Top 5 Reality Cooking Competitions
RealityA cooking competitions serve up some of the best viewings on TV. You get the joy of watching chefs at war with each other (and all the backstabbing, egomania and melt-downs that go with it)A andA you get to see their innovative solutions to challenges. Plus their final creations are far more mouth-watering than any collection.
Here are the five best reality cooking competitions on TV:
Since 2006, Bravo’s has pitted numerous rising chefs in competition against each other in challenges that test their culinary skills and creativity. Three colorful judges and unique challenges make the show a fulfilling creation.Each episodes features a Quickfire and Elimination challenge. A fan favorite is Restaurant Wars, the elimination challenge where two teams launch pop-up restaurants. The top three chefs of the season compete in the finale for the chance to win $200,000 (previously $100,000) and an editorial feature inA Food & Wine Magazine.
WhileA Top ChefA focuses on established, professional chefs, Fox’sA MasterChefA features amateur and home cooks. One hundred chefs cook their signature dish but only fourteen will really compete. Contestants must meet challenges like cooking with strange ingredients and recreating a unusual dishes. The judges are vineyard owner Joe Bastianich; chef Graham Ellio and a kinder, gentlerA Hell’s KitchenA chef Gordon Ramsay.
If you like to imagine world-renowned chefA Gordon RamsayA as a strict but loving father-figure mentor, watchA MasterChef. If you prefer to watch an acidic, bile-spewing Ramsay put aspiring chefs through incomparable challenges and then be brutally honest in assessing their flaws–and when I say ‘honest’ I mean ‘devastating’–thenA Hell’s KitchenA is the show for you. There’s a reason I rankedA MasterChefA higher: I’m tired of the verbal abuse that passes for criticism. Still, there is something undeniably compelling about the Fox cooking competition or it wouldn’t have survived for so long.
The Next Iron ChefA is a spin-off of Food Network’sA Iron Chef AmericaA and submits ten highly successful chefs to food challenges in locales around the globe. The finale pits the top two contestants against each other in the Food Network’s Kitchen Stadium, where the winner is declared a new Iron Chef and can compete onA Iron Chef America.
FormerA Queer Eye for the Straight GuyA culinary expert, Ted Allen, hosts this Food Network cooking competition, where chefs compete by cooking three course meals. The twist–that each course must include ingredients from a mystery box–leads to delightful creations as chefs struggle with incorporating things like Animal Crackers and seaweed. But also features a fresh batch of cooking contenders each episode, so viewers never have the chance to get to know them or root for favorites through a full season.
HONORABLE MENTION: SPIN-OFFS
Like most movie sequels,A realityA spin-offs rarely succeed in recreating the magic of their predecessors. But there are a few that have managed to beat the odds. Here are three reality cooking competition spin-offs as engaging as the shows that spawned them:
Top Chef: Just Desserts: A logical spin-off fromA Top Chef–where season after season, chefs where taken down by failed desserts–this competition follows pastry chefs delivering mouth-watering creations.
Iron Chef America: Sure, Food Network’sA Iron Chef AmericaA gave birth toA Next Iron Chef, but before that it was itself a spin-off of the Japanese original. It features cook-offs between some of the best chefs in America, including Cat Cora and Bobby Flay.
Top Chef Masters: Similarly, thisA Top ChefA progeny stars world-renowned chefs. Each week chefs compete against each other, and one is eliminated until the finale where the remaining chefs have a cook-off for the $100,000 grand prize (which is donated to the charity of their choice).
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