expected for his career, he is riding the success and is savoring the fun he is providing for crowds. He is hoping this will propel him to the big screen and action movies.