The Top 100 Cooking Shows of All-Time

Posted by Vincent

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1. Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home
Entertainment: 3
Education: 3
Tastiness: 3
Broadcast: PBS 1999-2000

The whole was truly greater than the sum of the parts when these two titans shared the camera. This undeniably entertaining and informative show was in a league of its own, as were hosts Julia Child and Jacques Pépin.

These two great chefs were so fun to watch because they were so sure of thesmelves and seemed so comfortabe in the kitchen whipping up gourmet meals.

Julia Child, of course, is the most famous American chef of all time, having introduced French cooking in the 1960s to mainstream America via her wildly-successful cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and her long-running TV show "The French Chef."

Popular portrayals and caricatures of Julia abounded over the last forty years, leaving the public's impression of Julia as a jumble of truth and exaggerated reality.

But see her original shows for the most accurate representation — she could captivate with her mastery of French cooking techniques, while at the same time entertaining and putting the viewer-student at ease.

Jacques Pépin may not be as familiar to the casual, modern-day cooking show viewer. But Jacques is on of the most renowned chefs in the world, having written the "bible of French Cooking" — "La Technique."

Jacques turned his success as an author, coupled with his winning on-screen demeanor, into several successful TV shows. "The Complete Pépin" was his first, while "Fast Food My Way" and "More Fast Food My Way" are still seen occasionally around the dial.

We'll leave you with just one more look at this perfect cooking show below.

Even More Great Cooking Shows

Did we forget a show? Let us know if you think we might have dissed your favorite program.

Of course, the top 100 is a pretty exclusive list. There are tons of cooking shows on the air that didn't make our cut. Some of them are even pretty good. In particular, it's worth mentioning that we couldn't find any clips of some of the earliest TV chefs (e.g. Moira Meighn, Marcel Boulestin and The Bontempis). What a shame to think that these potential treasures might be lost forever. If you've got a lead on those shows, please do let us know.

22 Responses

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

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  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?

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

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  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:

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  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. » 100 Top TV Cooking Shows Says:

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  21. Hielke Says:

    I kinda miss my favorite show featuring Heston Blumenthal.

  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.