Top Chef – Bravo
Food competition shows come and go, but Bravo’s Top Chef really sets the standard for them all with its addictive devotion to excellence, pitting chefs against each other in a format that simply keeps viewers tuning in night after night. Host Padma Lakshmi has become a staple of this fast-moving competition, which emphasizes quick thinking and problem solving to emulate the real world that these chefs would face in the restaurant industry. And it’s that devotion to grit and tenacity that both amps up the drama—but also educates the audience about just what it takes to be a top chef in this cutthroat environment. For the ones who survive, it’s an invaluable trial by fire. For those of us who watch, it’s just good TV.
BBQ Pitmasters – Destination America – Here we glimpse an intensely competitive world as some of the best names in barbecue face off for $50K. But it’s usually not about the money. Their pride is on the line, and it shows.
Iron Chef – Food Network – Just a solidly fun and entertaining format that includes fast paced action in “kitchen stadium” as some of the best chefs prepare 5-course meals in only an hour.