Whether you love to witness the successes or the mistakes, competitive cooking shows are an entertaining way to watch chefs prepare your favorite dishes and inspire new culinary experiences within a time limit.
There is no shortage of competitive cooking shows and it’s easy to find one that fits your niche. Here is a list of must-see cooking shows to get you started:
Viewers who are new to competitive cooking shows should include Food Network’s Chopped in your required viewing. The show has lasted 51 seasons and continues to outshine the competition. Four experienced chefs compete by turning a basket of mystery ingredients into a three-course meal for the grand prize of $10,000.
Chopped remains popular because of the talented chefs and the entertaining challenges. The kitchen is chaotic and competitive, and it’s probably the closest you’ll ever come to peeking inside a real restaurant kitchen.
American Barbecue Showdown
American Barbecue Showdown aims to crown America’s barbecue champion. Eight backyard barbecuers compete for $2500 and bragging rights in a series of barbecue and smoking challenges over one season of eight episodes.
American Barbecue Showdown includes everything you would hope for in a backyard barbecue experience. The chefs work pork, chicken, ribs, and beef brisket into familiar presentations such as barbecue combo plates and a Fourth of July feast. The show creators also push the contestants outside of their comfort zone by challenging the chefs with exotic dishes such as alligator and a crackling beaver tail.
Guy’s Grocery Games
For a cooking competition that begins with a frantic supermarket race, look to Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games. Contestants compete in a three-round elimination to win up to $20,000. The show has been entertaining fans for 29 seasons with its unique cooking challenges.
Once the competition has been laid out, the contestants have 30 minutes to race through the supermarket aisles and complete their challenge within the time limit. The pacing of the show keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.
Best Leftovers Ever!
Staring into your fridge at the leftovers can leave you feeling uninspired. The Netflix series Best Leftovers Ever! pulls double-duty by entertaining you and showing you fun and creative ways to engage with your leftover food. The show invites home cooks to stretch their skills and compete for a $10,000 prize over one season and eight episodes.
The cooks are challenged to work with leftovers from common themes such as potluck dinners and game day appetizers, and they somehow transform children’s party leftovers into a lavish brunch! You’ll never look at yesterday’s options the same after watching Best Leftovers Ever!
If you like your cooking show with a side of failure, check out Nailed It on Netflix. Amateurs with no cooking experience compete to copy epic baked confections with elaborate details. It’s always a massive failure and host Nicole Byers’ snarky quips make the show endlessly funny.
Another great feature of Nailed It is that it’s a family-friendly option. The lighthearted approach to botched baking attempts will keep the whole family laughing with each episode of the six seasons.