Contestants Deconstruct Mexican Takeout on Netflix Cooking Show ‘Best Leftovers Ever!’

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
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On Netflix’s upcoming cooking reality TV show Best Leftovers Ever!, contestants are challenged to take leftover meals and transform them into original culinary masterpieces.

For example, in one episode, chefs are given healthy food leftovers like cauliflower rice, veggie salad and stuffed avocados and asked to rework the ingredients to make comfort foods like tostadas and curry. In another episode, contestants take holiday leftovers like glazed ham, green bean casserole and apple pie to make gourmet sandwiches.

During episode 7, “Fiesta Feast,” the three chefs are handed Mexican food takeout and sent into the kitchen to create a “fancy dinner” in one hour. The Mexican dishes included green chili and cheese tamales, carne asada tacos, chicken enchiladas and rice and beans.

Right from the start, contestant Stefanie Sysounthone, an event designer, hoped that she wasn’t assigned the tamales. “How do you pull out flavors and reinvent it and make something completely brand new that…doesn’t taste like a tamale?” she wondered. Unsurprisingly, she got the tamales.

Contestant Shawn Niles, a pastor and executive chef, landed the enchiladas. “This thing is covered in sauce,” Niles says. “What am I going to do so that when the judges bite into this, they’re’ not tasting Mexican food?”

Receiving the tacos was contestant and bartender Anthony Langston. “I’m thinking Mexican takeout is going to be very difficult to repurpose,” he says. “Those flavors are really strong.”

We won’t tell you who won the cookoff, but anyone who can take leftover Mexican food and turn it into something like a Chinese pancake definitely has some skills in the kitchen.

Still, one could argue that the best way to makeover leftover carne asada street tacos is to just add more salsa verde and call it a day.

Best Leftovers Ever! premieres on Netflix Dec. 30.