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Cooking Show

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Tincan Zanotto: Good evening and welcome to Ram It Down. I'm your host, Tincan Zanotto. And tonight we'll watch ONE lucky contestant prepare THREE increasingly-complicated dishes in an attempt to please our celebrity judges!
Headbutt Forsythe: Impossible!
Faun Cruller: He'll never do it!
Otto Meatallis: He's nothing without Cassie!
Tincan Zanotto: [Laughs] And he's the nice one!

A program devoted to the preparation and presentation of food, occasionally venturing into nutritional advice in the process. Recipes — sometimes but not always on a theme, or collected as part of a larger meal — are presented by demonstration. Some recipes (such as baking bread) may take longer than the cooking show in question, the cooks frequently show dishes prepared earlier.

The chefs who host such shows can become major celebrities — Julia Child was one of the first, and more recently Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse have hosted shows that have enjoyed widespread popularity.

Very often involves Food Porn, though not always. For fictional stories focused on food, see Cooking Stories.


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  • Some of the short films Pete Smith made to accompany MGM features in the 1930s and 1940s (the "Pete Smith Specialties") were this. Films like Menu and Penny Wisdom featured an expert chef helping a harried housewife make roast duck or cook up dinner for four on short notice.

    Live Action TV 
  • America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country taste-test and refine recipes until they have one presentable for the viewer. Like Good Eats, they often explain the science behind their cooking methods. They also rate commercially available ingredients and kitchen equipment. They have a handful of chefs who present the recipes on screen while the eternally skeptical Chris Kimball barrages them with clarifying questions on behalf of the audience.
    • After Kimball's acrimonious departure from ATK in 2016, he went on to start his own competing series, Christopher Kimball's Milk Street.
  • Barefoot Contessa , with Ina Garten.
  • Celebrity Cooks, a Canadian series with the star of The Beachcombers, Bruno Gerussi, which featured various celebrities who perform or are interviewed by Gerussi before they demonstrate a particular recipe in studio.
  • Cooking Price-Wise was a 6-episode series for Thames Television in 1971 starring Vincent Price.
  • Emeril Lagasse , the flagship chef of Food Network before Rachael Ray came along, had two shows: The Essence Of Emeril and Emeril Live, the latter of which has since been moved to the Fine Living Network (Food Network's sibling) in reruns.
  • The French Chef, featuring Julia Child.
  • The Frugal Gourmet with Jeffrey Smith.
  • Future Food on Planet Green.
  • The Galloping Gourmet with Graham Kerr, the first cooking as entertainment show and its healthy Reconstruction The Graham Kerr Show.
  • Good Eats with Alton Brown provides a unique perspective — something along the lines of an engineer or scientist's cooking show, as produced by the cast of Saturday Night Live.
    • Brown, a former television producer, became a chef and started his own cooking show specifically because he felt that most cooking shows airing at the time weren't giving their audience enough information. These shows would tell the audience what to do in a recipe, but not why they were doing it. Hence Brown's emphasis on the physics and chemistry of cooking.
    • Brown himself described the show as a combination of his three favorite TV series: Julia Child, Mr. Wizard and Monty Python.
  • Great British Menu, a competition for professional chefs.
  • Great Chefs takes an unusual approach to this genre by visiting a large number of professional chefs (typically three per episode), in their own restaurant's kitchen, each preparing a meal of their choice with little explanation beyond what you'd find in a recipe.
  • The Homebrewed Chef, a show on The Brewing Network.
  • The New Zealand-produced Hudson and Halls during the 1970s and 1980s was a mildly Camp Gay take on the genre.
  • Iron Chef , also known as Ryori no Tetsujin, is a hybrid Cooking Show/gladiatorial combat program, as is its spinoff (as of early 2005) Iron Chef America. It has notably avoided the previously mentioned Cooking Show trope since before many of these shows even aired.
  • Louisiana Cookin' is perhaps best remembered for Justin Wilson's humorously folksy stories, thick Cajun accent, and catchphrase — "I gar-on-tee".
  • MasterChef a cooking show where 24 amateur cooks must compete in a series of challenges to see if their skills can withstand the pressure of the professional season. Originally a UK show, although the American and Australian versions are much more popular/well-known.
  • My Drunk Kitchen: Comedic Web Original show about attempting to cook while intoxicated.
  • My Kitchen Rules an Australian-based show that is meant to be Seven Network's answer to Network Ten's Masterchef Australia. Like the former, MKR features a number of amateur pairs trying to showcase their cooking talents before the public and professionals alike. Unlike Masterchef, MKR contestants work in permanent pairs.
  • Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals. It shows cooking in Real Time without preparing things in advance, avoiding a common Cooking Show trope. Or rather, it pretends to. Most of the menus Ray (a non-chef) presents actually take up to an hour to prepare if you're worried about things like not giving your dinner guests food poisoning.
  • Yan Can Cook offered a Chinese style with host Martin Yan. There's also a fair amount of humor and horseplay mixed in (such and Martin's trakemark chicken gag) It's been on Public Television since 1982.
  • Countless UK shows with Delia Smith, who begat Nigella Lawson, Gary Rhodes, Rick Stein, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to list just a few.
    • Of course before Delia Smith there was Fanny Craddock. Going back even further, BBC TV's first Christmas Day in 1936 included a demonstration of turkey carving.
    • And Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsay, Sophie Dahl (yes, that one), Ainsley Harriott, Gary Rhodes, Rick Stein, Keith Floyd, Jamie Oliver... The list is enormous. Celebrity chefs are big business in the UK.
    • Culminating in surprise worldwide hit, the much-imitated The Great British Bake Off.
  • Food Network was devoted to Cooking Shows and Travelogue Shows based around food. It's since ditched many of the former in favor of numerous competitive Reality Shows, especially during Prime Time.
    • Canal, its Spanish-speaking rival, has some shows devoted to wine and lifestyle, but it's also filled with a lot of cookie-cutter cooking shows. It even have their own stars like Narda Yepez and Sumito Estevez.
    • Travel Channel, its main American rival, also has a lot of shows dedicated to wine, food lifestyle, and just food in general. Yeah, the Travel Channel.
    • Scripps Networks, who owns Food Network, has revamped their "Fine Living Network" into Cooking Channel, as Food Network has been diversifying its programming as of late.
    • Utilisima channel, the South-American rival of, is half crafts and lifestyle shows, half cooking shows. Even some of the lifestyle magazines have cooking segments.
  • Viceland offers a new take on the cooking show with Bong Appétit, a show dedicated to the various ways on cooking with marijuana and celebrating the various ways to enjoy weed.
  • Wok With Yan was a Canadian TV mainstay for decades, starring Stephen Yan who had a humorous Funny Foreigner shtick with punny aprons along with some travelogue vignettes to go with the the stir-fry cuisine.
  • School of Chocolate sees eight pastry chefs learn to improve their skills in the creation of elaborate pastries and chocolate showpieces with pastry chef Amaury Guichon.



    Web Video