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  • Writer's pictureLoren Javier

REVIEW: Shop Class & Be Our Chef

Let's take a look at two of the unscripted shows airing on Disney+ - Shop Class & Be Our Chef.

Today, Disney+ aired the finale of Shop Class, its show in which young contestants, along with their mentors, compete against each other to build unique creations.

Hosted by Justin Long (Alvin and the Chipmunks, Alpha and Omega), the builders are given the materials they need to create cool things such as miniature golf courses, skating parks and adventure pods. Teams are built of two students and one veteran shop class mentor. The contestants are then judged by a panel of judges, including regular judges interior designer Lauren Makk and architect Brooks Atwood as well as a guest judge from Walt Disney Imagineering.

When I first heard of this show, I didn't think I would watch it. I'm not much of a handy person and I didn't take shop class in school. But, I decided to watch it on a whim and I have to say that I have really enjoyed the series. Maybe its due to my sudden fascination with watching HGTV.

But, really, it's because what the kids create are pretty impressive. I could never build anything like this. I like how the show encourages ingenuity and thinking outside of the box. And, it fosters teamwork not only among peers but with their adult mentors as well. The show might not be for everybody, but, if you find yourself wanting to be inspired for half an hour, do give this show a try. There are only eight episodes, so the investment is not great. But, I have a feeling you will not be disappointed.

I wish I could say the same about Disney+'s cooking competition Be Our Chef. While it has similar attributes to Shop Class as it has inspirational youth doing great things, it feels a little hard to get through episodes.

Angela Kinsley (The Office) hosts this show that pits two families against each other. Each episode, they are tasked with creating a dish inspired by a Disney character such as Mulan or the Alice in Wonderland character. While I am a fan of Kinsley, I think she tries too hard as host and she comes across as cloyingly saccharine. I get that it's a family friendly show, but, I think there's a fine line to walk.

Aside from Kinsley as host, the show seems remarkably short and we see very little of the actual cooking. I am impressed that the teams almost always seem to be lead by one of the kids, but I would like to see more. It feels like one moment the show has started and the next minute the show is being judged by one of Disney's master class chefs. I think ultimately more successful is Disney's British cooking competition First Class Chefs: Family Style. While the show moves along at a similar pace, the judges don't talk down to the contestants.

Be Our Chef is half way through the series, so there is still time to catch up before the finale.

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