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
Buddy vs. Duff
Buddy vs. Duff
MasterChef Junior
MasterChef Junior
The Great British Baking Show
The Great British Baking Show
MasterChef
MasterChef
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted
Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell & Back
Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell & Back
Top Secret Recipe
Top Secret Recipe
Beat Bobby Flay
Beat Bobby Flay
Guy's Grocery Games
Guy's Grocery Games
Chopped
Chopped
Cutthroat Kitchen
Cutthroat Kitchen
Nailed It
Nailed It
Chef's Table
Chef's Table
Spring Baking Championship
Spring Baking Championship
Girl Meets Farm
Girl Meets Farm
BBQ Pitmasters
BBQ Pitmasters
Hell's Kitchen
Hell's Kitchen
Somewhere South
Somewhere South
Carnival Eats
Carnival Eats
Tasty
Tasty
Come Dine With Me
Come Dine With Me
Trisha's Southern Kitchen
Trisha's Southern Kitchen
Cupcake Wars
Cupcake Wars
Barefoot Contessa
Barefoot Contessa
The Kitchen
The Kitchen
Good Eats
Good Eats
Delicious Miss Brown
Delicious Miss Brown
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Sugar Rush
Sugar Rush
Chopped Junior
Chopped Junior
Rotten
Rotten
Welcome to Sweetie Pie's
Welcome to Sweetie Pie's
Milk Street Television
Milk Street Television
Cake Wars
Cake Wars
Bizarre Foods
Bizarre Foods
Jamie's Quick & Easy Food
Jamie's Quick & Easy Food
Salt Fat Acid Heat
Salt Fat Acid Heat
Good Eats: Reloaded
Good Eats: Reloaded
Britain's Best Home Cook
Britain's Best Home Cook
I'll Have What Phil's Having
I'll Have What Phil's Having
Zumbo's Just Desserts
Zumbo's Just Desserts
Supermarket Stakeout
Supermarket Stakeout
Gordon's Great Escape
Gordon's Great Escape
America's Test Kitchen
America's Test Kitchen
Cook's Country
Cook's Country
Denise Austin
Denise Austin
Holiday Baking Championship
Holiday Baking Championship
Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations
Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations
Giada in Italy
Giada in Italy
Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern
Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern
Huang's World
Huang's World
Snack-Off
Snack-Off
Top Chef Jr.
Top Chef Jr.
Ugly Delicious
Ugly Delicious
Restaurant Stakeout
Restaurant Stakeout
Food Tech
Food Tech
The Kindness Diaries
The Kindness Diaries
Amy Schumer Learns to Cook
Amy Schumer Learns to Cook
Food Truck Nation
Food Truck Nation
Farmhouse Rules
Farmhouse Rules
Ramsay's Best Restaurant
Ramsay's Best Restaurant
Baked in Vermont
Baked in Vermont
Brunch @ Bobby's
Brunch @ Bobby's
Cake Masters
Cake Masters
Pig Goat Banana Cricket
Pig Goat Banana Cricket
Chef's Table: France
Chef's Table: France
The Chefs' Line
The Chefs' Line
Cooks vs. Cons
Cooks vs. Cons
Guy's Ranch Kitchen
Guy's Ranch Kitchen
Everyday Italian
Everyday Italian
Best Places to Pig Out
Best Places to Pig Out
Supermarket Superstar
Supermarket Superstar
What's Eating America
What's Eating America
30 Minute Meals
30 Minute Meals
The Next Iron Chef
The Next Iron Chef
No Passport Required
No Passport Required
The Chef Show
The Chef Show
Million Pound Menu
Million Pound Menu
Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics
Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics
Sugar Showdown
Sugar Showdown
Somebody Feed Phil
Somebody Feed Phil
Dinner at Tiffani's
Dinner at Tiffani's
Baked
Baked
Man's Greatest Food
Man's Greatest Food
A Cook's Tour
A Cook's Tour
The Farm
The Farm
Gordon Ramsay's F Word
Gordon Ramsay's F Word
Kitchen Boss
Kitchen Boss
Giada on the Beach
Giada on the Beach
Sweet Genius
Sweet Genius
Guy's Family Road Trip
Guy's Family Road Trip
Samurai Gourmet
Samurai Gourmet
Sanrachna
Sanrachna
Tia Mowry at Home
Tia Mowry at Home
All-Star Academy
All-Star Academy
All You Can Eat
All You Can Eat
Lords and Ladles
Lords and Ladles
Mom's Cooking
Mom's Cooking