Watch On the Menu
- 1 Season
On the Menu is a unique and captivating cooking show that aired on TNT in 2014. Hosted by two renowned TV personalities Emeril Lagasse and Ty Pennington, and produced by Anthony Bourdainâs production company, the program aimed to showcase Americaâs home cooks and their culinary skills.
Each episode of On the Menu saw four amateur cooks compete to have their signature dish become the next featured menu item at a popular restaurant chain. The contestants were pre-selected from among thousands of hopefuls from across the country. They were then tasked with preparing their signature dish in a high-pressure kitchen setting, surrounded by a panel of industry experts and a live audience.
As if the challenge of cooking under such intense scrutiny wasnât difficult enough, the contestants in On the Menu also had to adhere to strict criteria designed to match the restaurant chainâs brand and appeal to its target consumer.
To help contestants pull off such a tall order, each episode featured a celebrity sous-chef such as Lagasse, Pennington, or Gregory Malnar, who gave the home cooks the benefit of their professional experience and guidance.
The creators of On the Menu drew inspiration from the concept of âcrowd-sourcingâ, using it as a way to give everyday people without formal culinary training the chance to showcase their talents on a national stage. Rather than solely relying on celebrity chef judges to decide who would progress to the next round of competition, the program featured a unique audience voting system.
Viewers at home and a live studio audience were able to vote for their favorite dish, with the home cook who received the most votes being crowned the winner. The winning dish then went on to be featured on the menu of popular restaurant chains such as The Cheesecake Factory and Dennyâs for a limited time.
The overall format of On the Menu certainly made for compelling viewing. It combined the high stakes, intense pressure, and personal stakes of reality competition cooking with the genuine joy and celebration of food culture that comes with showcasing innovative new recipes. Furthermore, the producers of the show did a good job of balancing entertainment with authenticity, and emphasized the importance of food quality, cooking techniques, and flavor in every episode.
Off-screen, the production team went to great lengths to make sure that the program supported local food banks and food-related charities. They also made sure to use only locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients when filming on location and highlighted issues like food insecurity and sustainable food sourcing in each episode.
On the Menu was widely praised by audiences and critics for its unique format, engaging hosts, and the sheer creativity and quality of the home-cooked dishes. It was also heralded as a positive and inclusive platform to showcase talent from all backgrounds, just like Masterchef and Hell's Kitchen.
Ultimately, viewers of On the Menu got a rare glimpse into the world of professional culinary competition, all while also watching unique home cooks from across the country bring bold and innovative new dishes to life. The program succeeded both as an entertaining reality competition show and as a celebration of the diverse and vibrant culinary scene in the United States.
On the Menu is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (10 episodes). The series first aired on October 3, 2014.