What with all the traveling around Italy, Austria, and Slovakia, yet another blog post day has come around and I haven’t had a chance to cook something interesting enough to share. Instead, I thought I’d share another round-up of sorts. This time I’ll be sharing my favorite food-related television shows rather than recipes! There are some shows I find very inspiring, and others that I think are just plain entertaining to watch. Here are my top five food-related shows, in no particular order.
Food Network’s no-longer-airing show Ace of Cakes is the first food show I feel in love with. In the show, Duff Goldman and his Baltimore-based Charm City Cakes team create custom cakes in all shapes and sizes. Instead of the subplot of the giant Italian family that features in TLC’s similar show Cake Boss, Duff is a “bad boy” and his employees are totally quirky, and all seem to be best friends as well as co-workers. Special episodes included making cakes for the Superbowl, a Harry Potter movie premiere, and the Baltimore Zoo.
Another Food Network classic that I love is (you guessed it) Good Eats. Host Alton Brown talks through the chemistry of food, not just how to make things. Gimmicks that will totally draw you in are sock puppet yeast, a “food agent” (like an agent for an actor/actress), and plenty of silly plotlines. It’s educational and entertaining!
Ok, for now we’ll just keep going with my Food Network favorites. This one is actually still on TV so should you be so lucky to have cable, you can tune in…whenever it’s on next: Chopped. Chopped is a food competition show where four professional (but not celebrity) chefs compete in three rounds of challenges to see who is the most skilled and creative in the kitchen. At the beginning of each round, the chefs receive baskets of mystery ingredients that must be included in their dish. Each chef’s basket is exactly the same. Part of the fun is trying to decide what you would do if you received those ingredients! Here, go make dessert with ladyfingers, baby fennel, almond paste, and root beer jelly beans.
There are also two BBC shows make my top five list. First: The Great British Bake-Off. In this competition, contestants compete to be crowned with the title of “Britain’s Best Amateur Baker.” Over a series of several weeks, they work to prove their skills in various types of baking, like breads, pastries, and pies. For each category, the contestant must make a signature dish, a show-stopper, and follow a brand-new recipe which is then judged blind by judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry. This is a great show for being inspired to try new baked goods and there’s a bit of culinary history thrown in as well.
Lastly, another BBC show, this one off-the-air. This series combines two of my favorite things: cooking and history. In the series The Supersizers Go… and The Supersizers Eat… (I guess they are technically different shows, but really, they’re the same) food critic Giles Coren and comedian/broadcaster Sue Perkins go “back in time” to experience Britain’s culinary history. They spend a week exploring different eras, from Rome to the 1980s. While they also wear period clothes and attempt activities from that era, the focus is all on the food. It’s great for a laugh while still getting in your food fix.
What are your favorite food-related TV shows? I’d love to know!