Who says cooking shows aren’t as riveting as a regular TV drama you spend hours binge-watching on? Food reality cooking programs and competitions have their own version of drama with a mix of comedy and suspense. That’s why Australia has fallen in love with television programs like these. There are several shows that brilliantly capture the art of creating food, while others reel in audiences by turning the kitchen into an adrenaline-filled adventure. Whichever type of cooking show you like, free to air in Australia has it covered with so many options to choose from.
Hell’s Kitchen (BINGE, Foxtel Now)
Intense and show-stopping in nature, Hell’s Kitchen is hosted by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Each season, two teams of chefs compete to get the coveted head chef job at a restaurant. The show first premiered in 2005 but continues to dominate the cooking genre thanks to Ramsay being a formidable host.
MasterChef Australia (Channel 10)
MasterChef Australia has always been a major TV event since it launched in 2009. Fourteen seasons in and MasterChef Australia is still the country’s favourite cooking show. Based on the British series, MasterChef, the Australian version dons a different format from that of the original show but the goal remains the same – test the contestants’ food knowledge and preparation skills via tough challenges. The winner gets a $250 thousand cash prize, chef training from top professional chefs, and the chance to have their cookbook published. After Season 14 concluded last year, the show returns in 2022 with MasterChef Australia: Foodies vs Favourites.
Food Safari (SBS)
Presented by Maeve O’Meara, Food Safari explores the cuisines brought to Australia by its immigrants. Celebrating diversity through food, initial seasons featured a cuisine from a particular culture, delving into its ingredients and preparations. The latter seasons – Food Safari Fire, Food Safari Earth, and Food Safari Water covers Australian cuisine but with greater emphasis on the basic elements involved in preparation.
Bonacini’s Italy (Channel 7)
Pizza and pasta do not comprise the entirety of Italian cuisine as demonstrated by Chef Michael Bonacini. Embarking on a cooking journey across different regions in Italy, Chef Bonacini explores flavours and textures and ends up learning more about a particular place through their dishes and the art of creating them.
Family Food Fight (Channel 9)
Channel 9’s reality cooking competition features multi-generational Australian families from different walks of life as they battle each other in intense cooking challenges. What sets Family Food Fight apart from other cooking shows is that the challenges are inspired by genuine homemade meals and family food traditions. The winning family then wins a grand prize of $100 thousand.
Chef’s Table (Netflix)
In Chef’s Table, renowned international chefs share not only their culinary discipline, talent and skills, but also their personal journeys, intimate stories, and inspirations that fuel their marvellous creations. Chef’s Table is not only a popular streaming choice among food lovers, it’s also a widely lauded one with Emmy Awards and nominations under its belt.
The Chef’s Line (SBS)
Can passion beat expertise? This is the ultimate question that the SBS cooking program, The Chef’s Line, will answer for you. The show offers a spiced-up version of the typical cooking competitions in which home cooks compete against professional chefs. A cuisine is featured every week and the challenge is to create a personal version of a chosen dish, which will be judged by executive chef Dan Hong, food writer Melissa Leong, and chef Mark Olive in a blind-tasting segment.
My Kitchen Rules (Channel 7)
Turning the kitchen into a cooking battlefield is My Kitchen Rules. Hosted by top chefs Pete Evans and Manu Feildel, the show follows teams of home chefs as they compete against one another to create the best meals. The set is also staged for a more exhilarating competition since the contestants must also turn their homes into an instant restaurant that stands out in its theme and decorations.
Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam (SBS)
Acclaimed chef Luke Nguyen leaves his restaurant (The Red Lantern in Sydney, Australia) and returns to his nation of heritage, trekking across the country to explore every region’s food and the culture behind it. As he explores the streets of Hanoi, immerses himself in the market culture of Hue, and breathes in nature on the mountains of Sapa, he creates extraordinary dishes that are sure easy on the eye, and on the taste buds!
Still looking for other cooking shows in Australia? Check out this free to air TV guide to explore other free to air content.