One of the more intriguing subplots following ESPN’s wave of layoffs this past April was the landing spots for some of the on-air personalities who were let go. Perhaps the most interesting was former SportsCenter anchor Jaymee Sire going to Food Network to become the floor reporter for its new Iron Chef Showdown program.

In an interview for the October issue of Athleisure magazine, Sire talks about the move to Food Network and her interest in food going back to 2011, when she started her blog, E is For Eat, while working at CSN Bay Area. While she was obviously disappointed to be among the 100 layoffs, Sire took the opportunity to pursue her interests in food and travel for her next gig. But her experience in sports prepared her more for Iron Chef Showdown than she may have initially realized.

“Working in the food space is a dream come true for me, and while it’s much different from sports, in some respects, it’s also very similar in others. My role on ICS reminds me a lot of doing sidelines for a football game. I’m responsible for doing my research, knowing the storylines, quickly getting in and out for an interview, reporting my findings to Alton (Brown), and keeping an eye out for action happening on the floor.”

Sire adds that the competition between the chefs and Brown essentially doing play-by-play of the dishes they’re preparing for judges makes for the ideal transition from sports to food. As she explains, the cooking competition really does take place within the span of one hour (though other parts of the show take longer to shoot) and makes the experience feel like live TV, which is what she’s been accustomed to during her broadcasting career.

The conversation largely covers food, such as favorite entrees made on Iron Chef Showdown and her ideal Thanksgiving dishes. (The premiere episode will be Thankgsiving-themed.) But Sire also mentions that she wants her career to continue in the food space and is hoping to develop other food and travel shows on her own. Very few are fortunate enough to combine personal interests with a career, so it’s great to see Sire making the best of what had to be a difficult situation and pursuing that opportunity.

Iron Chef Showdown premieres on Food Network this coming Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 9 p.m. ET.


About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.