Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

2009: Foodie Shows


As 2009 speeds toward the finish line, I’ll be posting some rather silly list-style year-in-review posts, possibly more for my benefit than for yours. (Sorry about that.)


Why do I love cooking contest shows when I myself do not cook? I have no idea. Perhaps, as is the case with so many of the other shows I watch, I enjoy getting a detailed look into an obsession about which I know very little.

1. Top Chef
Still my favorite of the foodie contests, even though this season still hasn’t wrapped up. (Go, Kevin!) I think the quality of contestants was extremely high this year, and the amount of snarkiness extremely low. Result? Lots of emphasis on the food.

2. Next Food Network Star
I enjoy this one more for the insight into TV casting/production than for the food. I like that backstabbers never win, because in order to win you must be likable on *and off* camera. You’re building a cult of personality, not just a cooking show. I was happy with this season’s winner, though I have yet to check out her show.

3. Iron Chef America
Alas, the American version of this fantastic Japanese show has never fully won me over. What can I say? I miss Chairman Kaga. But Alton Brown is awesome, and I still really enjoy watching the madness once in a while.

4. Chopped
I don’t Tivo this one, but I do watch it when I stumble across it, especially when I’m tired. I think Ted Allen is a bit dull as the host, and I find the judges way too obnoxious for my liking. But still, I like the cooking parts. I wish there were more female competitors and more female winners.

5. Chef Academy
I’ve caught just two episodes of this new show, but I am attracted to instructor Jean Christophe Novelli’s obvious passion for food and teaching. I also like that the show teaches more basic cooking, so I feel like I actually learned a few things while I watched.

6. Hell’s Kitchen
Although this is a favorite among my friends, I just don’t like it. I don’t like the brutality of it, and the show’s format gives the contestants less time to actually show off their cooking. Seems more like a reality show than a cooking show to me. (For the record, I have enjoyed episodes of Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant-saving show in the past.)

Now that you have my opinion, I want yours!

About the author

Jenn Reese


  • I think you mean "Project" Runway, but I like your version better. "Operation Runway" sounds like a spy show!

By Jenn Reese
Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

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