Meet The 8 Families Competing For $100,000 Prize on ABC's "Family Food Fight"

Family Food Fight judges and contestants
Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless

We're answering all your questions about the competitors on ABC's new show "Family Food Fight."

But first—just in case you're not familiar—here's a quick rundown of when the show is on and what it's about.

When does "Family Food Fight" air?

The show airs Thursdays at 9 PM ET, beginning Thursday, June 20, 2019.

How many episodes of "Family Food Fight" are there?

There are 8 episodes slated to air in Season 1.

Who hosts "Family Food Fight"?

"Family Food Fight" is hosted by Ayesha Curry — restaurateur, New York Times best-selling cookbook author and founder of Homemade, a meal kit service and lifestyle website.

What does the winning family get on "Family Food Fight"?

"Family Food Fight" is a competition-based show that offers eight families the opportunity to prove their culinary prowess and claim the title of "America's No. 1 Food Family." The winning family takes home this coveted title, plus a $100,000 prize.

Who are the judges on "Family Food Fight"?

Host and judge Ayesha Curry is joined by two other renowned chef judges: "Iron Chef" Cat Cora, the first woman inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame, and "Top Chef" judge Graham Elliot, who has been awarded 2 Michelin stars.

How are the dishes judged?

There are three main criteria for judging: technique, presentation and taste.

"I am French classically trained, so I'm a stickler for technique," Cat tells the families.

"I am looking not just for flavor — I want to know who you are when I look at that plate and when I taste something," Graham explains.

"The family that cooks together, stays together — and I am a firm believer in that," Ayesha says.

Who are the competitors on "Family Food Fight"?

The show starts with eight teams of home cooks competing for the title. Each team consists of 3 family members. The teams have a chance to show off their unique style and share their best family recipes through a series of timed challenges and elimination rounds.

Without further ado, meet the 8 families who will be facing off:


The Graves Family
ABC/Eric McCandless

Hometown: Santa Rosa, California

Members: Twin brothers, Kris and Mike (41) and their younger brother, DJ (34)

Day Jobs: Kris is a firefighter and an actor, Mike is a sales manager, and DJ works in banking.

How They Learned to Cook: The brothers "learned to whip up impressive weekly dinners for 10 to two dozen family [members] while their mother, Patti, battled cancer," according to The Press Democrat.

Specialty: Mom's homestyle cooking

Claim to Fame: Kris and Mike won $10,000 on the Season 2 "Firehouse Cooks" episode of Food Network's "24 Hour Restaurant Battle" in 2011.

The winnings were used to establish The Mama Bear Foundation in Patti's honor, to support families coping with cancer, The Press Democrat reports.

All three brothers also competed on "Family Feud" in 2015, along with their cousin, Lesley, and Kris's wife, Leasa.

In Their Own Words: "When we first lost [our] mom, I think we rode in completely opposite directions," DJ says in the series premiere. "And through cooking, we have come back closer and tighter together. She would be ecstatic and more than proud to see all of us doing what we're doing."


The Lee Family
ABC/Eric McCandless

Hometown: San Francisco, California

Members: Mom, Meily (55), and her daughters, Victoria (27) and Amanda (31)

Day Jobs: Victoria is an office manager and Amanda works in sales.

How They Learned To Cook: Meily made traditional family recipes — passed down from her mother — for daughters Victoria and Amanda.

Specialty: Chinese fusion

Claim to Fame: Mama Lee's American dream is to open a Chinese fusion bakery, because she believes the best way to share your culture is through food.

In Their Own Words: "My mom immigrated to America in the '70s, and when she had children and became a single mom, she sacrificed her whole life to help achieve our own dreams," Amanda says. "So now we're here to help her achieve her dream."


The Lenzi Family
ABC/Eric McCandless

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Members: EJ Lenzi (57), his wife, Toni (55), and their daughter, Gabbie (33)

Day Jobs: EJ owns two restaurants on Chicago's North Shore, one of which Gabbie helps manage, and Toni owns a floral design company.

How They Learned to Cook: EJ's late grandfather, Eugene (Gene) Michelotti, was famous for his steakhouse Gene & Georgetti, where EJ worked for many years, according to The Chicago Tribune.

However, EJ isn't formally trained, Gabbie tells the Tribune, and Gabbie taught herself how to cook in college by watching food shows on TV.

Specialty: Italian cuisine

Claim to Fame: In addition to his restaurant background, dad EJ is also a former professional race car driver.

In Their Own Words: "[I'm] half Irish, half Italian," Gabbie says.

"But all trouble," Toni adds.


The Livanos Family
ABC/Eric McCandless

Hometown: Armonk, New York

Members: Mom Lorena Livanos (57), and her sons, Johnny (29) and Enrico (26)

Day Jobs: Johnny and Enrico manage Ousia, the Livanos Restaurant Group's latest concept located on Manhattan's West Side.

How They Learned To Cook: Despite being born into the restaurant business, Johnny and Enrico rarely went out to dinner growing up.

"Mom was always making us home-cooked meals and we ate together as a family," Johnny tells The Journal News.

Specialty: Greek, Italian and Mediterranean cooking

Claim to Fame: Lorena's husband, Nick, is the oldest son of Livanos Restaurant Group founder John Livanos. Nick oversees the business of all six Livanos restaurants in New York.

In Their Own Words: "My husband's Greek, and I am very Italian," Lorena says.

"We spent our childhood surrounded by food," Johnny adds.


The Maniya Family
ABC/Eric McCandless

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Members: Sisters-in-law Fatima (33), Azeema (34), and Kiran (40)

Day Jobs: Fatima is a food blogger and cosmetologist, Azeema is a stay-at-home mom, and Kiran is a business owner.

How They Learned to Cook: The women learned how to make traditional Pakistani food from their family members growing up, first in Pakistan and later in the U.S.

"Because of our dietary restrictions we cook everything," they explain. "We can't eat out at restaurants. We follow a Zabiha Halal diet."

Specialty: Pakistani and Indian cuisines

Claim to Fame: Fatima is a food blogger and influencer. She shares original recipes on her blog and social media accounts.

In Their Own Words: "We all live within two miles of each other," Fatima says. "Our kids are growing up together."


The Min Family
ABC/Eric McCandless

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Members: Twin brothers, Jason and Mike (32), and their younger brother, Alex (27)

Day Jobs: Jason is a graphic designer, Mike is a computer scientist, and Alex is an entrepreneur.

How They Learned to Cook: The boys' mom taught them how to make many of the traditional Korean dishes they ate growing up.

Specialty: Korean cuisine

Claim to Fame: As a family, the boys like to cook Asian cuisine — Korean, Japanese, Thai and Indian. "We celebrate Chusoek (Korean Thanksgiving) and Lunar New Year; these are occasions for our family to get together to feast and honor our dead family members and ancestors," they say. "We often cater Indian cuisine for our gatherings, as our family LOVES Indian food."

In Their Own Words: "I'm the creative one, Mike's the techie one and Alex is the sexy one," Jason says with a laugh.


The Nichols Family
ABC/Eric McCandless

Hometown: Paulding County, Georgia

Members: Tammy Nichols (50), her husband, Chris (53) and her younger brother, Eddie (47)

Day Jobs: Eddie owns a general contracting company, Chris is a retired school administrator, teacher and football coach, and Tammy is a retired project architect, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

How They Learned to Cook: Tammy and Eddie were raised in the country, on a hundred-acre farm where they grew a lot of food. The siblings say they were cooking with their mom since they were kids.

"We came out here to make our mama proud," Tammy says, "because everybody in our county knew how good of a cook she was, and we want to pass on the tradition."

Specialty: Southern-style cooking

Claim to Fame: Tammy's YouTube channel, "Collard Valley Cooks," has over 39,000 subscribers.

Tammy was approached by the "Family Food Fight" producers after they saw her Southern cooking-themed videos, the Marietta Daily Journal reports.

In Their Own Words: "When we grew up, we didn't really use recipes at all," Tammy says.

"You taste it and you figure out if you need something else," Eddie adds.


The White Family
ABC/Eric McCandless

Hometown: Texarkana, Arkansas

Members: Cousins Shayla (41), Tan (28) and Darlena (65)

Day Jobs: Shayla ran a restaurant, Shayla's Kitchen, for four years, Tan works in retail, and Darlena has a background in counseling.

How They Learned To Cook: The cousins are self-taught chefs with no formal training. Some of their recipes were passed down by other family members, like Shayla's grandmother.

Specialty: Traditional soul food

Claim to Fame: Shayla was a competitor in the 2014 "Grilled Desserts" episode of "Home Chef Showdown" on Live Well Network.

In Their Own Words: "When we cook, family love to gather around," Shayla says. "In-laws and out-laws … bunch in like a can of sardines."

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