Television for Foodies - My recommended shows | Robyns.World

There is so much television for foodies on these days that can be so inspiring. It doesn’t matter if you like to cook or just eat, the shows are still fun to watch and can be quite informative as well. I take tons of inspiration from the shows for my own cooking at home as well as learning about new foods to try when I go out to eat.

Not only do we have the Food Network, but also the Cooking Channel, and then there are tons of food shows on YouTube and other social networks even. Plus I’m finding more and more of the shows on Netflix as well. Growing up, even at a young age, I loved watching cooking shows. Back then my only options were PBS shows but there was so many great ones. We all know Julia Child was there and I loved that she taught me it was okay to make mistakes in the kitchen. Another favorite was Jeff Smith of The Frugal Gourmet (although I hate what came out about him later), Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook, Justin Wilson of Louisiana Cookin’, Mary Ann Esposito of Ciao Italia, and Caprial Pence of Cooking with Caprial (she was just on Beat Bobby Flay).

Some of my current favorite cooking shows – those that actual show them cooking and give you hints and tips – include:

  • Cooking with Nick Stellino
    This cute chef with his thick Italian accent is fun to watch. You can see how excited he is about cooking with each dish and along with the preparation he tells a lot of great family stories and you get a few Italian language lessons as well.
  • Sara’s Weeknight Meals
    Sara Moulton has been on TV for years and is an “everyday cook” in a very good way. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her do a recipe that I thought was too advanced, they are all simple enough for most home cooks. This show is all about meals you can make on a weeknight. Sara also gives the most practical cooking and food tips than any other chef I know of on TV.
  • Pati’s Mexican Table
    You cannot help but smile watching Pati Jinich cook. Her show is all about Mexican food but she makes it all look so easy. Pati also gives you options if you can’t find an ingredient in your area. I love her thick accent as well, especially the way she says “mushy”. As a matter of fact, I’m trying out one of her recipes tonight for dinner, Chipotle Chicken Pasta Casserole.
  • America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country
    Both of these shows have many of the same folks on them and basically the same format. They do tons of testing on classic recipes and come up with the best new ways to cook them while staying true to original flavors. They also do comparisons of foods and cooking tools. Very informational. These both come from the folks who do Cook’s Illustrated magazine.
  • Lidia’s Kitchen
    Another great Italian cooking show. This one hosted by Lidia Bastianich. Her focus is more on family cooking with plenty of casseroles, pasta dishes, and lots of great side dishes as well. Most everything she makes she plates up family style.
  • Simply Ming
    Ming Tsai hosts this show that brings Asian cooking that is simplified for American home cooks. He also blends Eastern and Western foods and preparations to create unique recipes.
  • Steven Raichlen’s Project Smoke
    This is one of Hubby’s favorite cooking shows to watch with me. Steven is all about grilling, barbecue, smoking, etc. and it is all done outside. There is plenty of instruction on how to cook using various kinds of grills along with amazing recipes. He has done several other shows as well and any of them with his name will be great if you like this style of cooking.

There are other great shows for food lovers too that are not necessarily all about watching the chef prepare recipes. While many of the shows I already listed do have some little mini segments that are outside of the kitchen, the following shows are really about learning about the history of food, cultures, and people.

  • Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmeran
    This is actually on the TV in my home office as I am writing this post. Andrew Zimmeran goes around the country and the world to explore not just bizarre foods but the foods that are traditional to the culture of the location he is in. He is known for eating a lot of different animal testicles which he always says are creamy – this is not a food I have tried myself. To hear the stories behind the foods of any region though is really interesting. Quite a bit of history in this show and all presented in a very fun way.
  • Mexico, One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless
    His show is actually a mix of both the cultural and actual instruction, but it his segments where he is showing us real people and in different places around Mexico that I love the most.
  • Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown
    This chef tours the world showing us so much of the culture of the areas. He has done a number of shows, including the No Reservations show, over the years and is currently doing Parts Unknown which airs on CNN. Just like Zimmeran, I learn so much history on his shows as it resolves around food. Bourdain comes off as a “bad boy” type though which is completely opposite of Zimmeran.
  • Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
    Such a fun show. Host Guy Fieri goes around the country to various diners, drive-ins, and dives to find the food that the locals loves and those that are totally surprising for such little restaurants around the country. The show has filmed a few places here in St. Louis too and it is fun to go try them out for myself.
  • Guys Grocery Games
    Another show with Guy Fieri as the host, this combines a cooking competition and game show all into one. The contestants compete with each other, with quirky spins, in three heats. The final winner has a chance to win $20,000 by running around the store finding items. To be honest, that end part I rarely watch, I just like the cooking part myself.

Then we have the competition cooking shows/reality tv shows. This are very entertaining to me and while I may get some inspiration from some of them, they are not recipe type shows per se. Lately I have been seeing some of the main shows do a kids version and I really enjoy those. It is amazing what this young kids can do in the kitchen!

  • Kids BBQ Championship
    I just watched the 1st episode of this show last night and it was so fun. I can’t believe how much these kid contestants know about grilling and cooking. “Fluffy” was eliminated last night but I was sorry to see him go because he was such a character! I expect to see more of him in the future in some form or another.
  • Beat Bobby Flay
    Bobby Flay does a ton of television shows. His most recent is Beat Bobby Flay where two other chefs come on the show and compete against each other and then the winner of that goes up against Bobby Flay. A fun show to watch and I must admit, I root for the competitor to beat Flay every episode. I’m an underdog kind of gal.
  • Top Chef
    So there is not a current season running, but hopefully the next will be up soon. I totally love Top Chef, all variations, and just find it fun to watch. My one negative about this series is the amount of “bleeping” they do of bad words particularly during the diary sessions with the contestant chefs. I would rather those chefs clean it up since they know they are going to be on national TV. The primary hostess for the Top Chef series, Padma Laskshmi, I like on the show generally, but she appeared at a BlogHer conference (women’s blogging conference) a few years ago and was overheard by many of making not so nice comments about the bloggers. This irks me, however, I did not personally hear her so I try not to hold that against her but honestly it creeps into my brain since I’m a blogger. Dear Padma, if you read this please comment and set the record straight!
  • Food Network Star
    Watch as a group of selected contestants compete to be the next Food Network Star with their own show. The focus is not only on food that they prepare, but also how well they do on camera, social media, and other venues.

Coming soon is also Celebrity Food Fight to Food Network which seems like it will be a mashup up game show, foodie event, and celebrity fluff. The promos look promising so I have already set TiVo to record it for me to see how the show actually is once it debuts.

Are you a foodie who loves food shows on television? Which are your favorite shows?

Robyn