Anyone who takes an interest in BBQ or reality TV is likely familiar with the Food Network show, "BBQ Brawl". This cooking show brings up-and-coming pitmasters through a series of unique challenges, resulting in one lucky BBQ chef being crowned Master of 'Cue. Although most of the faces on the show are talented chefs or well-established food personalities like Bobby Flay, there was one outlier: the flamboyant and hilarious judge, Carson Kressley. Who is this entertaining personality and more importantly, what's he doing judging a BBQ cooking contest?
Who is Carson Kressley?
Many fans who watched BBQ Brawl were unsure who this funny, out-there BBQ judge was, since his repertoire doesn't exactly include smoked brisket or racks of ribs. Although he's made a name for himself in the LGBTQ+ and fashion communities, you don't typically see his face on Food Network shows.
Carson Kressley is from Allentown, Pennsylvania, and interestingly enough, his first success was in equestrian events. The fashionista was a member of the U.S. World Cup Saddle Seat equitation team in 1999 and even won a world championship in 2009.
However, as impressive as his equestrian skills are, Kressley is best known for his amazing fashion sense. Kressley is a TV personality and designer who first rose to fame in 2003 when he appeared on the show "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" as a fashion expert. In the show, he won over viewers with his eye for style and bubbly personality.
When the series ended, Kressley went on to host the makeover show "How to Look Good Naked" and "Carson Nation," in which he traveled around the country transforming the fashion sense of small-town America. The fashion expert has also brought his skill to RuPaul's Drag Race, using his discerning eye to judge the drag queens' performances and outfits. In 2018, Kressley reunited with his Queer Eye peer Thom Filicia for the series "Get a Room," which focuses on interior design.
Carson Kressley's Many Talents
Along with being a TV series star, Kressley has starred in multiple movies, from "The Perfect Man" with Hilary Duff to "The Year Without Santa." His talents even extend to the dance floor, as the designer was also a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars," performing with the ballroom dancer Anna Trebunskaya.
Along with being a natural on the screen, Kressley has started multiple fashion lines, giving fans the opportunity to experience his fashion skills without being featured on TV. He has also written a number of self-help books that focus on body confidence and self esteem.
But it still begs the question: What is he doing on BBQ Brawl?
What is a Fashionista Doing on a BBQ Show?
It's impossible to watch BBQ Brawl without getting a big dose of Kressley's facetious personality, from his cringe-worthy puns to his love of cocktails. Although it makes perfect sense that chefs Brooke Williamson and Rodney Scott would be on the panel to evaluate which barbecue dishes, many viewers were confused by the presence of Carson Kressley.
As talented and loveable as he is, he's no chef or foodie. Because of this, viewers have mixed feelings about his being a judge on a food show.
One comment on the Food Network Facebook page says "Yea I mean, he's kind of funny but I'm not sure he's qualified to be on a BBQ competition as a judge? I don't know, he didn't seem very knowledgeable, just interested in the drinks." Another viewer agreed, saying, "Why is he a judge. He knows nothing about BBQ."
However, others appreciate the levity that he brings to the show, which makes the intense or stressful moments easier to watch. On a Reddit thread about the subject, one BBQ Brawl fan says "I love him so much, I would watch him do anything!," while another comments "His judging brings a lighthearted fun to the process and we all need some positivity!"
Another fan goes even further, saying "I adore Carson in pretty much anything he does. He is so sweet and funny while seeing the good in everyone, and he is whip smart with the commentary; he genuinely lights up any room he's in. I haven't caught BBQ brawl but now I may have to!"
Although some BBQ Brawl fans are still on the fence about Carson Kressley's role in the show, these comments shed light on some possible reasons for the decision. The positivity and humor that the designer brings to everything he does is hard to resist, no matter his level of experience on the grill.
Plus, the huge fanbase that he's accrued in the LGBTQ+ and fashion community can only be an extra perk for the Food Network. Whatever the reason, we're not mad about the presence of a hilarious fashionista bringing cheesy puns and less-than-subtle sexual innuendos to an otherwise intense reality TV cooking show.