The Food Network’s Must-See TV


David Lang

Chopped after hours host Ted Allen discusses the April Fools day ingredients with chefs: Amanda Frietag, Geoffrey Zakarian and Alex Guarnaschelli, as seen on Food Network’s Chopped After Hours, Season 23.

Kristen Hunt, Writer

From mouth-watering dishes to intense competitions, Food Network is a channel with a series of entertaining shows involving challenges, cook-offs, and easy at-home recipes. The channel provides both interesting and fun shows that are worth the watch for aspiring cooks, or people that just love food. Though the majority of shows on the Food Network have all been pretty successful in their years, there are a select few that have really shined in popularity.

  1. Chopped  


Hosted by television persona Ted Allen, chopped is a fierce cooking game show in which four chefs battle to make a meal consisting of three factors: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. The chefs are required to make their dishes using the items given to them in the mystery basket, and at the end of each course, a panel of well-known judges taste each dish, and collectively eliminate, or “chop,” a contestant each round. The reigning chef takes home 10,000 dollars; and bragging rights, of course.

2. Food Network Star


An intense cook-off that has been on air since 2005, “Food Network Star” involves 12 chefs vying for a chance to host their own series on the Food Network. These contestants must show their skills by cooking meals, and presenting them on camera. It is very common in the show for the chefs to get nervous or tongue tied when presenting, often leading to their elimination– and an entertaining twist for viewers. The judges vary each season, but most recently, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis hosted and judged this competition. The lucky winner of the most recent season was Jason Smith.

3. Cutthroat Kitchen


This complicated, yet clever, show is one like no other. Hosted by the witty Alton Brown, “Cutthroat Kitchen” is a popular competition show that starts off four contestants with 25,000 dollars. The twist: each contestant is given the opportunity to use their given money to purchase different sabotages against the contestant of their choice in order take home the prize. The winner, however, must spend their money wisely, because whatever’s left in their pocket is what they take home.

4. Beat Bobby Flay


Another show hosted by Ted Allen, “Beat Bobby Flay” is an intense and fun cooking show in which two contestants battle for a chance to cook against celebrity chef and restaurateur, Bobby Flay. After each round, a panel of judges taste and decide who will go against the famous Flay. After a contestant is given the chance to battle Flay, a different panel of judges perform a blind taste test to determine the winner. Unsurprisingly, it is very rare that Bobby Flay loses. What would you expect?

5. Kids Baking Championship


It’s truly amazing to watch talented bakers create amazing dishes while under the pressure of constant camera angles, judges, and being filmed for all to see– especially when some of these bakers are only 9 years old. “Kids Baking Championship” is a competition involving a group of twelve children (ranging in age from 9 to twelve) who undergo a series of different challenges to showcase their outstanding baking ability. Each week a contestant is eliminated until three face a final third round.The winning baker earns the title of “Kids Baking Champion” and 25,0000 dollars. The show is hosted by Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman.

6. Guy’s Grocery Games


Hosted by one of Food Network’s most well-known personalities, Guy Fieri, “Guy’s Grocery Games” is one creative, and somewhat crazy challenge. Like the other aforementioned cookoffs, the show starts off with four contestants who compete in different rounds and are later judged. The contestants are required to get their ingredients in the mini grocery store provided by Fiere, and they must follow the rules of a specific theme picked by him. For example, one round may require contestants to grab items only starting with the letter “P” or “F.” As you can tell, this is certainly not for anyone with bad spelling skills.

7. Chopped Junior

Any “Chopped” fan knows how hard it must be dealing with the pressure and confusing food items given to them on the show. “Chopped Junior” provides the exact same rules and regulations as the popular show, except this tough competition invites young chefs to the chopping block.

8. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives


Another popular and long lasting show hosted by Guy Fieri, “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” takes its viewers on a trip in Fieri’s famous red convertible to America’s best diners, pubs, and dessert shops. In the show, Guy talks to the locals of each place he visits, and gets to know the chefs and staff of each restaurant. You get to see how these famous foods are made and why they’re so beloved amongst customers. “Triple D” is one of the most well-known shows on the Food Network, and has been on since 2007.

9. Cooks vs. Cons

Do you have what it takes to tell a cook from a con-artist? “Cooks vs. Cons” is another competition show hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian that focuses on the competition of two amateur and professional chefs that face off for a money prize. After preparing their dish, a group of judges must take a guess at who they think is the professional cook and who they think is the amateur. Despite who is and isn’t a real cook, a con can still be a winner if they make a dish superior to the pro’s. In fact, if a con wins, they get a prize of 15,000 dollars, while a cook, however gets only 10,000 dollars.

If any of these shows seem the slightest bit appealing to you, chances are after watching one episode you won’t be able to stop…and that’s a good thing, right? Make sure to tune into the Food Network, or check out for more info on show times, and hundreds of recipes to try at home.