If your idea of being a bit daring with food is leaving the gherkin in your burger, then brace yourself for Adam Richman. In Man v. Food, he subjects his poor, helpless mouth to serious food-orientated abuse, all for our viewing pleasure. We're talking epic food challenges that are either insanely hot or insanely massive, or both. So just who is this Adam Richman, and what the hell is he doing all this for anyway?
Well, he's an actor who's worked on shows like Law & Order, as well as All My Children, Guiding Light and other US shows we've never heard of, but shall snobbishly assume are cheesier than one of the tacos on Man v. Food. Luckily for us, his acting has since taken second place to his first obsession: grub. The man's a proper foodie and a trained sushi chef, but Man v. Food is unlike any culinary programme you'll ever have seen before. It follows Adam as he travels back and forth across the States on a mad odyssey, stopping at various restaurants to tackle their food challenges. He also explores regional "delicacies", which range from the funny to the freakish.
There are some pretty iconic sights along the way. He travels down the famous Route 66 to tuck into the "burger from hell", as well as visiting the scarily named Big Texan Steak Ranch to sink his teeth into a slab of beef weighing no less than 2 kilos. Which by the way comes with a jacket potato, beans and prawn cocktail on the side. In Memphis he has a go at the notorious Elvis sandwich – that's bread stuffed with thick slices of banana, chunky peanut butter and sizzling bacon. And people wonder why the King died young.
There are some hilariously Homer Simpsonish attractions to behold – such as the eat-till-you-drop sausage buffet in Ohio. Yes, that's right: a sausage buffet. But even that pales in comparison to the "Carnivore Challenge Pizza", which measures 30 inches and is heaving with chunks of just about every animal that has ever graced a pizza. This bread-based Everest can only be served to two people, and the challenge is lost when Adam's eating partner throws messily up.
One of the most painful parts of the show involves the Brick Lane Curry House. No, it's not in London. It's actually one of New York City's most famous Indian restaurants, and anyone who eats one of their P'haals gets their face on their website. P'haal, as you no doubt know, is the hottest curry ever made. If you cut open a nuclear reactor and scooped out the insides, it's basically P'haal. The owner of the restaurant warns Adam that their creation has made diners literally bleed, and things get even scarier when Adam enters the kitchen to find the chef preparing the curry while wearing a gas mask. Even smelling it being made is, in Adam's words, like "swallowing a porcupine". Something tells us a bottle of Kingfisher isn't going to be quite enough to wash this particular dish away.
Elsewhere in the series Adam also tries "hellfire sushi", but the series isn't just about savoury nightmares. There are sweet ones too – like the sundae he discovers in Long Island which is called The World and is made up of 30 (yes, 30) scoops of ice cream swathed in caramel sauce, hot fudge, melted marshmallow and – heck, why not? – bits of Belgian waffle. Even John Prescott would balk at eating that. Adam? He can't wait to tuck in…