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Top Reality Cooking Shows You Should Be Watching

These days, reality cooking shows serve up the best food, and the best drama, with TV networks scrambling to release the next big thing. While these so-called reality shows are anything but real, they continue to fascinate audiences around the world. Celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsey, Bobby Flay, and Padma Lakshmi have managed to add an element of sophistication and style to cooking, with many amateur and professional chefs throwing on the best restaurant uniforms and heading to the kitchen. Here we take a look at some of the most popular and highly entertaining 'reality' cooking shows and competitions;

Top Chef

Top Chef was launched back in 2006 on Bravo and continues to be the leading cooking competition on TV. Rising chefs are pitted against each other in various challenges and elimination round, with the winner walking away with $200,000 and a feature in Food & Wine magazine. Expect plenty of mouth-watering dishes, drama, backstabbing, and tears as contestants' culinary skills and creativity are put to the ultimate test.
Master Chef

While Top Chef is aimed at professional or established chefs, Master Chef focusses on amateur or home cooks looking for a chance to show off their skills. Hundreds of home cooks are asked to make their signature dishes, with the best of the bunch being chosen to compete for the ultimate prize - $250 000 and their very own cookbook. Aired on Fox, what makes MasterChef even more compelling is the addition of top celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey, who uses his own brand of humiliation and intimidation to add some much-needed drama and intensity to the show. Joining him in judging the would-be chefs are vineyard owner Joe Bastianich and chef Graham Elliot.

Hell's Kitchen

This is Gordon Ramsey's signature show and should be avoided unless you love the sight and sound of the celebrity chef spewing insults and verbally abusing wannabe chefs as they go through various challenges and dinner services. Ramsey's criticism is brutally honest and downright humiliating, but it is hard to feel sorry for a group of chefs who clearly knew what they were getting into as Hell's Kitchen has been around since 2005.

The Next Iron Chef

spin-off from another cooking show gem, the Food Network's Iron Chef, this show sees ten highly successful chefs perform various food challenges at different venues around the world. In the grand finale, the top two contestants are pitted against each other for the ultimate showdown in the Food Network's Kitchen Stadium. The winner will get a chance to compete on Iron Chef America.


Former Queer Eye for a Straight Guy culinary expert Ted Allen hosts this cooking show where chefs compete by cooking three-course meals. The twist? Each course must be made using the ingredients from a mystery box. As you can imagine, this leads to some delightful and strange creations as chefs try to make do with a range of weird and wacky ingredients. With new contenders in every episode, things move at a fun pace.