One of the main reasons why I have cable TV is so that I can watch my food shows. Looking back, I actually began watching cooking shows way before I could even boil water. The two earliest shows in my memory are of Martin Yan on Yan Can Cook and of James Barber, The Urban Peasant, who sadly passed away this past December.
Nowadays, I watch a variety of cooking, entertainment, and informative food shows. Some will actually teach you something, and some are just for mindless entertainment. Here’s a list of what I currently like:
- Top Chef – Fun, but you still learn about food and see innovative cooking. One of my favourite shows.
- Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares – The UK version only, please. Here you see a softer, thoughtful and smart side of Gordon Ramsay as opposed to the screaming demon that Fox wants you to see. I can’t stand the US version.
- Hell’s Kitchen – Okay, I know I just said I didn’t like the screaming bad guy that the US sees when they look at Gordon Ramsey, but I can’t help myself. This show is fun. And every once in a while, the good side of Gordon slips past the editors, like last season when he offered to pay for Julia to attend culinary school. I wish they’d show that side of Gordon more. And pick contestants who can actually cook. They seem to have less and less experience every season.
- Good Eats – Alton Brown is my hero. I haven’t actually cooked from any of his recipes, but he has so much food knowledge and I love his humour. I have followed a couple of his gadget tips though, like buying kitchen shears that can actually come apart so that you can wash off the food contamination from the scissors’ joint.
- Good Deal with Dave Lieberman – I find his recipes easy to follow and simple to cook, and yet very tasty. I’ve actually passed on his recipes to other people, and they rave about the taste. Too bad the show isn’t in production anymore.
- Chef School – Interesting show that follows culinary students through their classes and life while at school. It’s not fast paced like Top Chef or Hell’s Kitchen is, but I’m finding it a nice compliment to reading Michael Ruhlman’s book.
- Ricardo and Friends – At first I wasn’t sure I liked this show, but it’s starting to grow on me. He’s got a great sense of food; I just wish his ingredients were more realistic regarding what I have access to in my city. His Antipasti Loaf really caught my eye and I’m going to have to try and give it a shot sometime soon.
- Chef at Home – Michael’s Smith’s home cooking show; his Chef at Large show is good too, but I think I’ve seen most, if not all of them and I’m not interested in repeats.
- Cook Like a Chef – This is a fantastic series that I used to watch before I started cooking myself. Now that I’m cooking I’d like to see them again, but they are rebroadcasting the episodes in the early morning. I wish they would bring this one back.
- Diary of a Foodie – Gourmet‘s tv show about food from around the world. Beautiful stuff. I just wish I remembered when it was on so that I could watch it more often.
- Jamie at Home – This is the first cooking show of his that I’ve actually liked. Before this, the only thing I’d watch with him in it was Jamie’s School Dinners.
- Ace of Cakes – For pure entertainment value only. I like to see the creative designs. And guess whether or not the cakes are going to collapse under their own weight.
- No Reservations – I’m putting this down even though I’ve never seen this show. I desperately want to, but it’s not broadcast on the channels that I have access to and I don’t have satellite TV. I wish, wish, wish they would put out whole seasons on DVD instead of just a couple of episodes at a time. I loved Tony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour.
That’s the majority of what I’m watching right now, although I will occasionally catch bits of other shows. I know there are great shows that I’m not watching like America’s Test Kitchen, but I haven’t gotten around to them yet. Soon, I hope.