Casey Webb is the hero that we do not deserve. Since taking over the reins as host of the hit Travel Channel show “Man v. Food” from former host Adam Richman, Webb has traveled the country in order to dominate various food challenges at some of the best restaurants both in our big cities and off the beaten path. The fourth season of the show’s current incarnation will be premiering tonight on its new home, Cooking Channel, at 10 p.m. ET. I spoke with Webb to find out what it’s like preparing for each season, and which have been the most difficult — and most delicious — challenges he has faced thus far.
"I say this a lot, it’s like 'Any Given Sunday.' Anything can happen, whether you prepare or not," - Casey Webb, Man v. Food
Casey Webb. Photo: Getty Images
What is your preparation like heading into each season of the show?
Casey Webb: As an adult — I guess I could call myself an adult, or some people consider me an adult based on when I was born — getting into the actual show, it was right out of the gate. So the same production company, Sharp Entertainment, brought the show back and I was in good hands. I just basically held on! The first season, it happened so fast. We did three episodes in a row, which is a lot to do. That’s back-to-back on the road. We did that on and off, and then in the second season, we did that a little bit, too. Then we realized we should probably slow our flow a little bit and maybe get two episodes in and then give [everyone] a break, whether it’s production and the camera crew or myself because of all of the challenges themselves and traveling. We found a really great rhythm with momentum, believe it or not. Preparing for it, it’s all of us. We’re always checking in and making sure we’re getting some exercise in and that we’re eating well. But then we also want to cheat. We have cheat days sometimes! Or cheat months [laughs]. It’s really about being mindful and being present and being in-tune and listening to yourself and your body. With anything in life, especially if you’re on the road a lot and you’re in restaurants around the country. Because, to be honest, restaurant food is very savory and sweet. That’s what we love about going out to eat! Sometimes you have to dial back and eat cleaner, better, and eat lighter. I’ve done that my whole life. I’ve also fluctuated in life, that’s just how my body is. I’ve taken on the responsibility of being more mindful when I’m off the road, and while I’m on the road. Again, food can be much fattier, much sweeter and much saltier in restaurants, unless you’re making it for yourself. Thankfully, we have a lot of options out there. People are eating a lot cleaner these days. In airports, in small cities, in major cities. It’s been really great. I’ve been able to find more balance.
What challenge was the hardest to bounce back from? Is there one that sticks out in your mind as being the most difficult?
Casey Webb: Sometimes you’re tapping out! Sometimes food is going to win. I say this a lot, it’s like “Any Given Sunday.” Anything can happen, whether you prepare or not, very much like a sporting event. And that’s how I look at it and that’s how I approach it because I have to put myself in a different mindset. Anyone that does any sort of challenge, whether it’s food or something physically rigorous [does the same]. We just wrapped on 10 episodes in the fourth season. But, it’s the biggest order to date because we are doing 20! I’m doing 10 more up until September. So we’re still very much in the fourth season. So the hardest challenge to date? I don’t think I’ve done it yet [laughs]. I kid, but I think honestly, they’re all hard in their own way. Whether it be “huge” or “hot,” because I’m doing hot stuff as well as the big stuff. Anybody that tells you who is playing this game, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Sometimes there are a lot more carbohydrates and bread or fillings that are going to take over and dominate, whether they be 4 pounds or 2 pounds. And then with the hot stuff, it can range from the mildest pepper, a jalapeno, to a Carolina Reaper. I think they’re all difficult in their own way and they deserve the respect that they do. When you’re full with the larger stuff, I just stop eating. With the hot stuff, it stays in your system. I would lean towards the hotter stuff if I had to make a decision, but they’re all difficult.
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What’s one that you would do off camera?
Casey Webb: If I wasn’t being filmed and timed? Then, uh, yeah! Oftentimes, these challenges are timed. I would say, adding to the answer to your [previous] question, the longer ones, the hour-long ones, tend to be larger. Those tend to be the hardest, I’d say. Because an hour is an excruciating amount of time to do anything, especially sit and eat. After half an hour, I’m done [laughs]. But honestly, everything tastes great. … The beauty about it is they’re crafted well. They’re full of flavor and they’re the food you crave. They just happen to be really, really big or really, really hot. It’s in the extremes that these challenges develop. Honestly, the majority of them! It’s like, “I could eat this, in small quantities” or “I could eat this if it wasn’t so hot.”
Make sure to catch the season 4 premiere of Man V. Food with Casey Webb tonight at 10 pm on Cooking Channel.