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Cooking shows and cooking competitions exist on a broad spectrum, from high stakes, high octane kitchen showdowns, to relaxing, wholesome wanders through the culinary landscape. In particular, cooking shows can be about almost anything, from the creation of fantastical food displays, to the most economical use of ingredients and time, to heartfelt discussions about the nature of culinary identity and culinary diaspora.
If you’ve finished up your rewatch of Cutthroat Kitchen and you’re looking to explore new cooking adventures, you’ve come to the right place. We rounded up a group of excellent cooking programs, from the irreverent to the extremely chaotic.
1. The Great British Baking Show
There is nothing more wholesome than The Great British Baking Show, and simultaneously nothing more stressful (we all recall #Bingate). Bringing together home bakers from across England for a series of competitive baking challenges, The Great British Baking Show combines whimsy, passion, and skill into a winning series. Hosted by Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas, the most recent season of The Great British Baking Show is available on Netflix, along with many of the previous seasons.
2. Nailed It!
Nicole Byer is one of the best hosts on television, bringing a level of chaos and brilliance to Netflix’s Nailed It! that makes the show a must-watch. Similar to The Great British Baking Show, Nailed It! brings together a group of home bakers, with a catch—not too many of the home bakers consider themselves to be “good” at baking. Throughout each episode the bakers compete to recreate masterful confections and are judged for their accuracy in recreating each item by Byer, famous chocolatier Jacques Torres, and a special guest.
3. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Anthony Bourdain’s impact on the world of food, food journalism, and cooking cannot be denied. His devotion to highlighting cuisine from every culture and eating in an exploratory way lingers in popular series today, and No Reservations is an ode to exploring the cooking of other cultures. You can catch two seasons of the hit series on Hulu.
Perhaps the gold standard of cooking competition series, Chopped is a Food Network cooking classic that allows chefs from across the country to test their skills against one another in several rounds of culinary challenges involving special ingredients, all with the goal of impressing a panel of high-profile chefs and critics. Ted Allen hosts the series, which can be found on Discovery+.
5. Cutthroat Kitchen
Cutthroat Kitchen is pure joy. Alton Brown, cooking show host extraordinaire and chaos enthusiast, hosts Cutthroat Kitchen. It’s a competition series that begins to fall apart as soon as each episode begins, with constant wrenches (possibly even literal wrenches) thrown into each chef’s plans over the course of the multistage competition. Each chef starts the show with an amount of cash that they can use to buy sabotages to impede the progress of their fellow chefs as they make a series of dishes to impress a judge (who judges each challenge without knowing what sabotages applied).
6. Barefoot Contessa
Ina Garten is aspirational in a way few people are. The house, the lavish meals, the clothes, the general sense that nothing deserves to be rushed—what luxury. Barefoot Contessa is Ina Garten’s cooking series that explores recipes from her cookbooks and allows Garten to show the viewers tips and tricks she’s picked up over the course of her long career.
7. The Final Table
The Final Table is, really, a celebration of food. Chefs from all over the world come together for a competitive exploration of international cuisine in this gorgeously shot series, which highlights ingredients from all over and allows some of the world’s best chefs to represent their own craft and experience.
8. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
Culinary icon and national treasure Guy Fieri hosts feel-good series Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (triple D), a classic traveling food and cooking series that explores America’s favorite eateries and restaurants and highlights the chefs making some of the best food out there. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives is an ode to delicious food, but it also manages to capture the wonderful people that make the food so special.
9. Salt Fat Acid Heat
Samin Nosrat’s bestselling cookbook (bestselling as in, was consistently sold out at most retailers bestselling) Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking took the world by storm upon its release, and Nosrat continues to dazzle and educate in the form of her Netflix series on cooking, in which she breaks down her foolproof formula for delicious food and goes into the methods behind her cookbook’s message.
10. The Chef Show
Over the course of producing the film Chef, Jon Favreau made a series of friends in the culinary world whom he cheerfully revisits in the series The Chef Show, which stars Favreau and famous chef Roy Choi as they travel to culinary hotspots, develop Favreau’s cooking skills, and check in with celebrities and high-profile chefs across the country.
11. Top Chef
Padma Lakshmi hosts this iconic cooking series that features some of the best chefs and restauranteurs from all over in a series of rigorous culinary challenges, judged by Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, as well as other celebrity chefs. You can catch all 17 seasons of Top Chef on Hulu.
12. Good Eats
This one is for fans of Bill Nye. Cutthroat Kitchen host Alton Brown employs his ample knowledge of both food and science in Good Eats, a cooking show that explores the history of food and cooking and the science behind cooking technique. Come for the chaos, stay for the high volume of excellent information.
13. Ugly Delicious
Superstar chef and restauranteur David Chang stars and hosts this series about exploring “ugly delicious” foods, or the foods that we love without the veneer of fine dining. Ugly Delicious opens up the floor for fantastic discussions about the food industry, including where the industry has been misguided and where it’s moving, while also highlighting some of the best cooks out there.
14. Giada at Home
Food Network chef and host Giada De Laurentiis brings her signature warmth and cooking skill to this cozy series that allows viewers to pick up the tips and tricks of Italian cooking alongside Giada herself as she prepares classic recipes and hosts parties for her friends and family.
15. Guy’s Grocery Games
Resident good dude Guy Fieri hosts this charming cooking series (triple G), that features a series of grocery challenges where chefs are forced to use the items they can find in a grocery store to impress a panel of judges. Much like Cutthroat Kitchen, Guy’s Grocery Games allows Fieri to express his devious side as challenges grow more and more complicated.
16. Chef’s Table
Chef’s Table introduces viewers to some of the world’s most high-profile chefs, from Massimo Bottura to Niki Nakayama, and explores their impact on cooking, the various approaches they take to cooking, and the way their impact has shaped our culinary future. Chef’s Table is not only a gorgeous exploration of international cooking, it also highlights the locales and places that formed each chef and made their cooking what it is today.
17. F*ck, That’s Delicious
Chef and rapper Action Bronson stars in this delightful series about the joys of cooking and eating. Bronson and his friends Meyhem Lauren, Alchemist, and Big Body Bes explore the wide world of cuisine, share recipes they love, and generally take a moment out to appreciate the pure joy of good food with good people.
The original series of F*ck, That’s Delicious was made alongside Viceland, but the current season can be viewed on Bronson’s YouTube channel, and features more of Bronson’s culinary skill.
18. Nadiya’s Time to Eat
Former Great British Baking Show contestant Nadiya Hussain was a star on Bake-Off and remains a star in the food world, with two hit shows under her belt, as well as a cookbook (Nadiya Bakes) and a cookware line. Nadiya’s Time to Eat explores easy-to-make recipes for families that won’t break the bank, all with Nadiya’s trademark sincerity and charisma.
19. Somebody Feed Phil
This series is the television equivalent of a warm hug received while standing in your childhood kitchen. More a show about eating than it is about cooking, Somebody Feed Phil is truly a delight. Phil Rosenthal (creator and writer of Everybody Loves Raymond) is just a man who really loves two things: food and people. Follow Phil as he travels the world sampling the best food and meeting the people that help make it.
20. Carla’s Cooking Show
Upon leaving Bon Appetit in 2020, Carla Lalli Music embarked on her own digital media journey in the form of her Patreon-only cooking series, Carla’s Cooking Show. The show features recipes, tips, and in-depth explorations of the food Carla knows best from her home kitchen.
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