Al Roker, TODAY’s iconic weather forecaster, gathered 70 chefs from across the US, Spain, and London on a Zoom call to set a world record and raise awareness and funds for hunger relief in the US and worldwide.
This year’s installment of Rokerthon, also dubbed the “Great American Sandwich Relay,” aimed to smash the record for the most people in an online sandwich making relay while engaging viewers and importantly, benefiting two organizations- World Central Kitchen and Feeding America.
World Central Kitchen provides meals to communities suffering from natural disasters and pandemics while strengthening them and Feeding America’s nationwide network of food banks aids in hunger relief in the US.
As part of the guidelines for the title, the chefs needed to prepare sandwiches that incorporated two pieces of bread, at least two traditional or classic ingredients, plus condiments.
The minimum to achieve the record was 50 participants. The caveat was that each of the chefs needed to spend their time preparing and completing a sandwich that met these requirements before they could move on to the next chef, with only 60 seconds to complete the handoff during the virtual call.
On Thursday, 6 August 2020, Al started the Zoom call with Michael Empric, an official adjudicator, to learn more about the guidelines. To kick off the relay, Al then spoke with Founder of World Central Kitchen, chef José Andrés, as he called from Southern Spain to talk about his foundation and prepare a sandwich as a tribute to the Southern Spain town he’s currently residing in.
Michael watched as the culinary guests prepared mouthwatering sandwiches in 3 minute blocks. Al seamlessly panned from one Zoom call to another featuring celebrity chefs and friends such as Bobby Flay, Sandra Lee, Andrew Zimmern, Priya Krishna, Lidia Bastianich, Natalie Morales, Ching-He Huang, Curtis Stone, Marcus Samuelsson, and many others.
Check out their record-breaking recipes here.
The entire attempt aired lived on Today’s streaming channel, Today.com/AllDay, and NBCUniversal’s new app, Peacock.
Al’s final chef was a familiar face- his son and budding chef, Nick. Both father and son enjoyed his sandwich of bacon lettuce tomato with candied bacon to commemorate the end of the attempt.
After five hours and 69 chefs, our adjudicator Michael was the last to appear on the call with Al to deliver the verdict- Al and friends had successfully achieved the title!
With this latest attempt, Al adds another record to his growing roster of history-making Rokerthons. During his first Rokerthon in 2014, Al achieved the world’s Longest uninterrupted live TV weather report in 34 hours. In 2015, his speedy forecasting brought him the title for the Fastest time to report a weather forecast in all 50 US states, in a whopping seven days and 18 minutes. The most recent Rokerthon in 2017 featured Al and colleges throughout the US and achieved five record titles in five days.
We can’t wait to see which record title Al goes for next!