The Top 100 Cooking Shows of All-Time

Posted by Vincent

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100. Emeril Live
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: Food Network/Fine Living 1997-

For a good laugh, watch an older episode of "Emeril Live" — especially his introduction and the opening music montage that features Emeril out on the town.

It feels like, having not been sure what a cooking show should look like, the producers took a generic daytime talk show template and put Emeril in.

It's clear he loves his audience and seems to enjoy what he's doing, but the food almost takes a backseat to all the antics.

99. Jewish Cooking in America
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: PBS 2002

There are few Jewish cooking shows on the air, but this is a good one. "Jewish Cooking in America" explores the deep-seated and delicious traditions of many famous Jews from the Sara Lee namesake to the wife of Wolfgang Puck.

The show may not hold the attention of the non-Jewish viewer, but for those with an interest in Jewish culture, it is a nice collection of stories and recipes steeped in history.

98. Gourmet Cooking
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: PBS 1977-1995

Not a particularly well-known chef these days, Earl Peyroux was the author of several cookbooks and worked in the shadow of Julia Child. He had one cooking show that was aired nationally on PBS and was adored by thousands. His show was known for its disorganization and the fun he has on set.

97. Can't Cook, Won't Cook
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: BBC1 1995-2000

The silly intro is characteristically nineties, as is the live studio audience.

But the enthusiastic host is a pleasure to watch and the dry British humor makes you forget entirely that you're watching a cooking showing and instead gives the feel of a decently written sitcom.

96. Mexico: One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: PBS 2003-

You may ask yourself: Why is some white guy teaching me about Mexican cooking? And Rick Bayless has the answer for that.

It's clear that Bayless loves Mexican cuisine and that he's been working with it for a long time. The plates are always varied and he takes you all over Mexico for high as well as low cuisine.

However it's hard to love him as much as he loves himself — by his unnecessary shirtless scenes in a cooking show and his skintight attire.

Please Rick, just cook.

95. David Rocco's Dolce Vita
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: Food Network Canada 2006-

Rocco is another Italian-American who exploits his Italian roots for cooking legitimacy. His foods are pretty tasty and he generally explains his theory well, but his staged candidness makes the viewer embarrassed for him.

Also, his nasally voice can only be handled in small doses.

94. To the Queen's Taste
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: CBS 1948-1949

"To The Queen's Taste" was one of the earliest broadcast cooking shows.

Hostess Dione Lucas was singular in that she was the first woman ever with a cooking show and the first woman to graduate from Le Cordon Bleu. She was truly a pioneer, a great woman and a great TV chef.

93. America's Test Kitchen
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: PBS 2000-

For the truly curious cook, "America's Test Kitchen" provides answers to questions the weekend chef may not ask himself.

But what it proves in education it lacks in entertainment. The hosts are instantly forgettable and their nearly affectless voices don't provide much to hold our attention. "Cook's Country from America's Test Kitchen" is a nearly identical spin-off.

92. Essence of Emeril
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: Food Network 1994-

Emeril sheds his traditional chef garb for more lax attire and it does help make his dishes more approachable.

The show lacks the energy from the earlier "Emeril Live" shows but, on the plus side, it comes off a little classier and the recipes a bit more sophisticated.

91. Celebrity MasterChef
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: BBC1 2006-

As with most cooking reality shows, "Celebrity Master Chef" doesn't teach you much about cooking. But it sure has a high entertainment value.

"Celebrity Master Chef" is further avatar of shows like "Master Chef" and "Master Chef Professionals." It's a solid show and there's obviously a market for the franchise.

90. Ten Dollar Dinners
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: Food Network 2009-

This show was created as a response to our current economic recession and it does a good job of it.

Melissa d'Arabian, winner of the fifth season of "The Next Food Network Star," keeps to her promise and provides the viewer with affordable meals that don't skimp on quality.

All the meals look great and don't require that you buy corn syrup-infused pre-made ingredients to make them.

89. Campfire Cafe
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: RFD-TV 2008-

It doesn't get much better than cooking around the open fire. Larry Wiseheart and Pam Alford show you how to do it in "Campfire Café."

The meals are fairly simple and rustic, but delicious and healthy. Not a lot of corn syrups or GMOs here.

88. Good Deal with Dave Lieberman
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: Food Network 2005-

Lieberman is a good cook. He's probably not quite to chef status, but his meals are good.

He has a calm demeanor and he explains what and why he's doing something nicely.

87. The Restaurant
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: NBC 2003-2004

"The Restaurant," starring Rocco Dispirito, took viewers on an inside look of the restaurant industry.

Though the show was quite popular and drama-filled, it was doomed to failure due to low profitability and poor relations between Rocco and financial backer Jeffrey Chodorow.

Although the viewer might pick up a few cooking tips here and there, it really wasn't designed for much more than entertainment.

86. Ace of Cakes
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: Food Network 2006-

"Ace of Cakes" is a reality show with cake making going on in the background.

The characters carry the show so, if you're looking to learn something about cake making, this probably isn't the show for you. But it's pretty entertaining and, if you're a cake person, you'll really enjoy it.

85. 30 Minute Meals
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: Food Network 2001-

Rachael Ray gets a bad rep due to overexposure, but her show is pleasing to watch, accessible and thoroughly explained.

Her strength is that she's an every woman's woman and she really gives the viewer the impression that she can cook.

84. Zarela! La Cocina Veracruzana
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: PBS 2001

Zarela isn't the most exciting chef, but you can rest assured her recipes are authentic and that she learned her skills on the line and not behind a desk.

She has a very matter-of-fact way of presenting that might not engage some viewers, but her recipes look great and the flavors are assuredly robust.

83. The Romagnoli's Table
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: PBS 1974-1976

Gian Franco Romagnoli, an immigrant from Rome, hosted "The Romagnoli's Table."

Quite the renaissance man, Romagnoli was equally adept at holding a camera as he was standing behind one. He also authored a book about his time in Italy during the Second World War.

His recipes are good and simple and endearing to anyone that can appreciate rustic Italian cuisine.

82. The Best Thing I Ever Ate
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: Food Network 2009-

You won't learn too much about cooking from this show — many of the tools used by professional chefs aren't available to the amateur. But if you pay close enough attention, you can pick up on a thing or two.

The idea behind this show is spotlighting some of the best foods in the world in their respective categories.

For this reason, you can be assured that each dish is a delight.

81. Take Home Chef
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: TLC 2006-2008

The premise is pretty fun: A celebrity chef walks through the aisles of a supermarket and invites himself to an unwitting person's house so that he may make dinner for them.

Curtis Stone does it well, though it seems that he only takes home very attractive women. That adds a certain tension, though Curtis does manage to prove that anyone can cook, especially with a pal to lend a hand.


22 Responses

  1. Guitar-Monster-Mike: The Top 100 Cooking Shows of AllTime Says:

    [...] it to re-visit some of your old favorites, or study it carefully to discover some new gems.Source:http://www.thecooksden.com/top-100-cooking-shows/ Posted by Mike Devlino at 06:38 Labels: gems, old favorites, video [...]

  2. Ivy Jean Says:

    I only get 8 channels, so where can I find these shows?

  3. Celebrity Chef News: Rick Bayless, Rocco DiSpirito, Paula Deen, Top Chef University | Endless Simmer Says:

    [...] The Cook’s Den has a lot of time on its hands, ranking the top 100 cooking shows of all time.  You get an “A” for effort, but you’re going to need to stay after class for [...]

  4. Alber Tan Says:

    Another one that’s very good that’s not on the list is “After Hour with Daniel”, Daniel Boulud is cooking for his chef friends, and the foods are amazing.

  5. leonardo Says:

    Obviously the Creator of this list is semi-retarded. Emeril Live is ranked #100?

  6. M@ Says:

    I was pleased to see you had a good selection of shows from around the English-speaking world, including some Canadian gems. But unless I missed it, you didn’t include my very favourite Canadian cooking show, Pasquale’s Kitchen Express.

    A good man and a fine cook (and a decent singer as well), Pasquale entertained the largely Italian immigrant population in Toronto and its surroundings for many years.

  7. Wendy Says:

    What? No Biker Billy Cooks With Fire? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlU-E1tSyEM

  8. Cook’s den top 20 cooking shows « Gleaming Cubes Says:

    [...] http://www.thecooksden.com/top-100-cooking-shows/6/ [...]

  9. Miranda D Says:

    Although it was rather short-lived, I loved “Adventures with Ruth” (Reichl). A perfect blend of exotic travelogue and unique but totally palatable food. She even had celebrities!

    Also, there was a wonderful show on the Food Network around 2003-2004 called “Melting Pot”, which featured a different ethnic cuisine for each day of the week. It was a kind of starting ground for stars like Michael Symon and Aaron Sanchez.

    And even though I usually hate the contestants, I never miss “Chopped” because I love to imagine what I would cook with the mystery basket ingredients. It’s given me lots of great ideas!

    Although I’m not HUGE fans of the following, I find them a great deal better than many others that made your list, so I’d like to give a shout out to Ming Tsai, Sara Moulton, Michael Chiarello, Ina Garten, and… I can’t believe I’m saying this, Tyler Florence (I thought “Food 911″ was a great concept and usually pretty educational).

  10. Tim Capehart Says:

    Cooking Live With Sara Moulton should have been in your top 10! It was one of the best and most educational food shows ever!

  11. The Top 100 Cooking Shows of All-Time | Listropolis Says:

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  12. So Good Blog/News Round-Up 5/28/10 | So Good Says:

    [...] top 100 cooking shows of [...]

  13. Jennifer Says:

    In the same vein as Alton Brown was David Rosengarten’s Taste, one of my personal all time favorites. How many times does Emeril get mentioned? I loved his show when he didn’t have the live audience and band and didn’t continually say “KICK IT UP!”. As much as I loved watching the Frugal Gourmet, his gentile and proper tv demeanor belied his true wicked self. I can no longer even think of him much less watch his show without having a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

  14. Jon Says:

    No Ming Tsai makes me sad.

  15. The 30 Worst Cooking Shows of All-Time Says:

    [...] barbecued shark before bedtime. Want to read about a more uplifting set of shows? Check out the 100 Best Cooking Shows of All Time here. Enjoy the list. And, by all means, avoid the shows. Click Here to See the List Posted in [...]

  16. Jo-Ann Burton Says:

    Melissa d’Arabian is just annoying. I can handle her maybe 5 minutes. And how did Hell’s Kitchen get in the Best of List while Top Chef made it to the Worst list.

  17. Slt Says:

    David Rocco is an Italian-Canadian…so I think that nasaly voice you’re referring to is actually his accent.

  18. Liz Williams Says:

    I think that you are mistaken about Dione Lucas being the first woman with a cooking show. Lena Richard had a cooking show in New Orleans beginning in 1947. Although Lucas might have had a national show, as opposed to the local show that Richard had. She was on WDSU.

  19. marie Says:

    how the hell did urban peasant get into the list of best cooking shows, the recipes were unispired and confusing at times(wait make that all the time)..and don’t get me started with the host.
    and how come did top chef and barefoot contesa end up in the worst list…i absolutely adore those 2 shows!

  20. JTodd.net » 100 Top TV Cooking Shows Says:

    [...] http://www.thecooksden.com/top-100-cooking-shows/2 Posted on April 10, 2011 by admin. This entry was posted in Food. Bookmark the permalink. « 7 Unglamorous Steps to Better Writing [...]

  21. Hielke Says:

    I kinda miss my favorite show featuring Heston Blumenthal.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jod7PY8pj40

  22. summer Says:

    wow.. number 96 is a great show, i like how you feel the need to mention “shirtless scenes” and skintight clothing, but of course if it was a woman that would be perfectly ok. If you let that influence your opinion on a cooking show i have no further reason to keep reading this list.