Food TV Shows

Food has been a part of television from almost the beginning, and the TV chef has been a popular character in American culture for the better part of a century. Chef and cookbook author James Beard hosted the first network cooking show in the 1940s, establishing a genre that would eventually lead to entire cable networks devoted to the nuances of food preparation. The contemporary food show, however, is often much less about food than its ancestors were.

Early TV cooking shows were often concerned as much with advertising as they were with cooking instruction. Sponsors’ products—kitchen appliances, gadgets and food products—were promoted openly and enthusiastically. By the time Julia Child hit the airwaves with her The French Chef in 1963, though, the cooking show had becomes a more serious mixture of entertainment and education, giving home cooks an enjoyable way to learn how to cook new dishes.

In recent years, the food genre has broadened to include a range of program types. The celebrity-chef cooking show remains popular, but the reality and game show genres have reached into the realm of food, as well. In competitive cooking shows, chefs work individually or in teams to create dishes which are evaluated by a panel of judges. In one type of reality food show, a celebrity chef helps to make over struggling restaurants; in these shows, the focus is generally on the interpersonal drama of the situations rather than on the details of food preparation.

Yet another food-TV genre merges the cooking show with a travelogue, as a host seeks out interesting dishes in far-flung locales; the culinary subjects may be regional delicacies, exotic cuisines or otherwise unusual fare. Some of these shows have an educational component, as the host looks on while the local chef shows the audience how to prepare the dishes.

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Chopped
Chopped
Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell & Back
Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell & Back
MasterChef
MasterChef
The Great British Baking Show
The Great British Baking Show
Milk Street Television
Milk Street Television
Beat Bobby Flay
Beat Bobby Flay
Nailed It
Nailed It
Cutthroat Kitchen
Cutthroat Kitchen
Guy's Grocery Games
Guy's Grocery Games
MasterChef Junior
MasterChef Junior
Trisha's Southern Kitchen
Trisha's Southern Kitchen
Hell's Kitchen
Hell's Kitchen
Barefoot Contessa
Barefoot Contessa
Come Dine With Me
Come Dine With Me
Holiday Baking Championship
Holiday Baking Championship
Zumbo's Just Desserts
Zumbo's Just Desserts
Good Eats
Good Eats
The Kitchen
The Kitchen
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted
Cake Wars
Cake Wars
BBQ Pitmasters
BBQ Pitmasters
Chef's Table
Chef's Table
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Cupcake Wars
Cupcake Wars
Girl Meets Farm
Girl Meets Farm
America's Test Kitchen
America's Test Kitchen
Baked in Vermont
Baked in Vermont
Carnival Eats
Carnival Eats
Cook's Country
Cook's Country
Holiday Gingerbread Showdown
Holiday Gingerbread Showdown
Man's Greatest Food
Man's Greatest Food
Christmas Cookie Challenge
Christmas Cookie Challenge
Chopped Junior
Chopped Junior
Spring Baking Championship
Spring Baking Championship
Lidia's Kitchen
Lidia's Kitchen
Sugar Rush
Sugar Rush
Farmhouse Rules
Farmhouse Rules
Martina's Table
Martina's Table
Food Truck Nation
Food Truck Nation
Unwrapped 2.0
Unwrapped 2.0
Good Eats: Reloaded
Good Eats: Reloaded
The Zimmern List
The Zimmern List
Bizarre Foods
Bizarre Foods
I'll Have What Phil's Having
I'll Have What Phil's Having
Brunch @ Bobby's
Brunch @ Bobby's
Delicious Miss Brown
Delicious Miss Brown
The Great American Baking Show
The Great American Baking Show
Giada in Italy
Giada in Italy
Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations
Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations
The Kindness Diaries
The Kindness Diaries
Welcome to Sweetie Pie's
Welcome to Sweetie Pie's
Giada's Holiday Handbook
Giada's Holiday Handbook
The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell
The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell
Nailed It! Holiday
Nailed It! Holiday
Santa's Baking Blizzard
Santa's Baking Blizzard
Ramsay's Best Restaurant
Ramsay's Best Restaurant
Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics
Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics
Guy's Ranch Kitchen
Guy's Ranch Kitchen
Buddy vs. Duff
Buddy vs. Duff
Gingerbread Giants
Gingerbread Giants
Food Porn
Food Porn
The Next Iron Chef
The Next Iron Chef
Ridiculous Cakes
Ridiculous Cakes
Carnival Kings
Carnival Kings
Restaurant Stakeout
Restaurant Stakeout
Kane's Kitchen
Kane's Kitchen
Top Secret Recipe
Top Secret Recipe
Sweet Genius
Sweet Genius
Deep Fried Masters
Deep Fried Masters
Halloween Wars
Halloween Wars
Winner Cake All
Winner Cake All
Giada's Weekend Getaways
Giada's Weekend Getaways
Snack-Off
Snack-Off
Wedding Cake Championship
Wedding Cake Championship
Seaside Snacks & Shacks
Seaside Snacks & Shacks
Southern and Hungry
Southern and Hungry
Kitchen Boss
Kitchen Boss
Tia Mowry at Home
Tia Mowry at Home
Mom's Cooking
Mom's Cooking
All-Star Academy
All-Star Academy
The Great British Baking Show: Holidays
The Great British Baking Show: Holidays
Ayesha's Homemade
Ayesha's Homemade
Gordon's Great Escape
Gordon's Great Escape
Everyday Italian
Everyday Italian
Dinner at Tiffani's
Dinner at Tiffani's
Gordon Ramsay's F Word
Gordon Ramsay's F Word
Chef Academy
Chef Academy
Heat Seekers
Heat Seekers
Guilty Pleasures
Guilty Pleasures
Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking
Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking
Taco Chronicles
Taco Chronicles
Burger Land
Burger Land
The Chef Show
The Chef Show
Best Baker in America
Best Baker in America
Kitchen Takeover
Kitchen Takeover
Paula's Home Cooking
Paula's Home Cooking
The Taste
The Taste
Rev Run's Sunday Suppers
Rev Run's Sunday Suppers