They've won numerous Emmys and have been recognized by their peers and critics. Food television shows are all around us. What happens in a network's studio influences our kitchens.
They cook, judge and critique. We listen. What makes these food television shows so compelling yet equally appealing is they call upon us to think deeply about food.
Our relationship to food is a complex one. All of us have our local favorites. We swear by mom's cooking. Some of us can roughly imitate the contestants on these shows. Others struggle with even the most basic of easy finger foods.
What we love about food television shows is they're truly about food. Food impacts our daily lives and it speaks volumes about our social circles. If there's any question how food shapes lives then just visit a grocery store on the other side of your town.
The finest gourmet snacks sitting on your neighborhood grocer's shelf may not be doing so just a few blocks or miles away. And there's also something we love about the best TV food shows: the foods are as diverse as are the contestants.
Here's a look at some of our favorite shows.
The Show. Bravo's Top Chef, features the judges, Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Emeril Lagasse, Gail Simmons and Hugh Acheson as judges.
Why we like it. Cheftestants are given a challenge with specific ingredients and a very specific time limit. We like to imagine we could easily recreate the gourmet food dishes.
Part of the fun of Top Chef is seeing how each of the contestants approach cooking say for a dinner party. All of the Top Chefs come from different backgrounds and value different styles of cooking. It's an energetic show where timing, talent and cooking under pressure matter.
Why we like it. The producers and show directors certainly understand the finer points of gourmet food.
The camera shooting and the editing are both impeccable. (Food is the most difficult subject to light and to shoot properly).
What Giada does especially well is explain her recipes and her process. The gourmet cooking approach isn't watered down as Giada teaches while she cooks. She is absolutely gracious as her friends and family appear on the show.
You'll find recipes perfect for throwing a dinner party, producing simply divine gourmet snacks and plenty of holiday meal suggestions.
The Show. The Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Host, Guy Fieri.
Why we like it. Who wouldn't want to travel throughout the United States tasting the best burgers and wings,BBQ and fresh gourmet salads throughout the land?
What's loveable about Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is it features the places you want to visit when you're on the road.
It's great to see a show with it's own stamp. Guy knows his audience. He's a down to earth fellow and you manage to learn a thing or two without realizing there's a lesson underway.
Who are some of your favorites? Who would you like to see in your kitchen?