Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

If you love culinary catastrophes, backstabbing guests and a gravy-boatload of judgment, you've been in luck this fall with not one, but two dinner-party competition reality shows. But which one should you watch? We asked Amy Hosking, series producer for Come Dine With Me Canada, and Joe Houlihan, executive vice-president of programming at Cineflix, which produces Dinner Party Wars, to make their cases.

COME DINE WITH ME CANADA

THE COMPETITION

Story continues below advertisement

Following the format of the hit British series, it pits five strangers against each other over the course of five episodes for an $1,000 cash prize. Each takes a turn at hosting, while the others scrutinize and dish out the scores.

ON OUR FASCINATION WITH DINNER PARTIES

"People are eating at home more and they're entertaining at home more. And with Top Chef and Hell's Kitchen, there's a lot of chef shows out there. And I think that's sort of over: We don't want to see how Gordon Ramsay does it - we want to see how Joe Blow does it."

ON WHY MY SHOW IS BETTER

"This is the original. We're not reinventing the wheel or trying to be a good imitation. If people do like Dinner Party Wars, then they're going to love Come Dine With Me. And if you don't like Dinner Party Wars, you're still going to love Come Dine With Me."

ON JUDGING

"It's not experts judging people, it's the participants - the dinner-party hosts - judging each other, as you do at a dinner party, right? I think it feels more honest. A lot of times when you put experts there, they just want to find something to trash, just to justify that they're there."

Story continues below advertisement

ON TREACHEROUS GUESTS

"Canadians are liars. They'll sit at the table and say how great things are, and then they'll turn around in their confessionals and [reveal they are actually]horrified."

ON THE WORST DINNER-PARTY FAUX PAS

"We had one woman on the show who started drinking heavily around noon, and was - there's no polite way of saying this - polluted by the time her guests showed up, really drunk, stumbling all over the place. I think it's okay to have one drink before your guests show up, but that's it."

ON THE BEST DINNER PARTY

"Dinner parties that are the most successful happen when the hosts can sit down at the table and they can socialize, they can have a conversation and they're not 100-per-cent focused on food. This is where people get tripped up. They'll think, 'Oh, it's all about food. I have the best food.' It's not. It's about the best atmosphere, making people feel welcome, having your home presentable. It's about fun."

Story continues below advertisement

Versus

DINNER PARTY WARS

THE COMPETITION

Three couples host each other within the span of an episode, while Holt Renfrew executive chef Corbin Tomaszeski and etiquette expert Anthea Turner rate their performances. The victors win bragging rights and $1,000 in cookware.

ON OUR FASCINATION WITH DINNER PARTIES

"We all think we can throw a dinner party and we all secretly think that we're probably quite good at it. I think when you bring people together who, in their different ways, all think they're doing something right, the tension and the fault lines that [are exposed]make good TV."

Story continues below advertisement

ON WHY MY SHOW IS BETTER

"I'd say Dinner Party Wars is really a show where the food is central. It's all about the food, and the behaviour and all the other side of it comes out of the core starting point of trying to cook an amazing meal."

ON JUDGING

"Having a top chef like Corbin Tomaszeski and Anthea Turner tasting the food - they are giving us that expert opinion. For those of us at home watching, who are planning our next dinner party, we can get a lot of dos and don'ts."

ON TREACHEROUS GUESTS

"There's an extraordinary [episode]in the first series where one of the guests pretended to faint just to throw the hosts off their stride. And she happily admitted to this."

Story continues below advertisement

ON THE WORST DINNER-PARTY FAUX PAS

"One woman turned up with a bottle of vodka in her bag and then proceeded to hit on the husband's wife. Then there's the culinary faux pas, like serving live shrimp. So when the guests lift off the cover of their plate, there's a shrimp twitching for its poor little life on the plate."

ON THE BEST DINNER PARTY

"The best thing is often presenting a really simple meal that's beautifully presented on a plate. But we have had people plan Ping-Pong games for the middle of a meal, so they're really trying to provide an entertaining evening. We've had them doing a belly-dancing evening, which was spectacular and great fun. So, yeah, I guess doing a belly-dancing evening - that would get a tick in my book."

These interviews have been edited and condensed.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies