What Andrew Zimmern Really Thinks About Cooking Competition Shows

Cooking shows have been around for a long time. In America, the first-ever cooking show on a TV network made its debut in 1946 and was called "I Love to Eat." It was simple in concept and featured pioneering culinary legend James Beard showing people how to cook at home (via IMDb). In subsequent years, Julia Child came to capture our attention with her French cooking, and not too long after that, the world saw the top pop off the cooking world with the launch of the television Food Network in 1993 (via Grub Street). Pretty soon, the likes of Emeril Lagasse, Marcus Samuelsson, Nigella Lawson, and Bobby Flay were showing us how to cook. However, according to The Atlantic, the focus of airing cooking shows about cooking started to evolve in the early 2000s and the world saw the advent of the cooking competition show. "Iron Chef America" and "The Next Food Network Star" kicked this trend off and really got that party started. 

Today, cooking competition shows are too numerous to count, even if blog spots like the Bored Panda can share a whopping 79 of their favorites from this genre. This very fact prompted one of Andrew Zimmern's fans to ask the host of the Magnolia Network's "Family Dinner" about the current "saturation" of food competition shows and the "lack of cooking instruction shows." Zimmern definitely had some thoughts about this subject which he shared on his Substack "Ask Me Anything" forum.

It's what viewers want

In the first three minutes of a video posted on his Substack channel, Andrew Zimmern reveals there is a logical reason for all these food competition shows and it is based on the concept of consumer demand. Zimmern explained that while what consumers want is "not always completely in sync with programming shows," and the reason we are seeing "cooking competitions and riffs on cooking competition stuff" is because that's what the world of culinary viewers want. It really is that plain and simple. The celebrity chef also shares that "number one genre of show that is slowly going down" the cooking food chain is the "in the kitchen" and "dump and stir" type of shows.

If you are missing the traditional cooking shows that focus on teaching you how to cook, you are not alone. Zimmern says he too misses the broadcasts from the 2004 era and even the 1970s. He further disclosed those vintage shows are what inspired him to do his Youtube channel. However, he also noted that the internet has made it easy for people surfing the web to find instructional cooking videos, eliminating the need for classic cooking shows. Zimmern confessed he also does this when he is trying to perfect his own recipes.