The Best Cooking TV Shows of All Time

If you want to inspire your cooking and reinvigorate your palate, it might be time to check out a new cooking TV show. Since Julia Child burst on to the scene in 1963, we’ve turned to chefs on our TV screens to help us learn new skills, teach us about unique and rare ingredients, and inspire us with succulent dishes prepared right before our eyes.

Now, the next generation of chefs like David Chang and Jamie Oliver are bringing international cuisine right into our living rooms and are taking us on journeys to the far reaches of the globe to help us understand where our food comes from.

Here are some of the best cooking shows in the world.

The French Chef

Even though this show hasn’t been on the air for 45 years, Julia Child has to be given her due as the Queen of the Kitchen. She inspired generations of people with her no-nonsense recipes, and on her show The French Chef, she demonstrated how American home cooks could recreate classic French recipes with ease. The show was done live-to-videotape, meaning occasional mistakes were made — which she always turned into charming “teachable moments.”

Although the show focused on simple, easy recipes like omelettes, French onion soup, and roast chicken, she occasionally featured a showstopper like a soufflé or Beef Wellington.


America’s Test Kitchen

This show was originally a production from the team that put out the magazine Cook’s Illustrated and was hosted by the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Christopher Kimball. The show ran for 16 seasons with Kimball at the helm before he left to pursue other projects and is now in its 17th season.

America’s Test Kitchen focuses on recipes optimized for home chefs. They’re overwhelmingly American favorites, but occasionally they’ll delve into other cuisines and put their own spin on a classic dish. They also have several segments throughout the show where they review and blind test kitchen gadgets and ingredients.

The Mind of a Chef

This PBS series focuses on the brains behind the kitchen. The Mind of a Chef follows a different master chef every season, and spends several episodes trying to understand their cooking philosophy.

Narrated and produced by Anthony Bourdain, the show has featured chefs David Chang, Sean Brock, April Bloomfield, Edward Lee, Magnus Nilsson, Gabrielle Hamilton, David Kinch, and Ludo Lefebvre. Although each episode is between 23 and 25 minutes, the seasons each span at least eight episodes, while some seasons have up to 16 episodes, each focused on a different aspect of the chef’s style, taste, and history.

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