Reality cooking competitions serve up some of the best viewings on TV; you get the joys of watching chefs at war with each other, with the judges, with their food, and sometimes, even themselves. From big egos to the meltdowns that come with tight time deadlines, and the final mouth-watering creations (of course), it’s no wonder reality cooking competition shows have become a must-watch genre for the culinary curious. Here’s our pick of the best reality cooking shows out there!
1. Hell’s Kitchen
If you find watching a blunt and acidic Ramsay put aspiring chefs through tough challenges and then be brutally hypercritical in his critiques undeniably compelling, Hell’s Kitchen is the show for you.
The show sees two teams compete for the coveted position as a head chef at a prestigious restaurant. Every episode includes challenges, where the winning team receives a reward such as an afternoon off being pampered; meanwhile, the losing team are punished with a menial or disgusting task, like sifting through the garbage and separating waste. The main part, however, is a dinner service, where each team attempts to complete the service without getting kicked out of the kitchen and potentially, the show.
Hosted by a level-headed Ted Allen, this cooking competition pits four chefs against each other to cook different courses in three rounds. But it’s the twist that keeps viewers on their toes: the mystery basket! With anything from seaweed and animal crackers to chicken feet, chefs struggle to incorporate the ingredients from this mystery basket in an innovative way. Add the time factor to the mix and the nail-biting pressure is on. A panel of judges then eat and critique each dish, sending one contestant home after each round, until the last one standing wins a $10,000 prize.
3. Cake Wars
Anyone with a sweet tooth out there would agree that there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as watching cake artists and sugar sculptors competing to create delicious, over-the-top themed cakes. Other than getting to eat them, that is.
In Cake Wars, one of the most inspirational reality cooking shows, skilled bakers face off in the chance to have their cakes showcased at a special event and win an additional grand monetary prize. Each episode is centred around an event or theme, such as Star Wars or DC Comics, and consists of two rounds, which require contestants to choose the ingredients and use their vivid imagination, creativity and skills to make bombastic cake creations.
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