“Crime Scene Kitchen” is a baking competition series with a sweet twist. Baking teams of two are tasked with going into an abandoned kitchen where a delicious dessert was just made — and then guessing what the dessert was. They are then tasked with having to recreate the dessert, “when all that’s left are the crumbs, flour trails, and a few elusive clues.”

Produced by Fox Alternative Entertainment and Fly on the Wall (with unscripted successes such as “Big Brother” and two seasons of “Celebrity Big Brother” on CBS), the nine-episode season one of “Crime Scene Kitchen”  had a premiere date of May 26, 2021, on Fox — hosted by actor and comedian Joel McHale, with celebrity food judges Curtis Stone and Yolanda Gampp. 

It also aired on Fox’s free streaming platform, Tubi. Episodes can be watched through Fox Live and On-Demand, using apps from the App Store and Google Play.

The series played on Wednesday nights and attracted ​​1.85 million viewers in the live and same-day ratings, making it one of Fox’s top-rated shows in the summer of 2021 (as was one of its other cooking series, “MasterChef.”)

How Does “Crime Scene Kitchen” Work?

Over the nine episodes — with evocative episode names such as “Just Desserts,” and “Red, White and Clue” — teams of two friends, two family members, or two ex-military veterans go into a kitchen and act as dessert detectives. The pair try to figure out what’s been baked there — based solely on the ingredients and clues left behind. When they figure out the sweet dish, they try to reproduce the recipe by a deadline, which is in turn judged by culinary experts Curtis Stone and Yolanda Gampp.

Some of the episodes also had guest judges, including Kelly Osbourne, Cheryl Hines, Aaron Sanchez, and Ken Jeong.

According to Fox, “To take the $100,000 prize, the competing dessert makers . . . need to prove they have the technical know-how, imagination and problem-solving skills needed to decode and recreate incredible desserts and cakes from across the world!”

Each episode of “Crime Seat Kitchen” has two rounds, like a game show,  where winners of the first round receive an extra hint in the second about the type of dessert. The team that performs poorest in the second ‘Showpiece’ round is eliminated from the competition. This process goes on through the nine episodes until there is one winning team and two runners-up. 

Is “Crime Scene Kitchen” Canceled?

At the end of the season in 2021, fans of the show let it be known they craved the sweet taste of another season with new episodes and hoped that the series hadn’t been canceled. Fox has appeared to listen. In May 2022, it announced that viewers will be treated to a second season of “Crime Scene Kitchen.” No release date has been revealed so far.

Some fans have wondered if judge Curtis Stone will be able to come back since he is also slated to be one of the chefs on Netflix’s reboot of the food competition show “Iron Chef: Quest for the Iron Legend.” However, since this series is supposed to air in June 2022, it suggests that shooting may be already done, leaving Stone time to participate in season two of “Crime Scene Kitchen.”

“‘Crime Scene Kitchen’ is unlike any cooking show out there,” marvels Rob Wade, president, Alternative Entertainment and Specials, Fox Entertainment. “It’s a truly original format with amazing baking creations, a brilliant play-along guessing game for the whole family, and Joel at the center of it all, bringing hilarity at every turn. Just don’t watch it if you’re feeling hungry!”

Highlights of Season 1 of “Crime Scene Kitchen”

“Crime Scene Kitchen” host Joel McHale reveals one of the temptations of the series was the desserts themselves. He predicts he was eating 10,000 calories of sweet baked goods per day of filming because he wasn’t the type just to take a bite but had to finish the entire confection.

There were a lot of desserts at first because the series started out with 12 teams, which were introduced six at a time until the remaining teams were later merged. McHale would sometimes have to lie down after a taping, but when the sugar high passed, he was ready to go in and eat some more. 

Over the nine episodes of the first season of “Crime Scene Kitchen,” the competing baking teams tasted sweet victories, correctly guessing and reproducing desserts made in deserted kitchens — or their efforts missed the mark and they tasted bitter defeat. A team was eliminated each round until the TV series finale.

While they might meet the competition, the different teams are prevented from interacting during the episodes and seeing how other teams respond to the guessing challenge, keeping the element of surprise. 

Fight Until the Batter End

In “Fight Until the Batter End,” the team of Luis and Natalie begin to bake their way to final victory when they, like the other teams, guess the mystery recipe is an opera cake — but use another clue to surmise that it is a full cake, and not just a slice. They win the dessert round and the extra clue in this penultimate episode.

Before the top teams battled for top honors and $100,000 prize, they had to go through a special elimination round after beating eight other teams. The four teams all guess the mystery dessert is chocolate Napoleon (whether they are right or not remains to be seen), then each produces their version of it. One team is eliminated during this dessert round, while the other three attempt the grand finale recipe in the Showpiece challenge.

Crime Scene Kitchen - Chocolate Napoleon

About the “Crime Scene Kitchen” Host and Judges

Besides the two-person baking team contestants and special judges who appear in single episodes, the main cast of “Crime Scene Kitchen” includes the host and two principal judges.

About Joel McHale

Joel McHale on Crime Scene Kitchen

As the engaging host of “Crime Scene Kitchen,” Joel McHale doesn’t have a lot of food experience but makes up for it with his enthusiasm for the subject matter, humor, and varied broadcast experience as an actor, comedian, and television host. He is best known for his starring role on the hit comedy series “Community.” He can currently be seen as host of “Card Sharks,” and he co-hosts the podcast “The Darkest Timeline” with his fellow “Community” co-star Ken Jeong.

Said McHale, when it was announced that he would take the helm at “Crime Scene Kitchen:” “Hosting a show where bakers try to figure out and then duplicate a dessert from just crumbs, crusty whisks, and a soiled electric mixer seems like a lot of fun and reminds me of college. Can’t wait. I’ve already picked out my apron. It’s leather.”

About Curtis Stone

Curtis Stone on Crime Scene Kitchen

Based in Los Angeles, Curtis Stone is a Michelin-starred chef, restaurant owner, author, and culinary entrepreneur. He started cooking at the Savoy Hotel’s five-star restaurant in Melbourne, Australia, before going to Europe at age 21, receiving classical culinary training under famous chef Marco Pierre White. 

After opening a celebrated restaurant in Beverly Hills, Stone, in partnership with his brother, Luke Stone, opened Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant in Hollywood, and then went on to open Georgie in Dallas, and a pop-up, The Pie Room by Gwen. He also operates Curtis Stone Events in Los Angeles and has appeared in a variety of shows, including “Take Home Chef,” “Top Chef Masters,” and the Emmy-nominated “Top Chef Junior.”

About Yolanda Gampp

Yolanda Gampp on Crime Scene Kitchen

Known as the “Beyonce Of Cakes,” Yolanda Gampp is a self-taught cake artist with more than 20 years of experience. She also entertains half a billion viewers on YouTube. With a quirky, engaging personality, Yolanda is known for being able to turn just about any item into cake. She has also acted as a judge on “Cake Wars,” “Best Baker In America,” and “Nailed It.”

Gampp is the co-founder of How To Cake It, a content commerce company that boasts more than 12 million people in its community. Her bona fides include a best-selling baking book and courses that she conducts taken by some 80,000 people.

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Heather Reinblatt

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV