A nation of foodies: Britain's best cooking shows

Blog > What to watch
10 May • 6 min read

There’s no doubt about it - as Brits, we’ve always been known for loving a good bit of telly. But after years of being infamous for a relative lack of interest in our cuisine, we’re slowly becoming a nation of foodies as well. So when the two combine, you could say it’s a guaranteed recipe for success. With that said though, the blueprint for these shows is anything but repetitive.

While the ardent foodies among us can enjoy upper echelon cooking shows like Masterchef, which has just wrapped up another brilliant series. Those that are purely in it for the entertainment can rely on Come Dine With Me or Dinner Date for equal servings of chaos and quality.

You might want to grab a snack for this week’s blog offering, because we’re about to take a look back into our archive to see which British food shows are the cream of the crop. Feast your eyes on this.


Some of the best cooking shows have an element of chaos to them, and none typify this more than Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. The famous foul-mouthed chef might be back with his latest offering, Future Food Stars, but we want to take a look back to where it all began.

Cut from the same cloth as the original reality bad guy - Simon Cowell - Gordon Ramsay is the perfect anti-hero for the TV chefs that have become loved by our nation. The formula is simple, Chef Ramsay is let loose on restaurants that are on the brink due to their sub-par standards. And the result? Pure, unfiltered entertainment.

That’s not to say that Chef Ramsay wasn’t able to show a softer side every once in a while as he tried to cajole restaurant owners into taking more pride in their standards. But for the most part, it was effing and blinding until he was able to hammer home his points and we loved every minute of it.


While the raucous brilliance of Kitchen Nightmares is entertaining to no end - there’s something to be said for the shows that leave us inspired to get in the kitchen and cook up a storm of our own. With that said, look no further than Masterchef.

As we saw with recent winner Eddie Scott, the show can be as life-changing for the contestants as it is inspiring for its viewers. And while some of the dishes might be too intricate for us to replicate at home, Masterchef gives us a fascinating insight into life in the kitchen.

The budding bakers among us need not worry either, The Great British Bake Off is always on hand to fix our sweet cravings. From Mary Berry, to Matt Lucas, to Noel Fielding - Bake Off is as much about the national treasures that have hosted it as it is about the outstanding baking skills from its contestants. We just cannot wait for the new series to start!


And then we have shows like Dinner Date, which show that, while not everyone is a natural when it comes to culinary skills, food can still be the language of love.

On paper, turning up to a stranger's home for a candlelit dinner date should be a recipe for car crash telly. That doesn’t mean that us viewers aren’t left with a belly full of laughs at some of the disastrous outcomes.

And with the dates chosen purely on the menus alone, let’s just say that the compatibility is often mismatched. But that just makes it more of an enjoyable watch. And with over a decade of awkward dates mixed with the occasional sparks flying, there’s no doubt that there’s still an appetite for more. So long may it continue!

Which cooking shows, past and present have wet your appetite the most? We’d love to hear from you as always. Reach us via email, Twitter or Facebook.