The 6 Best Cooking Shows For a Restaurant Chef to Enter

By: Cameret Bannister

6 Minute Read

Oct 21, 2017

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Ready for your restaurant to make it to the small screen?

We've already covered the best restaurant TV shows and the best restaurant movies. Now, it's time to recognize the very best cooking shows for restaurants.

Cooking shows are wildly popular, so if your chef makes it on one, it's instant brand recognition for your restaurant.

Obviously, these shows get thousands of applicants. Many participants are even recruited - so getting a stint on one of these shows may be a long shot.

But hey - a chef can dream, can't they?

Here's a list of cooking shows that you should enter your chef into if you ever get the chance.


As one of the most popular cooking shows of 2017, Chopped has become highly sought after in terms of new contestants.

There are mystery ingredients, there are time constraints, there are tears, and there is plenty of drama. But yet, with a whopping $10,000 grand prize, it is still one of the most popular shows for restaurant chefs to enter.

Four chefs enter, one chef emerges as the winner. Chefs are given a mystery basket of ingredients which in past episodes has included goat brains, gummy eggs over easy, and shad roe sacks (yes, I did have to Google that one… it is a type of fish egg sac, typically flavored similarly to a “sweetbread”).

best cooking shows

They don’t devote seasons to competitor character development, but instead focus on the competitive, game show nature of the individual episodes.

Plus, “Chopped is relatable,” host Ted Allen said to Vice. “We all have the experience of opening the fridge and needing to throw a meal together with what we have on hand.”

And if your chef is still a chef-in-the-making? Even better. Chopped Junior is a popular Chopped spin-off that has helped the Food Network continue to grow its primetime ratings.

They’re looking for chefs of all kinds. To learn more about casting, visit here.

Cutthroat Kitchen

To the naked eye, Cutthroat Kitchen seems similar to Chopped or other competitive cooking shows.

The show, however, is much more complex and… well… cutthroat than that. Four chefs participate. At the beginning of the season, each chef is given $25,000 to either better themselves or sabotage their opponents.

Jason O. Gilbert from Vulture notes, “you can force your competitors to cook while jumping through certain hoops: For example, you can make them do all of their cooking in Tupperware. Or replace their knives with plastic cutlery. Or make them walk around on stilts.”

best cooking shows

If that doesn’t sound like pure entertainment, then what does?

In reality, Cutthroat Kitchen is definitely about the entertainment factor and relies less on the actual dishes being served. Still, it attracts large audiences every year. It is currently on its 15th season, with no signs of stopping soon.

While they aren’t currently casting for new seasons, stay tuned to this site for updates.

Hell’s Kitchen

Another long-running contender at 15 years of airing, Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen commenced its 17th season in September 2017.

Here’s how it works: two teams of chefs enter into a “hellish” situation where they are put through all sorts of challenges in hopes of landing a job as executive chef at one of Ramsay’s esteemed restaurants. Chefs come from all walks of life, including “line cooks, sous chefs, and everything in between.”

If the competition itself isn’t challenging enough, there’s Ramsay himself to wear down the contestants with his caustic words. One of his most humiliating insults consisted of him taking two slices of bread, grabbing someone’s face and saying, “What are you?” and forcing them to respond with, “an idiot sandwich.”

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If you think your chef has what it takes to stand up to Ramsay, this is the show for you. To learn more about auditioning, visit here.

An aside: Ramsay just announced a new series called 24 Hours to Hell and Back, which is based off of the Hell’s Kitchen premise but within a short, day-long period. It is slated to appear in 2018.


On a lighter note, Ramsay also currently participates in MasterChef alongside renowned pastry chef Christina Tosi and Aaron Sanchez. Based on the BBC original program of the same name, MasterChef premiered Stateside in 2010 and is currently casting for Season 9 in Summer 2018.

A main difference with MasterChef is it focuses mostly on amateur and home chefs. The three judges put contestants through a series of challenging elimination rounds including mystery ingredients, time constraints, team challenges, and more.

best cooking shows

Participants compete for $250,000 as well as a cookbook deal. If you're a smaller restaurant, this could be the perfect opportunity for your cook to be on a chef show!

To learn more about auditioning, visit here.

Food Network Star

Compared to the traditional money prizes, cookbook deals, or executive chef offering, Food Network Star instead rallies around the idea of the prized earning of hosting one’s own Food Network series.

For that reason, the show revolves around the cooking experience as well as the authenticity of the participants themselves.

best cooking shows

Season 13 winnerJason Smith described the best piece of advice from judge Bobby Flay, “We really like him, because he is comfortable in his skin, he is true to himself, he is true to where he comes from… Never lose that. Always be yourself, and you will be fine."

To learn more about auditioning, visit here.

Top Chef

Top Chef focuses on simplicity; according to Entertainment Weekly,Top Chef proceeds from the premise that there is fun in putting a group of exceptionally skilled and ambitious people together and pushing them to do their best.”

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Top Chef started in 2006 and has since had many spin offs including Top Chef Masters, Top Chef Juniors, Top Chef: Just Desserts, Life After Top Chef, and Top Chef: Healthy Showdown. In January 2017, Bravo announced that the original Top Chef would be renewed for its 15th season, based out of Colorado.

To learn more about auditioning, visit here.

What's your favorite cooking show? Let us know in the comments below!


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