Cooking show

A cooking show, cookery show,[1] or cooking program (also spelled cooking programme in British English) is a television genre that presents food preparation, often in a restaurant kitchen or on a studio set, or at the host's personal home. Typically the show's host, often a celebrity chef, prepares one or more dishes over the course of an episode, taking the viewing audience through the food's inspiration, preparation, and stages of cooking. Due to time and production constraints, most, if not all, cooking shows employ filming shortcuts such as video editing, food modeling and photography, and prepared ingredients to speed up the cooking process and ensure a smooth and seamless production.[2][3]

A cook from the US Navy on a local Minneapolis TV show in 2010.

Cooking shows have been a popular staple of daytime TV programming since the earliest days of television.[4] They are generally very inexpensive to produce, making them an economically easy way for a TV station to fill a half-hour (or sometimes 60-minute) time slot.

A number of cooking shows have run for many seasons, especially when they are sponsored by local TV stations or by public broadcasting. Many of the more popular cooking shows have had flamboyant hosts whose unique personalities have made them into celebrities.


Many cooking shows are oriented towards instructional material. Some additionally focus on showcasing the personal lives of the host, while some, such as the Rachael Ray Show, blend the genre with a talk show format. There are also reality competitions within the genre (such as Iron Chef, MasterChef and others), where contestants are instructed to prepare meals within specific requirements under a time limit, for evaluation by a panel of judges (which can include celebrity chefs and other notable personalities).

Cooking shows such as Top Chef and MasterChef are geared towards competition. There are also reality cooking shows such as Chopped and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Chefs A' Field and Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat are documentary cooking shows.


Until the 1940s, most cooking shows were performed on the radio.[5] The first radio cooking show in the United States, The Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air, debuted in 1924 and featured the fictional character Betty Crocker.[6]

United KingdomEdit

One of the first television cooking shows, Cook's Night Out, aired on the BBC on 21 January 1937.[7][8][9] Marcel Boulestin, who became famous in the English-speaking world for his cookery books on French cuisine, demonstrated the preparation of an omelet as part of the 15-minute program.[7][9]

United StatesEdit

In 1940, Sunday Evening Supper was produced by Edward Padula for the NBC station W2XBS.[1] I Love to Eat was a live television series hosted by James Beard that aired on NBC from 1946–47. In 1963, The French Chef was launched, and was one of the first cooking shows in the United States. It was hosted by Julia Child, author of the cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

In 1973, the cooking show Frugal Gourmet was launched on KTPS-TV, and was hosted by Jeff Smith, a chef from Seattle.[10]

In 1993, Food Network launched as a cable channel devoted primarily to cooking shows and other programming relating to food.


The Chef Presents, one of the first cooking shows in Australia, ran from 1957 until 1959 and was hosted by Willi Koeppen.[11][12] The Jean Bowring Show, a cooking show aimed at women, aired from 1957 to 1960.[12]


In 1953, Jean d'Arcy, a French television director, was inspired by a cooking show in West Germany and brought the idea to France, resulting in the debut of the show Les Recettes de M. X (English: "The Recipes of Mr. X").[13][14]

Les Recettes de M. X, hosted by comedian Georges Adet, was the first cooking show to air in France, starting in 1953 and ending a year later.[14] Art et magie de la cuisine (English: "Art and Magic of the Kitchen"), hosted by chef Raymond Oliver, was another one of the first cooking shows to air in France, running from 1954 to 1967.[15]


On 20 February 1953, Clemens Wilmenrod bittet zu Tisch ('"dinner is served"'), the first cooking show in then-West Germany, was broadcast, with television chef Clemens Wilmenrod presenting recipes for foods such as Rumtopf and Toast Hawaii.[16]


In 1953, Mikaku no Shiori (Japanese: 味覚のしおり), one of the first cooking shows in Japan, was broadcast, with Hatsuko Kuroda presenting chicken salad.[17][18]

Popular cultureEdit

Sue Ann Nivens, a character played by Betty White in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, is the host of WJM's The Happy Homemaker, a fictional cooking show. In the Family Guy episode "Pilling Them Softly", Quagmire starts his own cooking show called "Quagmire's Kitchen".

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Robertson, Patrick (2011). Robertson's Book of Firsts: Who Did What for the First Time. ISBN 9781608197385. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  2. ^ Jitchotvisut, Janaki (31 March 2020). "8 secrets about how famous cooking shows are filmed". Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  3. ^ Lackey, Jackson (15 November 2018). "What they don't show you on celebrity cooking shows". Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  4. ^ "TV Cooking Shows: The Evolution of a GenreKathleen Collins / John Jay College, CUNY – Flow".
  5. ^ Fetini, Alyssa (14 May 2009). "The Evolution of TV Cooking". Time. Retrieved 7 August 2018. ... cooking programs, which began on the radio and transitioned to television in the 1940s ...
  6. ^ "Agnes White Tizard". Valley Center History Museum. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  7. ^ a b Novy, Beatrix (21 January 2012). "Fünf-Gänge-Menü in der Röhre". Deutschlandfunk (in German). Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  8. ^ "21. Januar 1937 - Erster Auftritt eines Fernsehkochs". WDR (in German). 21 January 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  9. ^ a b "BBC Genome". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  10. ^ Blake, Judith (10 July 2004). "Jeff Smith, 1939 - 2004: "Frugal Gourmet" was popular on PBS". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Whatever happened to Willi Koeppen?". Television.AU. 18 August 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  12. ^ a b Youngman, Philip (8 June 2016). ""Here's one I prepared earlier" – A cooking on Australian television timeline". Aussie Cuisine. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  13. ^ Audigier, Anne (5 April 2017). "Les émissions culinaires, une bonne vieille recette". France Inter (in French). Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  14. ^ a b Bourdin, Léo (14 February 2017). "Une histoire française des émissions de cuisine à la télé". Munchies (in French). Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Les émissions de cuisine qui ont changé la télé française". Food Powa (in French). 15 December 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  16. ^ Wystrichowski, Cornelia (20 February 2018). "Vor 65 Jahren wurde die erste deutsche Kochshow ausgestrahlt". Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  17. ^ "料理番組の日の由来と面白い雑学、1月21日の今日は何の日?". 雑学.com (in Japanese). 19 July 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  18. ^ "今日は何の日 1月". studio FOUR (in Japanese). Retrieved 16 March 2019.

Further readingEdit

  • Collins, Kathleen (2009). Watching What We Eat: The Evolution of Television Cooking Shows. Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Brost, Lori F. (2000). "Television Cooking Shows: Defining the Genre". Indiana University. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • Kelly, Casey Ryan (2017). Food Television and Otherness in the Age of Globalization. Lexington Books. ISBN 978-1-4985-4444-3.