Whether you're watching Top Chef on the elliptical machine or trying to avoid Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern at dinnertime, let's face it: food TV shows are everywhere. Millions of viewers are tuning in to learn Giada de Laurentiis perfect her Bolognese recipe or watch incredulously as Adam Richman conquers a 72-ounce steak. So is food TV becoming too little like Baking with Julia and too much like Celebrity Rehab? Here's a list of our Top 10 favorite TV food shows. As always, let us know if we missed something or you seriously disagree. Why can't they invent Smell-O-Vision already.
Not for those with a weak gag reflex, Bizarre Food's host Andrew Zimmern is a man with an iron stomach. From slurping down llama brains, shooting a frog's still-beating heart like an oyster and (literally) eating termites out of house and home, Zimmern is traveling the world to find the world's most bizarre foods. (Travel Channel)
9. Ace of Cakes
What do power drills, blow torches, fondant and buttercream have in common? They're all in a day's work at Baltimore's Charm City Cakes. Owned by rock musician turned cake decorator Duff Goldman and staffed by his network of artsy friends, Charm City Cakes is one of the most innovative and sought-after bakeries in the U.S. From a giant replica of Star Trek's USS Enterprise to a 4-foot long English Mastiff and a nearly perfect rendition of Harry Potter's Hogwarts school, there's no cake this "Ace" can't make. (Food Network)
Diners Drive In & Dives -- or "Triple D," as host Guy Fieri calls it -- travels the country in search of America's favorite greasy spoons. Forget corporate chains; Triple D puts the spotlight back on the hard-working men, women and families manning some of our nation's best local food joints. Love thin-crust pizza? Go to Anchorage. What about Greek diners? Head to the Mojave desert. If it's off the beaten path and full of great food, Guy will find it. (Food Network)
Public TV's darling, America's Test Kitchen works through the trial and error of recipe development, cooking techniques and proper kitchen gadget use in front of 2 million viewers per episode. Host Christopher Kimball and guest chefs take a practical approach while working in Cooks' Illustrated Magazine's test kitchen, whipping up a batch of common sense to save viewers time, money and frustration in their own kitchen. (PBS)
Forget the US knock-off, we're going back to Ramsay's UK original series. Ramsay takes a tough love approach in helping struggling restaurant owners realize their potential. Whether it's firing line cooks, giving oblivious owners a reality check or making his point clear via a chain of obscenities, Ramsay get restaurants to back to their best by pointing out their worst. (BBC)
5. Man v. Food
Think you've got a big appetite? Think again. Watch Adam Richman as he takes on some of the country's (al)most impossible eating challenges. Polishing off a 72-ounce steak with baked potato, side salad and dinner roll? Child's play. What about literally eating the kitchen sink, filled with five pounds of ice cream? A sweet success. Not to mention several man versus fire challenges, where it's Adam's stomach battling the hottest of the Scoville scale. Ghost chiles, anyone? (Travel Channel)
America's take on Japan's original hit series, Iron Chef America pits world class chefs against the superstar Iron Chefs of America: Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, Masahara Morimoto and Michael Symon. Set in famed Kitchen Stadium with one hour and one secret ingredient to work with, these chefs put it all on the line in hopes to walk away with the most prestigious title of all: Iron Chef. (Food Network)
Hosted by infamously grumpy and quick-witted Anthony Bourdain, the Emmy Award-winning No Reservations explores the people, places and cuisines that define far-reaching corners of the globe. Bourdain's appreciation of how and why foreign cultures eat what they do is innate, as is his refusal to succumb to middle age or the temptations of a life-long smoking habit. (Travel Channel)
2. Good Eats
Anthropology meets food science meets gosh-darn good food. Hosted by Alton Brown, Good Eats makes learning about food fun. Curious about how meringue stays fluffy? Let Alton's oversized slice of lemon meringue pie explain. Interested in specific measuring techniques? Look no further than Alton's trusty digital scales. Afraid of garlic? So is Count Dracula, who makes a guest appearance in Good Eats' garlic-themed episodes. If you're looking for light-hearted humor with a heavy dose of cooking know-how, Good Eats is the show for you. (Food Network)
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1. Top Chef
Hosted by Padma Lakshmi and judged by Craft's Tom Colicchio, et. al., Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series Top Chef is our number one food TV show. Now approaching its seventh season and a second season of spin-off Top Chef Masters, Top Chef offers viewers an insightful look into the uber-competitive world of best-in-class cooking. With seventeen would-be winners and a star-studded panel of guest judges - Wolfgang Puck, Daniel Boulud and Paul Bartolotta, to name a few - Top Chef walks the walk and talks the talk. (Bravo)