The 30 Worst Cooking Shows of All-Time

Posted by Vincent

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10. Dinner and a Movie
Entertainment: 1
Education: 1
Tastiness: 1
Broadcast: TBS 1995-

Dinner and a Movie used to be a passable program with a couple of likeable hosts and some good food. But now it seems they've abandoned their whimsical, educational approach to cinema and cuisine with embarrassingly sophomoric rap songs about Ceviche. The result is a flop.

9. Dutch Oven and Camp Cooking
Entertainment: 1
Education: 1
Tastiness: 0
Broadcast: KWSU 1999-2000

Cee Dub Welch, a Northwest native, teaches how one can make nearly anything using a dutch oven. His show is mildly entertaining, but the relevance to anybody not worried about the impending apocalypse is next to none.

8. The Naughty Kitchen with Chef Blythe Beck
Entertainment: 0
Education: 1
Tastiness: 1
Broadcast: Oxygen 2009-

Oxygen tries to break into cooking shows with this travesty. Like many cooking shows of this type, skill is substituted with drama and creativity with baseless cursing.

The characters are shallow and contrived and it's probably not possible to care about them or their plight any less.

7. Dinner: Impossible
Entertainment: 0
Education: 1
Tastiness: 0
Broadcast: Food Network 2007-

For your average viewer perhaps Dinner: Impossible would be truly impossible, but with an almost infinite budget and some of the biggest chefs in the celebrity chefdom the challenges don't seem too insurmountable and the show loses its only real draw.

6. Grillin' and Chillin'
Entertainment: 0
Education: 0
Tastiness: 1
Broadcast: Food Network 1996

Flay is tolerable in this, his first cooking show, but his sidekick, Jack McDavid, is so unbearably stupid and annoying it makes the show impossible to watch.

It's obvious Flay is trying his best up there and he's still got that new-to-TV look, but McDavid is such an overbearing, offish buffoon so intent on trying to make himself relevant or at least amusing that he far overshadows Flay's attempts to keep the show marching on.

5. Capital Cooking
Entertainment: 0
Education: 0-5
Tastiness: 0
Broadcast: Dish Network 2008-

This exclusively East Coast cooking show is painfully East Coast with its unfounded pomposity and the terrible elevator music that plays throughout the duration of the show.

The recipes are wholly unoriginal and the program could benefit from running through a few takes before going straight to air. I guess that's what happens on the East Coast?

4. Guy's Big Bite
Entertainment: 0-5
Education: 0
Tastiness: 0
Broadcast: Food Network 2006-

To understand why Guy Fieri is such a popular cooking personality is no easy task. His jokes are uninspired, his meals are little more than bar food and his hair is so blindingly white he could light a darkened room.

Guy is no chef, he's a line cook who stumbled off his line after too many Jell-O shots.

3. Barbecue America
Entertainment: 0
Education: 0
Tastiness: 0-5
Broadcast: PBS 2003-

Rick Browne's Barbecue America has an interesting premise: how to grill EVERYTHING, but the gimmick jumps the shark when he attempts to barbecue pot stickers. He would've been better off grilling jumped shark.

2. Celebrity Cooking Showdown
Entertainment: 0-5
Education: 0
Tastiness: 0
Broadcast: NBC 2006

This instant flop hosted by Alan Thicke of Growing Pains fame was a disaster from the get go.

The "series", which only lasted about four episodes, was cut short due to its weak celebrity power and overplayed drama. It's a format that worked for Iron Chef but just couldn't get started by NBC. And thank God for that.


14 Responses

  1. Lex Says:

    Bitchin’ Kitchen belongs on that list.

    And Five Ingredient Fix should have been a finalist. Claire Robinson is every bit as repulsive as Paula Deen.

  2. Billy Says:

    The Neeleys definitely belong on the 30 Worst list because of their silly dialogue and behavior on the show.

  3. bookseller Says:

    Vincent,

    If you want to write professionally, you might want to learn the definition of “buxom,” the correct usage of “substitute,” and why it’s a good idea to make subject, objects, and verbs agree in terms of pluralization (i.e., X and Y ARE the “means” and “ends” — and the reason it’s a good idea is that if you don’t do this, your writing is subliterate).

    Additionally, if you want to write about food, you might want to discard the hackneyed old stereotypes about English food and actually taste some.

  4. James Boelter Says:

    I think that “Chopped” should be in there somewhere, or at least #31. The show is the final unmistakable sight that Food Network has run the whole “cooking contest” format/reality show right into the ground.

  5. Bookseller reader Says:

    Buxom: “vigorously or healthily plump; specifically: full-bosomed”

    Seems about right to me.

  6. Chiffonade Says:

    I fully intended to read your list but you began with Barefoot Contessa on a list of BAD cooking shows and that really makes me question your judgment.

  7. a1sauce3 Says:

    Thank you for pointing out the obvious!!! I could not agree more with your list. I would like to add one if I could. Bitchin’ Kitchen. My friend and I stumbled across this one evening and thought it was a Saturday Night Live episode. I found my mouth wide open in complete shock. The episode we saw was ‘the Break up meal’ It’s definitely worth the watch.

  8. Mary P. Says:

    Justin Wilson and his affectations as authentic Cajun? Hell’s Kitchen and the Neely’s on the ‘Best’ list, Ina Garten on the ‘Worst’, and an altogether MIA Sara Moulton??? In defense of Ina, Sara (and Giada), every dish I’ve tried has turned out great and I’ve learned something from all of their shows. Of course best and worst lists are all highly subjective.

  9. Marie-pierre Says:

    I disagree with some on the list. I think it’s great that there are so many varieties of cooking shows out there. Let’s face it… we can’t have every show looking the same — people are NOT interested. I am glad that a younger generation of people are getting into cooking and some of these shows do just that. I like to think of myself as open-minded… some of you should try that.

    P.s I really love Bitchin’ Kitchen… loosen up a little!

  10. Michele Says:

    I’m curious to know which shows the author thinks are good shows, as almost every cooking show on TV is on this “bad” list………??

    Guy,Giada,Paula, Ina, Top Chef, Throwdown and Cooking for Real should not be on this list, IMO

  11. shocked Says:

    I am surprised at Great British Menu being on the list. It is probably one of the few shows that actually focuses on cooking and not the drama. It is entertaining in that it pits real Michelin starred chefs against each other for an honor cause and not for money or some other materialistic prize. Though British cooking gets a bad rap, it has some of the best chefs (for example, the Roux family) some of the finest restaurants in the world (The Fat Duck for one) and no less than 143 Michelin Stars.
    To hate on this, finest of food shows, makes me wonder if you’re ranking by drama and not by actually anything related to food. It is a delight to see that the chefs get a proper amount of time to create and perfect a dish instead of some silly challenge that requires them to make a 3 star meal out of yesterday’s garbage in less than 30 minutes. This show allows for the viewer to get a peek at some of the greatest chefs at work while getting an idea of their ideologies and influences. The BBC site even gives out the recipes for the more adventurous to try at home.
    I would recommend you try rewatching the series again and without the bigotry.

  12. Coffeegirl Says:

    LMAO! Your pick for #1 is on the money… I would push SL down a flight of stairs if I had the chance! I disagree with Barefoot Contessa and Top Chef, however. The former, because I love how she makes a mess and I’ve never made a recipe of hers that wasn’t delicious. Top Chef is just fun!

    Rachel Ray needs to be on the list…I’m just sick to death of her. Have you ever read Bourdain’s take on the Food Network’s shows/chefs? Here’s the link; truly priceless – http://ruhlman.com/2007/02/guest_blogging_.html

  13. Chad and Becky, It’s Mutherfucking Hater Tuesday! | Hater Tuesday Says:

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  14. Tori Says:

    Wow, super harsh! I personally love Ina Garten’s show, I find her voice relaxing and not the least bit condescending. Where is “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”? I don’t think there’s a redeeming quality to Giada, but Paula? Paula is Food Network queen! Yes, her foods are fatty and terrible for you, but how can you deny that the woman’s entertaining, and knows her stuff? And I gotta say, I love the competition shows (Next Food Network Star namely).