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[03/06/13 - 08:50 AM]
E! Turns Up the Heat on New York's Culinary Scene When "Playing with Fire" Debuts Sunday, March 17 at 10:00PM ET/PT
Candice Kumai, Daniel & Derek Koch, Anna Boiardi and Julie Elkind star in the series, which also feature appearances by Jennifer Esposito and Todd English.

[via press release from E!]

E! TURNS UP THE HEAT ON NEW YORK'S CULINARY SCENE WHEN "PLAYING WITH FIRE" debuts SUNDAY, MARCH 17 at 10:00PM ET/PT

Series Focuses on the Dynamic Personal Lives and High-Powered Careers of Chef/Author Candice Kumai, Tastemakers/Restaurateurs Daniel & Derek Koch, Chef/Boyardee Brand Ambassador/Author Anna Boiardi and Executive Pastry Chef Julie Elkind

Actress/Baking Connoisseur Jennifer Esposito and Celebrity Chef/Restaurateur Todd English Make Guest Appearances

Los Angeles, CA, March 6, 2013 - E! Entertainment's newest series focuses on the tastemakers of New York's culinary scene, who (literally) rub elbows with Manhattan's movers and shakers and are at the epicenter of the city's nightlife. The stakes are high for these incredibly driven individuals, who make their own rules and work tirelessly in an effort to achieve long term success. However, honing in on their careers with a laser-like intensity often wreaks havoc on their personal lives. Playing with Fire premieres Sunday, March 17 at 10:00 PM ET/PT, only on E!

The series features Candice Kumai, a sexy California girl, author, and former Top Chef competitor who aims to keep foodies' waistlines trim with her calorie-conscious cuisine while feeding her desire for a solid romantic relationship; fiery nightlife impresarios-turned-food-entrepreneurs Derek and Daniel Koch who are simultaneously each other's best friends and worst enemies; brand ambassador and cookbook author Anna Boiardi whose sweetness belies her unrelenting passion food, business and family; and the executive pastry chef Julie Elkind, whose delicate desserts reveal nothing about the headstrong young woman who created them. Actress and bakery owner Jennifer Esposito, who lives with Celiac disease and advocates for Gluten-free cooking, will also make appearances in the series, as will celebrity Chef/Restaurateur Todd English.

In the show's premiere episode, the tension is palpable between identical twins Daniel and Derek Koch, best known for their Day & Night Brunch parties. As the brothers prepare for the grand opening of Toy, a high-concept restaurant inside the Meatpacking District's trendy Gansevoort Hotel, Daniel is livid when Derek finally admits they're behind on key elements needed to make the party a success. Meanwhile, the need to put on an amazing opening causes cracks in Derek's relationship with his girlfriend.

Also in the premiere episode, Julie Elkind, Executive Pastry Chef for 25 BLT restaurants, is as tough as her desserts are sweet, and she is a hard-driving boss. She doesn't take kindly to being told what to do by anyone, especially when she has a clear vision in mind for her dessert menu. Julie's not afraid to go up against two other chefs when they insist her instincts are wrong, not even when her boyfriend Kyle gently suggests she change her approach.

The first episode of Playing with Fire also introduces the sweet-natured Anna Boiardi. She teaches old world Italian dishes to 21st century gourmands, has written the cookbook "Delicious Memories," and invites some of New York's most high-profile personalities to exclusive dinner parties at her home. Despite it all, Anna's stubborn mother Angela is skeptical of Anna's newest cooking technique, and Anna has no problem going toe to toe with her to determine who makes the best Bolognese.

World-famous restaurateur Todd English appears in the first episode, as he celebrates his birthday and the 10th anniversary of Olives, his incredibly popular restaurant located in the heart of NYC. When the dinner party is over, the real fun begins with Todd leading the pack in letting loose.

Throughout the season, Playing with Fire illustrates what New York City's food scene is known for - big helpings of high energy and the drive for success, with a side of drama.

Candice Kumai's cookbooks have proven food can be nutritious, delicious and easy to make. Through her writing and television appearances, the former model has established herself as an advocate of healthy eating. In Playing with Fire, Kumai realizes a dream when her second cookbook, "Cook Yourself Sexy," is published and she's tapped to write an article for Men's Health, which doesn't go as planned. Candice is also starting to realize dating in New York takes just as much effort as she's putting forth to be successful in her career.

Identical twins Daniel and Derek Koch started off as models and quickly transitioned to the New York food scene, making a name for themselves with their boutique events and hospitality company, Dual Groupe. Now, they are growing their business by opening permanent locations for their fun Day & Night brunch parties, and opening Toy in one of the city's hottest neighborhoods. However, when the brothers find out they have two weeks to make their restaurant Chateau Cherbuliez profitable, they don't see eye to eye on the best way to accomplish the goal. There's even more drama between the brothers when Daniel starts to date an employee.

Anna Boiardi is an Italian-born, New York socialite whose family's name is prominent in every American supermarket. The granddaughter and niece of the founders of the Chef Boyardee company, is a wife and mother, a the brand ambassador for her family's business. She's making strides by building an empire of her own. In the series, Anna will contemplate spicing up her image for the benefit of her brand, and will work on launching a new business that brings traditional Italian cuisine to today's modern kitchens in a snap.

At just 25-years-of-age, Julie Elkind is already a pastry chef extraordinaire who sees her professional and personal life following a strict path to success that includes being an accomplished kick-boxer who was voted to the top of Zagat's list of 30 Under 30 Hot Chefs in New York. However, her professional life may be inching ahead of life on the home front with her aspiring actor boyfriend Kyle, who's relaxed take on life doesn't mesh well with Julie's Type A personality. While she considers reconnecting with her biological mother and taking her relationship with Kyle to the next level, a crisis at work throws her a curveball.

Jennifer Esposito jumps in to the action with news her mother would rather not hear. As her daughter's biggest fan, her mother is especially proud of Jennifer's acting career, so finding out she will focus more on opening a bakery and less on acting is news the proves hard to take. Jennifer furthers her baking ambitions by linking up with Anna Boiardi to teach a cooking class featuring gluten-free Italian meals.

Playing with Fire is produced by Atlas Media Corp., with Bruce David Klein serving as Executive Producer, Joseph Eardly and Lorri Leighton as Co-Executive Producers.

Click here to find Playing with Fire on Facebook, and here to find the series on Twitter.

About E! Entertainment

E! is television's top global destination for all things pop culture. The network is currently available to 98 million cable and satellite subscribers in the U.S. and E! content is available on all platforms any time and anywhere from E! Online to social media to mobile to VOD to the latest emerging platforms. Popular programming includes E! core franchises, "E! News," "The Soup," "Chelsea Lately," "Fashion Police" and "True Hollywood Story," as well as the network's hit series "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Khloé & Lamar," "Kourtney and Kim Take New York," "Ice Loves Coco" and "After Lately." Additionally, E!'s "Live from the Red Carpet" signature events keep fans connected to their favorite stars on pop culture's biggest nights. E! is a network of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience.

About Atlas Media Corp.

Writer/producer/director Bruce David Klein founded Atlas Media Corp. with a mission to create, produce and distribute innovative television programming. Since then, Atlas has grown into one of the world's leading independent multi-platform producers of non-fiction television series, specials, theatrical documentaries and digital entertainment. For seven years in a row (2006 - 2012), RealScreen magazine has named Atlas to its prestigious annual "Global 100" list of the most influential producers of non-fiction entertainment in the world. Atlas' ratings-grabbing, award-winning productions have become staple programming for U.S. networks such as Discovery Channel, E! Entertainment, Travel Channel, A&E, Spike TV, TLC, TruTV, National Geographic Channel, HGTV, History, Food Network, GSN, WE tv, Investigation Discovery, The Disney Channel, and USA Network, as well as national syndication, DVD/digital entertainment, web channels, and distribution in 100+ markets worldwide. Current projects include: Hotel Impossible (Travel), Evacuate Earth (Nat Geo Channel), Dr G: Medical Examiner (TLC/Discovery Health), Stalked: Someone's Watching (Investigation Discovery). More information can be found at www.atlasmedia.tv





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