July 13, 2012

Foodie Friday: Foodie Reality TV

Here's a confession, I'm a sucker for reality television and it's starting to consume my DVR. My favorite shows are cooking-related reality shows and I'm hungry every time I watch an episode and it's given me some false-confidence about my cooking ability.

Here are some of my favorites:
  • Top Chef - This is probably my all time favorite show on television even though it's not currently in season. When a new season starts my hubby and I pick favorites and bet on their success throughout the competition. We've watched it so much we've even learned a couple key kitchen techniques. For example, we learned how to correctly chop an onion and a bell pepper. I've been watching it since the first season and it's not uncommon to hear one of us make a comment about how we're going to "Top Chef it up in the kitchen." The top item on my bucket list is to be a judge for one of their competitions (heaven*).

  • Around the World in 80 Plates - It's another, newer Bravo cooking show that mixes two of my favorite things; cooking and traveling. I love watching the chef's dive into a culture unfamiliar to them and recreate traditional dishes from whatever country or city they're visiting.

  • The Next Food Network Star - This show mixes the idea of have a TV-friendly personality and the ability to cook. Of all the shows I watch this one is focused more on the entertainment aspects but I love how relatable the contestants are and how you find yourself really cheering for their success. They also work in cooking tips and entertaining ideas that are actually tremendously helpful. Plus, this is the show that propelled Guy Fieri into fame and who doesn't love him?
  • Master Chef - Gordon Ramsay continues his culinary domination with this show in which at-home-chefs compete to be the next Master Chef (and take home $250,000). I really love this one because the contestants aren't experts with years of culinary training. They're average people who love to cook, just like me!

All of these shows share a couple common themes, food being the obvious one but another one is that there's always a competition to recreate, simplify or perfect a dish. After watching so many of these shows I have a couple competition ideas of my own:

  • Crock Pot Dinners - Help a working girl out and inspire us with some culinary-magic in a slow cooker and not the kind that have a million ingredients or take tons of prep time. Show me how to put together ingredients before I walk out the door in the morning so that when I walk in after work all most of the work is done.
  • Four Staple Ingredients - Show us how to use the same four staple ingredients in 3-5 different meal options. I'd love to pretend that I have a pantry like they do at Food Network but the truth is, I don't. But I do usually have chicken, bacon, pasta, eggs, broccoli... in my kitchen I'd love to learn how to make different meals from the same base so it doesn't always taste the same.
  • Two Pieces of Equipment - try a competition where the contestants only have two pieces of kitchen equipment like a blender and stove or a waffle maker and microwave.
Do you have any favorite cooking shows or ideas for great cooking competitions?

Thanks for reading.
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