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Cooking Duel

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"Our world is a battleground into which only those who can bake truly good bread can enter."
Kai Suwabara, Yakitate!! Japan, a literal example.

This time, instead of fists, swords or overpowered fireballs, the combatants can find themselves squaring off through an impromptu contest in some sufficiently quirky task over a perceived slight to one's honor or that of a love interest. While Duels Decide Everything, in Anime anything can be a duel — and in Comedy Series, it usually is. Especially when Kid Samurai and Heir to the Dojo characters with touchy senses of honor are involved. Alternatively, the Alpha Bitch could provoke a less excitable character into such a contest. This is extremely likely in a series involving Martial Arts and Crafts.

Just to be clear, does not have to actually involve cooking, it just has to be that silly.

Essentially, this is the Evasive Fight-Thread Episode made silly with plenty of silly Trash Talk. In shows where the Cooking Duel is Serious Business, expect many a Mundane Made Awesome moment.

When it actually involves cooking, the female combatants of an Unwanted Harem will view it as the ultimate battle for the guy of their dreams. After all "the way to a man's heart is Through His Stomach." Hilarity Ensues as one or more of the girls are often Lethal Chefs, ESPECIALLY if she is the designated girl who will win the guy. But Supreme Chefs can be involved as well.

And of course, as anybody who regularly watches Food Network can tell you, there are also the shows that are literally nothing more than straight-up cooking duels between two people. And of course they originate from Japan. And, oddly enough, many of the above-described subtropes still apply (less the harem tendencies).

This can be hilarious when combined with Chess with Death.

Compare Chef of Iron and Battle of Wits.


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  • Pucca has cooking duel death courses, restaurant fights, and otherwise a whole new level of passion for the culinary arts.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Akagi does with Mahjong what Hikaru no Go does with go, just with more Yakuza and crazy old men.
  • Attack on Titan: The second OVA is about Pixis ordering that Jean and Sasha have one of these to solve their quarrel, and it's as over the top as expected.
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Suzu and Shadow Mei once have a kissing contest over who's allowed to kiss Matsuri, where they make out until one of them collapses.
    Suzu: Don't worry. Shadow Mei is a fragment of the ayakashi medium. It'll be like kissing myself.
  • Best Student Council has a curry rice battle between the Assault and Covert squads. Hilarity Ensues
  • An event in the Black Butler manga, in which the title Battle Butler Sebastian will face fellow Butler Agni in a curry competition. Slightly unfair as Agni can enhance the taste of curry just by touching the ingridients while demon Sebastian finds human food (at least desserts) distasteful. Also happens in the anime, three quarters into the first season. As is common with anime events, much of it is changed; for starters, Agni is simply exceptionally skilled at picking the spices to make the best curry, while Sebastian lacks the disinterest in human food of his manga counterpart. In both cases, Sebastian ultimately wins with two innovations; adding chocolate to his curry (which Agni notes is a very valid ingredient, but it's a combination of spices most English wouldn't consider adding to their curries) and then turning his curry into curry buns. His cooking is so good it can actually counter the Kali Ma "demon spice".
  • In CLANNAD, Fuuko and Sunohara engage in a wood carving duel.
  • In Chūka Ichiban! (a.k.a. Cooking Master Boy), continuous Cooking Duels are not just Serious Business, they're also the main way of life for chefs in China, and can earn rising stars wealth, power and even political clout.
  • DearS had a cooking duel as part of a three-part contest between Myu and Ren to determine which of the two would be allowed to stay at the school said contest occured in. The first two parts were a running contest and a five subject test, so the latter did raise some questions until Myu explained that housework was part of a DearS' indispensable skills.
  • Digimon Fusion has one in Sweets Zone.
    • Similarily, Frontier has "You Want Fries With That." It's regarded as one of the best episodes, as it focuses on JP, Zoey, and Tommy who were otherwise forgotten.
  • Doraemon featured a fried-rice cookoff between Nobita and The Ace Dekisugi in one episode, for which Nobita attempted to use one of Doraemon's gadgets to cheat, a plan that ultimately failed. Although Nobita lost the taste test, Shizuka, who judged the cookoff, finished Nobita's rice anyway, out of appreciation for how hard he worked to make it.
  • Dragon Recipe. Incia's life was saved when a chef on his way to a cooking duel chose to save her life... by using the ingredients he had intended to use to win that competition to save her from starving to death, including the legendary dragon's meat.
  • Bistro Recipe, which was Macekred into Fighting Foodons by 4Kids Entertainment, combined the Cooking Duel with a Mons series, with the chefs summoning their previously-created "Foodons". Yes, it's as silly as it sounds.
  • Food Wars! has cooking duels or shokugeki to settle disputes. In this case, though, the trope is completely justified (the manga takes place at an extremely competitive cooking school) and the duels are heavily formalized. In order to be official, a Shokugeki must have an odd number of judges, and both participants have to stake something of equal value (to be agreed on) and the Shokugeki must be formally recognized by the school (though the school hasn't failed to recognize a Shokugeki brought to its attention yet). The stakes, however, can be anything, and we have so far seen club rooms, Hollywood Restraining Orders, chef's knives, seats on the Absurdly Powerful Student Council and even entire careers staked in Shokugeki.
  • Galaxy Fraulein Yuna takes this to even sillier extremes: the opening scene is a literal cooking duel between giant mecha! The protagonist wins by cooking eggs by the heat of atmospheric re-entry.
  • Most of the battles in Gintama involve some form of this trope, including even some of the serious ones. Most notably, the Yorozuya, wallowing in poverty, can often be seen having over the top battles over hot pot or crab.
  • Good Luck Girl!, pictured, has a duel between Ichiko and Momiji that ends when Ichiko incapacitates the god Kuroyuri who was serving as a judge.
  • Hikaru no Go likewise milks the traditional Japanese board game of Go for all the drama they can get. In fairness, some people in Real Life make their living playing the game.
  • Hunter × Hunter had a section of the Hunter Exam in the form of a cooking contest where they were asked to make sushi. However only one of the contestants really knew how to make it and even then the female examiner doing the test had too high of standards that she flunked everyone. It took her supervisor to make her realize the test was unfair and she had to change it into a competence where the participants had to go in very dangerous fetch quests to get super rare ingredients. (Which the female examiner, being a Chef of Iron, was able to get super easily.)
  • Manga example: Jan Akiyama, from Iron Wok Jan, deliberately attempts to make everything around him into a Cooking Duel — his catchphrase is "Cooking is about winning".
  • Chapter 96 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War has the student council having a fried rice cooking competition.
  • Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens has a cooking contest between Nagi, Tsugumi, and Zange.
  • Constantly shows up in Kitchen Princess, both officially (that is, an actual cooking competition) and unofficially (pitting Najika against a professional chef to prove her spot in the special class, among others).
  • Koe de Oshigoto! has an erotic voice acting contest (it's that kind of series) between Kanna and Fumika with one particularly timid and reserved colleague as their target. They themselves don't take too seriously, unlike resident Hot-Blooded pervert Sakanami, who suggested the whole thing in the first place.
  • An episode of Koihime†Musou had an eating contest. And one of the participants was a professional eating competitor.
    • Another had a three-part duel which included intellect competition (designed for monkeys) and cosplay competition.
  • Kujibiki♡Unbalance is set at a High School where the student body is set up in an enormous Tournament Arc of Cooking Duels. (The first of which is literally a cooking duel.)
  • Ginta vs. Tsutomu at tennis in Marmalade Boy (the loser had to shave his head).
  • In chapter 23 of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, Kanna wanting a bentou lunch for her school picnic causes Kobayashi and Tohru to square off over who's the better cook between them in order to decide who makes said lunch.
  • Mister Ajikko is Cooking Duel: The Series. And the effect the food has on the judges...
  • My-HiME, episode 10, appropriately titled "Cake Wars" has substitute teach Midori Suguira host a "make-up cooking class" in the style of an Iron Chef styled competition. She divides the girls into the worst possible combinations, Mai/Shiho/Miyu, Shizuru/Haruka/Yukino, and Natsuki/Nao/Mikoto. Haruka takes charge of her team, and nearly causes a catastrophe by not using a double boiler for the chocolate. An Orphan samples, and is made sick by, the cake made by team Natuski/Nao/Mikoto, and Mikoto's pursuit of the Orphan causes Shiho to faceplant in her team's cake, and Haruka to drop her team's on the ground, prompting Shizuru, of all people, to invoke the "five-second rule". The all-male judges are hospitalized as a result of consuming the baked goods, leaving no winner.
  • Naruto had a literal Cooking Duel in one of its many, many Filler episodes.
  • Some of Negima! Magister Negi Magi's first volume takes this approach to a dodgeball game.
    • Later on, the "Kiss Negi" competition treats a pillow fight this way, complete with a commentator.
  • Throughout the manga Oishinbo there are a number of Cooking Duels between the main character and his father or their proxies.
  • Sanji in the One Piece anime takes part in a few cooking duels. The original manga didn't feature any, though.
    • However, he did duel the enemy cook Wanze in the manga. In one such duel, he manages to win, despite using only the ingredient scraps remaining from his opponent's recipes.
  • Otoboku - Maidens Are Falling For Me has a swim competition between Takako and Mariya. The event is scaled out of proportion by Kei.
  • An episode of Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire did this with a restaurant run by two sisters, who let their Pokémon do the cooking. One's Sneasel does it the old fashioned way, while the other's Mr. Mime does it using its powers. The Sneasel's food is delicious but looks terrible and is presented with no style, while the Mr. Mime's food looks amazing and the cooking is done with extreme flair, but in the end tastes wretched. In the end, they find a way to combine to two styles into one bigger, more successful restaurant.
  • In Princess Tutu, nearly everything is decided by ballet. Many of the dances actually don't fall under this trope since they aren't duels, instead focusing on characters revealing their true feelings through dance. But there's several that do, including any sword fight in the series (which usually mixes ballet moves with sword fighting), and the first season's finale where the titular Magical Girl and her Dark Magical Girl rival end up dancing to determine who gains control of the Prince.
  • Ranma ½ took about half of its plots from this trope, ranging from gymnastics to fast food sales to a "martial arts marriage contest" in one of the movies, almost all of which had their own ridiculous fighting style devoted solely to it. The hot-headed Ranma was easily maneuvered into such contests - even, memorably, a Cooking Duel to see who was more feminine. At least two were literal cooking duels that didn't involve any unlikely fighting techniques (though one did include some impossible use of cooking knives).
  • Real Bout High School, an anime series about a school where all of the student clubs are dedicated to fighting with lethal weapons, features a Cooking Duel between the female leads for the affection of a male student. Both lunches make him sick enough to vomit grey foam.
  • My Bride is a Mermaid has an epic singing contest between Lunar and Sun. Their rival fan clubs turn the school into a war zone.
  • In one episode of Seven of Seven, Nanacchi and Hayashiba, Kogarashi, and Morinuma turn a make-up home ec class into one of these, with the loser being the winner's slave for a week.
  • Shina Dark manages to make a Cooking Duel out of bartering.
  • Spoofed in Slayers, where the main characters must dress up in animal costumes and pass several ridiculous tests in order to reach the top of an enchanted tower, one of which is an actual cooking battle in which the mazoku Xelloss (who elects to flamboyantly clothe himself for the occasion in a frilly cap and apron) creates such a deliberately noxious concoction — after all, it's a cooking duel, right? — that he almost kills them all with the fumes, and then wonders why he loses even though he created exactly what he aimed for. The price of losing these contests is being turned into adorably chibified dolls, which is the sort of thing you grow to expect from this series. The characters tend to hang lampshades on this quite forcefully as they protest the unfairness (and the ridiculousness) of it all.
    • The other challenges fall in this category. The next one was an Octopus and a game of Rock–Paper–Scissors... where the octopus did them all at once. The third was a game of tag, where you had to grab someone by the butt, and the opponent was a snake. That one was funny.
    • In NEXT Lina and Martina had a game of magic tennis for the prize. At least the game moved them to a truce and Xelloss got some tasty mayhem...
  • Played for laughs in Soul Hunter: after the hot blooded Seiki general Nankyu Katsu gets angry at Kou Hiko's clan for their dislike for Seiki's very spicy cuisine, Taikoubou tries to calm things down by having Nankyu Katsu and Kou Hiko square off in a cooking challenge with vegetarian-only ingredients with himself, his Reijuu Supushan and Duke Ki Shou as the judges to see which one of them is the best chef. Parodied where after an over-the-top gathering of vegetables, mushrooms and spice they end up producing cold Japanese deserts (Zenzai and Annintofu). The challenge takes a turn for the worst when Ki Shou faints when he's about to taste the food, revealing that the shock of having to eat his own son Hakuyuko left him weak and unable to eat anything, meaning that his days are counted. Taikoubou's secret plan was to use this challenge to have Ki Shou eat something and recover.
  • Sasami entered a literal — and televised — cooking contest in volume 8 of the Tenchi Muyo! manga. Her main opponent seemed to be somehow related to Kagato.
  • The "Yamato Nadeshiko Cup" from Cheeky Angel. Megumi and Genzo also fight an actual Cooking Duel at one point.
  • An Iron Chef-esque version of one happens on one episode of The iDOLM@STER
  • The Legend of Koizumi is a series in which world leaders battle over the fate of the world... WITH MAHJONG.
  • The Prince of Tennis has no Cooking Duel, but it DOES have an entire mini arc devoted to an eating duel between the various rival teams.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: In Chapter 5, Nino tries to get her sisters to go away so they can avoid studying with Fuutarou. She succeeds with all of them but Miku, who stays because she does want to study. When Nino realizes that Miku has taken a liking to him, decides to challenge her to a cooking duel to decide whether they study or not, with Fuutarou as the judge. Naturally, Nino is confident that she will win because she's a Supreme Chef while Miku is a Lethal Chef, but it turns out he also finds Miku's cooking tasty (given how poor he is, he's not very selective about what he eats), much to Nino's chagrin and Miku's joy.
  • The game of tag that opens Urusei Yatsura.
  • In The Way of the Househusband, Tatsu and Torajiro get into a dessert duel to settle their unfinished business from their former yakuza lives, the winner being who gets the most likes on Instantgram. Despite both their affinity for cooking and artsy photograph skills, Tatsu wins with only a single like and that was from his wife.
  • Since foods and ingredients play a very important role in Toriko, cooking duels between the greatest chefs are the climax event of the world famous Gourmet Festival, a massive event happening once every four years. During the Chowlin Temple arc, Shuu challenges Komatsu to a rather simple cooking task (cutting a cabbage) to showcase the benefits of the Temple's training.
  • Yakitate!! Japan also tends to have Tournament Arcs that are also literal cooking, nay, baking duels.
  • The infamous cabbage scene in Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro Na Crescent Love.
  • Zig-zagged in Yu-Gi-Oh! and its respective spin-offs which frequently stake the lives of the characters, or even the fate of the world, on a collectible card game. While the layman duelist usually sees it as little more than a children's card game, there are a 'fortunate' few individuals who are privy to its true, terrifying nature: Duel Monsters is the modern incarnation of a truly ancient magical 'game' that was played for pretty much those very stakes, and real (and lethal) monsters are a well-established existence. While a lot of the time standard duels do have over-inflated stakes, there are a number of 'shadow duels' where the harmless facade of the game is stripped away, the monsters become real, and the characters find their very souls on the line...
    • And in the first seven manga volumes, a much crueler Yami Yugi would make these up on the spot to challenge anyone who pissed him off/hurt his friends with. They were typically much darker and dangerous than other examples of this trope (example: challenging a crooked shopkeeper to a contest of "draw the coins out of the sneaker with a deadly scorpion inside it"), and the loser was treated to an illusory "Penalty Game" that more often than not drove them mad.
    • An early two-parter in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V took this trope quite literally when Yuya faced a Duelist who was not only a cooking prodigy, but also used monsters that stuffed his monsters full to bursting. No, really.
  • In Yumeiro Pâtissière, Ichigo and "The Heiress," Koshiro Miya, have a pudding baking competition to decide who gets to enter the Cake Grand Prix with the Sweets Princes. Ichigo, of course, wins, specifically by making a pudding with fewer "cavities" and intentionally making the caramel topping bitter because she noticed earlier in the episode that the judge liked bitter foods.
    • This trope ultimately becomes an important plot point (albeit not at first).

    Comic Books 
  • In Muppets King Arthur, when Mordred (Robin) challenges his Uncle Arthur (Kermit) to single combat, Arthur says they should settle things the way they do back in the swamp — with a pun duel.

    Comic Strips 
  • In the comic strip Lucky Luke: Calamity Jane from 1967, Jane gets involved in a baking contest with the equally unqualified matron of the establishment, the unlucky witnesses have to eat the results at gunpoint.

  • Taken to its extreme in God of Cookery, a spoof of a traditional Hong Kong martial arts movie substituting the fighting with cookoffs, including a climactic cookoff where the combatants fling magical fireballs at their food to make it cook faster.
  • In the Chinese movie Kendall yu man tang or The Chinese Feast, the heroes fight the bad guys... in a cooking competition.
  • In Zoolander Derek and Hansel have a male-model runway competition patterned after a physical fight.
  • Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines: Duel by balloon and blunderbuss. Basically the opponents each take off in a gas balloon, and then try to shoot down the other's balloon with a blunderbuss.

  • One important plot element in the Apprentice Adept series by Piers Anthony is the main character contending to win the prize in a competition known simply as "The Game" or "The Tourney." The contestants could end up in any potentially competitive contest; it could be something as conventionally sportsmanlike as running a marathon, or something as seemingly undramatic as blowing soap bubbles. A lampshade is hung over any situation that calls for it, pointing out that the rules of the game involve an element of luck that can lead to unusual results. In at least one case (a "friendly," rather than part of the Tourney) it was an actual Cooking Duel, with humorous results given that neither contestant needed to eat, or had any idea what chocolate brownies were supposed to be like.
  • In Alan Dean Foster's Mad Amos short story Witchen Woes, Mad Amos has a literal Cooking Duel (a chili cookoff) with a kitchen witch as a kind of exorcism.
  • In Patricia C. Wrede's short story Utensile Strength (from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles), the characters hold a bake-off to determine the rightful wielder of the Frying Pan of Doom.
    • The best part about that was when the princess who hit her uncle over the head with it, turning him into a poached egg, is found to be the rightful wielder the big, manly fighters/knights/barbarians insist on finishing the duel because they were "really looking forward to it." The one man's chocolate cake made with a helmet and baked in a shield is actually delineated in his own words in the back of the collection, parenthetically translated for modern-style cooking of course.
  • Eating duels are common in the Redwall series. Also, a song in one of the books tells of a duel in which the combatants threw salad at each other.
  • Short story anthology Sword And Sorceress 30 includes "Phoenix for the Amateur Chef" by G. Scott Huggins. How does one make a meal out of a bird that instantly burns to ash upon death?
  • In The Machineries of Empire, grievances among citizens of the Gwa Reality are settled with genetically-engineered viruses. It's mentioned that Gwa duels can take years to be concluded.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Numerous Game Shows and Reality Shows are more or less entire series of literal Cooking Duels — in live action, to boot.
    • Iron Chef (which is technically the Trope Codifier) and its Americanized Spin-Off Iron Chef America
    • Top Chef
    • Food Network runs or has run several other Cooking Duel-based shows, such as Throwdown, where Bobby Flay challenges another famous chef at his own specialty, Chopped and its Mirror Universe counterpart Cutthroat Kitchen, and Date Plate, where two guys compete for a date with a hot woman by cooking her dinner.
    • Ready Steady Cook (Ready.. Set... Cook! in the USA) - Debuted in Britain in 1994, USA in 1995, independent of any Iron Chef popularity (1993 in Japan, then to the USA a few years later). Two chefs each team up with a normal person, receive a mystery bag of ingredients and have to prepare a meal with it.
    • And Chopped which takes the secret ingredient concept from Iron Chef and multiplies it.
      • The iCarly episode "iCook" has a parody of these shows complete with an Expy of Bobby Flay who has a nervous breakdown when he loses.
      • Also in the FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman season one episode "Tryin' Chef", Ruff decides that his evening meal needs to get "kicked up a notch." He challenges Taylor, Khalil, Brian, and Julia to use creativity, cunning, and capability in this Iron Chef spoof! The cooking challenge...
    The Amazing Cook-Off!
    • My Kitchen Rules has a "Sudden Death" round where two bottom-performing teams in a challenge must battle it out in a one-on-one (or two-on-two, really) to keep their place in the competiton by cooking a three-course meal for six judges in a blind tasting panel. The team who gets the worse score is eliminated.
  • Numerous reality shows, like America's Next Top Model, would also fit this trope.
  • The Brady Bunch had several of these, frequently between the boys as a group and the girls as a group.
  • Manny Delgado of Modern Family once mentioned that when his girlfriend's ex boyfriend came to visit, they engaged in a Chocolate Souffle bake off. Manny won and asserted his dominance over the ex, and let's just say the Souffle wasn't the only sweet brown dish the girl devoured that night. Manny also made Molasses Cookies
  • The second season finale of Chef! (1993) was about a multi-participant cookery contest. Gareth cooked for England!
  • An episode of The Colbert Report featured an amazing dance-battle-turned-DanceDanceRevolution game between Stephen Colbert and his archnemesis, Korean pop singer Rain.
  • Tendo Souji was not only the title character and The Ace of Kamen Rider Kabuto, but also a genius chef. Naturally, this meant that any feud he had with another character would inevitably come down to a cooking duel. A short two-episode arc called "The Dark Kitchen" took this premise to its logical, yet highly absurd conclusion.
    • Then there's that make-up duel between Kazama Daisuke and a rival make-up artist. It's hilarious. Daisuke barely won by doing the impossible: eyeliners on his opponent. WHILE HE WAS WEARING GLASSES.
      • Also note this was a Single-Stroke Battle - they each did a makeup job on the other in a fraction of a second while leaping past each other.
    • Also, in Real Life, Kamen Rider BLACK star Tetsuo Kurata is a master steak chef, beating Kamen Rider Blade star Takayuki Tsubaki in an episode of a cookoff show.
    • Kamen Rider Double did this in their Hyper Battle Video. Philip was hungry and the enemy was food-based, so his 3 allies had a cooking duel with him as the judge to find out what the enemy was made of. The announcer from Iron Chef was there as a gadget giving commentary. Notably, none of this made any logical sense at all (but then, the Hyper Battle Videos are non-canon anyway.)
  • Tama-chan and Chukaen's cook-off in Tomica Hero Rescue Fire Episode 10.
  • The Mama's Family episode "Soup to Nuts" features Thelma, Naomi, and Iola competing to see who cooks the best chili.
  • The Odd Couple (1970) episode "They Use Horseradish, Don't They?" had Oscar helping Felix in a cooking contest when Felix's back went out due to the stress of the competition.
  • A later episode of Three's Company had Jack enter a recipe contest in a women's magazine as "Grandma Tripper". He thinks he won and dressed up as an old woman to go and collect the prize. When he arrives (with Janet and Terri as his "nieces"), he finds out he's only a finalist and must now engage the other two finalists in a televised cooking duel.
  • More on the silly side and less on the dramatic, the various contests on Top Gear could qualify. Jeremy, James, and Richard will take part in competitions involving cars that often involve some odd regulations, such as "You are given £2000 to spend on a car and insurance as if you are 17 and buying your first. You are then to drive to X location while asserting why your car is better, spend the remainder of your money on modding your car to make it cooler, drive up to "your parent's house" at night without waking them, and impress some teenage girls with a handbrake turn. Whoever has the most points at the end wins."
    • To say nothing of the time presenter James May appeared on Gordon Ramsay's The F Word, engaged Ramsay in an actual cooking duel, and won.
      • He drank what appeared to be an entire bottle of wine, to boot.
  • The show Future Food has a competition in every episode.
  • On Parks and Recreation health-conscious Chris tries to convince unrepentant carnivore Ron that taking hamburgers off the menu was a good idea. Ron dares him to prove it, so they have a cook-off; Chris' turkey-burger with fancy herbs and spices versus Ron's ordinary beef patty on a plain bun, ketchup optional. Everyone actually likes Chris' turkeyburger, but then they have one bite of Ron's burger and all agree that it's better, even Chris.
  • In ''Weeds, Silas and another one of the growers who he's always fighting with decide to compete to see whose weed is the best quality. The test? Each one blows smoke at a cage raccoon and the winner is the one who's raccoon eats the most cheetos
  • The Great British Bake Off: Strictly speaking there's no one-on-one duels, though it's quite common for two particularly bad bakers to be desperately fighting for survival, with everyone else more or less safe, in the showstopper challenge.
  • Kevin Can F**k Himself: Kevin and Neil have one in We're Selling Washing Machines that escalates into a full-blown feud, which in turn makes them act clingier with Allison and Patty respectively, which drives both women up the wall. Each one claims that their contribution to their chili is what makes it great and view the other as the sidekick. They 'break up' over the fight and decide to make their own chili.

  • The cover for the Nov. 17, 2003 issue of The New Yorker, drawn by Gary Larson, has two men in front of a Wild West saloon putting about ten paces between each other to see who will be the faster to draw... a caricature of the other on their easel.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The Junkyard Dog and Jimmy Hart once faced off in a waterslide race on a 1986 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event.
  • Over the years, WWE has had numerous swimsuit competitions, dance-offs, rap battles and other non-wrestling competitions.
  • Ring announcers Lillian Garcia and Howard Finkel had an announcing competition in 2002. It was cut short when 3 Minute Warning interrupted and Howard shoved Lillian to them to save himself.
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Eric Bischoff's "Redneck Triathlon" from Badd Blood 2003.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The "Økėÿ Døkęÿ Køøkïñ" segment on Muppets Now is a duel between the Swedish Chef and a real chef. Unsurpisingly, the real chef always wins.

  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Miss Enright's Dinner", Miss Brooks duels with Miss Enright for Mr. Boynton's affections by preparing recipes pinned up by the school's home economics teacher. Unfortunately, unknown to Miss Brooks, the recipe for Irish Stew on the board is a prank one Walter Denton pinned up to trick Miss Enright.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Monkey Ninja Pirate Monkey, using the Prose Descriptive Quality system by Atomic Sock Monkey can take almost anything into a duel, and even uses a cooking contest as an example.
  • The Changeling: The Lost sourcebook Swords at Dawn details the various types of duels the Courts use to resolve disputes, split along lines of Physical, Mental, Social, and Mystical. Some are designed to be less damaging, like a duel of logic before an impartial judge. Others are magically enhanced to be every bit as dangerous as conventional duels — one version has the combatants trying to paint the most compelling portrait of their opponent's death, with the loser perishing as depicted.
  • Feuds between samurai in Legend of the Five Rings are typically solved with whatever skill the parcipants are trained in - swords for bushi, magic for shugenja and so forth. However, as samurai are expected to have knowledge in the courtly arts, the challenger may suggest more or less whatever he or she likes. Thus one can settle a feud through a flower-arranging battle or through actual cooking. This does tend to cost the challenger some face, though, as onlookers think less of their martial abilities.
  • In RISUS, anything can be a "fight", explicitly so, as long as it's entertaining or funny.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Oriental Adventures campaign setting has a rule for official and unofficial contests in any proficiency appropriate for the situation, such as calligraphy or falconry. Winning or losing such challenges gives or takes a Honor point and the winner receives XP bonus proportional to the host's level, doubled for official competitions.
  • Unknown Armies wants players to realize just how dumb engaging in lethal violence can be and suggests methods to avoid it. One of those, Rechannel, involves substitution of another competition for violence. The main book suggests drinking contests, cards, scavenger hunts, arm wrestling - really, anything with a clear winner and loser can do. Imagine the GM when a character offers to settle a feud with an NPC with winner-takes-all Hungry Hungry Hippos.
  • Exalted:
    • The peak of the Supernatural Martial Arts Border of Kaleidoscopic Logic allows its user to create an illusory realm where she battles her opponents using a form of conflict she specifies, including Cooking Duel.
    • A more ominous example is the yearly contest between the Unconquered Sun and Saturn the Maiden of Ending, which may imply whether Creation will survive another year. One form of the contest was seeing who can spit the farthest.

  • Older Than Radio: In Gilbert and Sullivan's The Grand Duke, the pivotal plot device is a "Statutory duel", wherein each duelist draws a single card from a deck of standard playing cards. Highest card wins.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street features a shaving duel. "The fastest, smoothest shave wins!"
    • In the original version it was a best two out of three contest, with shaving and tooth-pulling being two of the events (Sweeney wins both). But the tooth-pulling is one of the parts that is often cut from adaptations of the play.

    Video Games 
  • The Playstation game Suikoden II included a minigame with cooking duels between your army chef Hai Yo and various wandering chefs, including the two army chefs from the first Suikoden game. Complete with the twirling of weapons, the leaps of agility, and the bursts of energy from some of the opponents.
  • You can play a Cooking Duel minigame in Star Ocean: The Second Story's amusement park city, complete with a "secret ingredient" revealed with much fanfare.
    • Including a battle with slime as the secret ingredient.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, there's an optional scene towards the end of the game in which Regal has a cooking battle with "The Dark Chef" and earns his "God of The Kitchen" title.
    • Tales of Vesperia also gets one of these, putting the party member of your choice up against Flynn to earn cooking titles for your party members. That is, unless you choose Flynn himself as your representative, in which case he appears as chef "Noble Sparkles," facing off against his subordinate, Witcher.
  • A character with a high enough Wisdom in Neverwinter Nights Tales of Arterra can bypass one test by telling the one-handed evil spirit who has been instructed to prove his is better than you that you are better at clapping your hands than he is.
  • This concept is sent up in one of Etna's highly inaccurate previews of the next episode in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, with the Prinny Squad as the secret ingredient.
    • Before Nippon Ichi hit it big with games like Disgaea, they made a whole game based on literal cooking duels called Cooking Fighter.
  • Cooking Mama allows one to duel in head-to-head mode on the NDS.
  • Battle Chef Brigade has this as a central premise with a fantasy twist; players must hunt monsters to use as ingredients in their dishes.
  • Parappa The Rapper kind of revolves around this. In each level, the titular rapper resolves a problem by rapping against a "master"—but they're all things that have nothing to do with rap. In the first game, you have to learn kung fu, get a driver's license, earn money at a flea market, bake a cake, move through a line at a gas station bathroom, and perform a stage show all by rapping. Only the last one makes any sense.
    • The sequel ups this by having Parappa rap his way through learning how to be a fry cook, "romantic karate" lessons, a conversation with a guru ant, an assault course, hairstyling, an enchanted video game, turning his Evil Counterpart to the side of good, and finally performing another stage show.
    • Speaking of Parappa, a Japanese commercial had him competing with Crash Bandicoot by playing this trope straight. It's delightfully amusing.
  • In Breath of Fire II, Princess Petape comes up with the idea to expose the impostor posing as her brother Tapeta by having the two engage in a Cooking Duel. The player's involvement in this consists of plumbing a dungeon to gather the ingredients (all of which happen to be boss monsters). It's a shame that the odds were in favor to Kuwadora/Quadra, because he threatened the judges, and so he would be victorious. Even they had to be reluctant to the fact that one of the prepared food contained the valuable Golden Fly/Greenbottle.
  • The multiplayer mode of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan and Elite Beat Agents is a double example, where both players engage in a cheerleading duel where the outcome is based on the winner of another duel (involving either cooking, basketball, or guitar-playing in EBA's case). A few singleplayer levels in both Ouendan games also fall into this trope.
  • The cooking themed game, Order Up!!
  • The versus mode of the cooking-themed game, Overcooked!.
  • Then there's the Monkey Island series. No, not those duels. This is about the Banjo Duel. The kicker? You have to cheat to win.
  • Many of the text-based mini-quests in Space Rangers can be seen as this. They're not always one-on-one duels (usually it's a four-way contest), but when a planetary government asks you to win a pizza-baking contest on some far away planet...
  • Both Mega Man Battle Network 4 and Mega Man Battle Network 6 include various cooking minigames, both of which involve using a the help of the main character's Personal Net Navi in the creation of delicious dishes. We are lead to believe that they are quite tasty.
  • Mario Party: Don't look in the same direction as the opponent, blow a balloon between opponents' cars, walk on a ball and bump into the other to throw them away from the platform, shake a soda, and so on.
  • Trauma Center: New Blood has, as would be expected in this game and no other, a surgery duel. You don't get to see the other surgeon, though. Interestingly, the characters actually comment on the absurdity of the situation. They absolutely despise the "celebrity surgeon" show to begin with, but the guy had been slagging off Caduceus. As a very expensive government project, they had to appear for PR's sake.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening: In a support conversation between Chrom and Vaike, the two of them have one of these. When all is said and done, Chrom attempts to claim victory by knockout.
  • In Princess Maker 2, the yearly Harvest Festival includes a nation-wide Cooking Contest. The Daughter can be potentially roped into attending there and challenging a local girl named Marthia, if by the time the girl turns 14 she has a high Housework reputation.
  • In Ensemble Stars!, many disputes are settled with Live battles - that is, both units (or other groups, if this is a special non-graded competition) will perform a concert and the audience will use their light sticks to indicate which they liked better, with the winner being the one with the most votes. This isn't just an idle past-time either, but central to the characters' performance in school, and their ultimate careers.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Fara, proprietor of the Hole in the Wall tavern in Sadrith Mora, is engaged in one of these against Dinara Othrelas, the chef at Llethri Manor in Ald-Ruhn. A Thieves' Guild quest has you steal Dinara's cookbook in order to give Fara an edge.

    Visual Novels 
  • The After-School Club in Higurashi: When They Cry often engages in board game battles. Club rules dictate that they must be treated as Serious Business, and the loser usually has to do something humiliating. In the second arc, they're so used to it that when they're making curry for home economics class, they barely have to say anything before it's decided that it's a contest. The oddest example is probably the Kyute contest, where the club members compete to show the cutest thing they can find to Rena.


    Web Original 
  • The online Muppisode "Føødê Fïtê" the Swedish Chef competes against Gordon Ramsay and actually wins! (Via technicality, of course.) At the end Ramsay gets involved in an Insult Duel with Statler and Waldorf.
  • In Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse, the Show Within a Show Doll vs. Dessert pits Teresa and Barbie against Raquelle and Ryan in cupcake-baking.
  • SCP-514 is a flock of doves that shuts down any attempt at violence and disables all weapons in its area of effect. This results in groups fighting to control it using... alternate methods of conflict resolution.
    Addendum 3: As of ██/██/20██, all members of Mobile Task Force Lambda-4 are required to be proficient in various non-violent, competitive activities, including but not limited to: Sports, board games, card games, videogames, trivia, riddles, and rock-paper-scissors.
    O5-██: Are you serious? The fate of one of our SCPs could be decided on the outcome of rock-paper-scissors?!
    Captain ████████: I assure you sir, you have nothing to fear. We are dead serious about these matters.
    O5-11: Captain, couldn't you have chosen a more... dignified... game as your primary conflict resolution method? Seeing two grown men in all-black tactical gear taking a children's card game so seriously is... off-putting.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of the ALF Spin-Off ALF Tales changes John Henry from a steel-drivin' man to a celebrity chef who competes against a machine that synthesizes food.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender - in "Tales of Ba Sing Se", Sokka gets knocked into a poetry class and ends up in a haiku duel with the teacher. Which, stylistically, he treats as a rap battle.
  • The Big Hero 6: The Series episode "Food Fight" has Aunt Cass suspecting Hiro is involved in underground robot battles again, but when she tries to find out where they're being held, instead she gets involved in an underground cooking contest. And becomes their new champion. Trivia: Aunt Cass managed to win in a cook-off against the Master Chef GORDON RAMSAY!
  • Central Park: In Season 3 "Paige's Next Chapter", Molly and Cole want to prove which of them is Abby's favorite, so they decide to make her what they think is her favorite dessert: Cole wants to make home-made gum, while Molly plans to make a croquembouche, a French dessert made up of pastry puffs held together by caramel. In the end, the gum comes out too chewy and Molly burned most of the caramel and didn't have enough to hold the puffs together, so they decide to combine the two, which is still inedible due to the gum being a part of the pastry.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door has Numbuh 1 in the episode "Operation: O.O.M.P.P.A.H." roped into "a tuba battle" (actually sousaphones) in order to save his father. He even lampshades how ridiculous the idea is.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog had Courage facing off with a demon that possessed Muriel...with thumb war.
    • Katz will do this sometimes too. In one episode, he and Courage had an epic duel to the death... in the form of a Staring Contest.
      • This seems to be Katz whole schtick. I'm pretty sure there is another episode where they have an overly-dramatic handball competition.
  • In one episode of Cyberchase, Digit and Matt compete against the Hacker in an extreme cooking competition to prevent him winning the gold chef hat, which he needs for his evil invention. Hacker tries his best to cheat and sabotage them, but they win in the end.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Every thousand years, Fairies and Anti-Fairies use a cooking contest to decide which side (Fairies or Anti-Fairies) gets the right to have godchildren until the next cooking contest.
  • In an episode of the 70s Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Fat Albert participated in a cooking contest. In a shocking (for the time) display of Flawless Token, Albert was continually denigrated, insulted, and generally made fun of by the other competitors (all girls, of course). In accordance with the episode's Aesop that anyone can do anything if they want it bad enough and work hard to get it, Fat Albert wins.
  • In Futurama, Bender is an aspiring chef. Unfortunately as a robot he has no taste buds and is appalling. But once he entered into a chef duel with the famous Elzar, and won by using a magical ingredient. It was ordinary tap water... laced with nothing more than a few tablespoons of LSD.
  • Hero: 108: Many episodes conclude with this. Commander Apetrully tries to recruit animals, gets captured, calls First Squad for help, First Squad defeats animals in battle, animals demand a competition to win their loyalty. The first episode concludes with Jumpy Ghostface the Rabbit King being recruited to First Squad after they beat him in a jump-rope contest.
  • Home Movies - Brendon and Jason play an attorney and his romantic rival who first square off with plastic swords, which break, so naturally...
    Brendon: Oh. It looks like we're gonna have to complete the fight without weapons!
    Jason: You mean a battle of wits?
    Brendon: Close...we fight with jazz!
    Jason: Bring it on, daddy-o!
  • In The Jungle Bunch, Al competes in one in "The Jungle Feast" against the owner of a local fast food chain. Said opponent, however, is willing to do anything to win, and kidnaps Bob to make Al throw the duel. Luckily, The Jungle Bunch save Bob and bring him back in time to help Al win, and reveal that the fast food chain doesn't follow standard health and safety protocols.
  • In the Muppet Babies (2018) episode, "The Great Muppet Cook-off", when the babies like the Swedish Chef's cookies better than Piggy's, a jealous Piggy challenges Chef to a cook-off. In the cook-off, Piggy and Chef are tasked with making three dishes; macaroni and cheese, a meatball pizza, and a cake. Chef's cooking partner is Animal, and Piggy's is Summer. Chef wins every round because he and Animal follow the recipes, while Piggy's impatience and refusal to follow the recipes despite Summer's warnings result in her losing each round.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: "Pinkie Pride" sees Pinkie Pie challenging a rival party planner to a Goof-Off to see who can throw the best birthday party for Rainbow Dash.
  • South Park has had dance-offs, whore-offs, virtual Yahtzee, and the "Hell's Kitchen Nightmares Iron Top Chef Cafeteria Throwdown Ultimate Cookoff Challenge," among other crap (literally).
  • Spongebob Squarepants:
    • The title character once faced Neptune in a Cooking Duel to see if SpongeBob was really worthy of "the Golden Spatula". The challenge: be the first to make 1000 Krabby Patties. Neptune uses his magical powers to make Krabby Patties by the hundreds, while SpongeBob just carefully makes one. It turns out Neptune's patties taste horrible, and the one SpongeBob made was the best Neptune had ever eaten. The difference between the patties was that SpongeBob cared for his patty (literally, tucking it into a lettuce bed and everything) and Neptune used his magical god-of-the-sea merman powers to whip up a thousand patties as quickly as possible. So it's more like a cooking aesop where love = good food, processed meats produced cheaply in large quantity = icky food, even if they look the same.
    • The episode "Fry Cook Games" has SpongeBob and Patrick compete in fry-cooking themed athletic events like ice-cream high-diving and bun wrestling.
  • This makes up much of the plot of the second Strawberry Shortcake special (" Big Apple City").
  • Greedy in The Smurfs (1981) episode "The Gingerbread Smurfs" challenges Brainy to a cooking duel in order to prove who is really the best cook in the village, with gingerbread cookies being the item that both contestants will make. Of course, Brainy disqualifies himself by using one of Papa Smurf's magic books in order to make a magic gingerbread cookie, which becomes Anthropomorphic Food that multiplies and causes trouble in the village.
  • The Simpsons parodies this mercilessly in the Hell's Angels episode; when Homer challenges the leader of the bikers to a motorcycle duel, they literally pick up their motorcycles and have a swordfight, complete with copious flynning and dueling up and down stairs.
  • An episode of The Venture Bros. had Dr. Venture and Dr. Orpheus completely forget about the "plot" of the episode (rescuing Brock and the boys from part two of a Time Travel adventure in Egypt for which there is no part one) when they get into a Science vs. Magic debate and decide to settle it by seeing who can shrink the best. In the end neither can do it properly, and they give up.
  • Total Drama has a cooking challenge between the teams as one of its early challenges. Naturally, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Xiaolin Showdown is a very prominent example. A Showdown can be anything: a race, sumo wrestling, basketball, bird-catching, alligator-hopping, etc. Showdowns also take place in a warped, tricked-out version of wherever the characters were standing to make things interesting.

     Real Life 
  • During the War of the Currents, Harold Brown and George Westinghouse were arguing over whether direct current or alternating current was more dangerous, with Brown (backed by Thomas Edison's Propaganda Machine) calling AC a "killing current." At one point, he challenged Westinghouse to an electric duel where each of the two would be shocked by the current they championed; first to quit would lose. Westinghouse declined.


Video Example(s):


Hit the Sweet Spot

Molly and Cole want to prove which of them is Abby's favorite, so they decide to make her what they think is her favorite dessert: Cole wants to make home-made gum, while Molly plans to make a croquembouche. In the end, the gum comes out too chewy and Molly burned most of the caramel and didn't have enough to hold the puffs together.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / CookingDuel

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