In a world where time seems scarce for work, leisure, and cooking, many of us turn to television. Food shows become our source of culinary inspiration, teaching us recipes, introducing us to global cuisines through travel, and showing top chefs in cutthroat competitions. They have become an integral part of a foodie’s media consumption. They allow us to live vicariously through the plates of others. The best competitive cooking shows are not just entertainment, but also inspiration and lessons for chefs. Everyone will find benefit in them.
Most Popular Cooking Shows
#1 Top Chef
The reality show “Fast Foodies” premiered in 2021 and was renewed for a second season in 2022. Hosted by well-known chefs Jeremy Ford, Kristen Kish, and Justin Sutherland, each episode showcases their attempts to recreate a celebrity guest’s favorite fast food with creative twists. The competition consists of three rounds, including a “copycat round” where chefs strive to replicate the guest’s preferred dish, and a “remix round” where they put their spin on it while facing challenges from their rivals.
The winner is awarded the coveted “championship” trophy, while the losers endure minor penalties, like consuming a unique mixture of ingredients. The show’s appeal lies in discovering celebrities’ fast food indulgences, such as actor Joel McHale’s love for Portillo’s Chicago-style hot dog, and adding a touch of amusement. “Fast Foodies” is a light-hearted series that guarantees quick laughs and minimal commitment.
#2 Pressure Cooker
This show sets top chefs against each other, falling somewhere between Real World and Iron Chef. However, there’s a twist: the chefs also act as judges. This setup leads to numerous sub-plots, as the whole cast can cook. It raises questions about alliances and winning over the crowd. As a viewer, you experience the bustling kitchen of a busy restaurant, witnessing drama unfold – from undercooked steaks to egos bigger than the recipe.
#3 Next Level Chef
Next Level Chef, the cooking competition series produced by Studio Ramsay Global and FOX Alternative Entertainment, set a new record with its Season Two premiere. The post-Super Bowl LVII episode attracted a staggering 15.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched cooking series in TV history. With an impressive Live + Same Day rating of 4.9 among Adults 18-49, Next Level Chef secured the title of television’s highest-rated and most-watched unscripted Season Two premiere in 11 years, as well as the highest-rated entertainment telecast in two years.
Another question is where to watch cooking shows. It all depends on the specific show, so Next Level Chef streaming is available on several streaming services. Here is a list of where to watch Next Level Chef without cable. Moreover, not all services allow you to watch shows just like that, or rather not for everyone. But with the free trial of VeePN, you can overcome these restrictions.
#4 30 Minute Meals
Rachael Ray, a celebrity chef known for her grounded demeanor, embodies a relatable friend and neighbor. Her show “30 Minute Meals” showcases her practical approach, offering complete meals prepared and served in under half an hour. In today’s fast-paced world, where time is limited, it’s genuinely beneficial to have a repertoire of quick and delicious recipes at your fingertips.
#5 Best in Dough
Competitive food shows rarely focus on beverages, but “Drink Masters” aims to fill that void. Contestants will showcase their mixology skills each week, crafting extraordinary alcoholic beverages that go beyond ordinary martinis and Long Island iced teas. With a $100,000 prize and the coveted title of “Ultimate Drink Master” at stake, host Tone Bell, along with a panel of judges, keeps viewers engaged and entertained with his quick wit and sense of humor.
For beginners exploring the world of mixology, “Drink Masters” explores how culinary ingredients, typically associated with food rather than drinks, have become prevalent in the craft of mixology. The show highlights the use of fruits, botanicals, and themed weeks, similar to traditional cooking shows. According to Reality Blurred, “Drink Masters” blurs the boundary between simply shaking a drink and turning mixology into an exquisite art worthy of celebration.
The television show, Chopped, hosted by Ted Allen, closely resembles Top Chef in terms of its series format, but it operates at a faster pace. In every episode, four chefs compete in a three-round contest, during which they must cook and plate an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert. A panel of three judges evaluates and scores each chef’s overall performance to determine the winner of the $10,000 prize at the competition’s conclusion. Naturally, the competition throws plenty of unpredictable challenges at the chefs, testing their ability to think creatively and act swiftly. Chopped is available on Hulu in the US, if you’re from another region, use VeePN to change your location. You just need to connect to a VPN server in the USA.
#7 Hell’s Kitchen
The sheer presence of the remarkable chef, Gordon Ramsay, gracing the screen every week is a delight. Moreover, witnessing chefs excel in high-pressure situations is truly captivating. If you can effectively handle the intensity while Ramsay shouts at you, there’s no limit to what you can achieve. This sentiment is shared by Kristen Ashley, chef-owner of Cleo’s Southern Cuisine in Chicago. It provides an authentic glimpse into the daily life of a chef and demonstrates how to execute a bustling service under immense pressure.
#8 Cooks vs. Cons
Competitive cooking shows that stand out usually feature a unique premise or hook. Cooks vs. Cons revolves around guessing the credentials of the competitors, differentiating between professional chefs and hobbyists. The excitement and surprise come from witnessing a side cook outshine a professional by the end of an episode.
TV used to have only a few cooking shows featuring great chefs such as Julia Child, Martin Yan, and Jacques Pepin, who paved the way for the abundance of food shows in the past 30 years. Many food enthusiasts and culinary experts openly confess that their love for cooking originated from watching television. However, with the overwhelming number of cooking shows available today, selecting the ones to watch can pose a challenge. Start your journey with the cooking shows listed above – it will be the right choice.