Have cooking competition programs become too difficult?

There is no denying that competition cooking programs have changed in the years since Iron Chef debuted on Food Network nearly twenty years ago. While that show provided challenges for its competitors, the stakes have become increasingly elevated over the years. This intense pressure has a downside, says Nell Frizzell of The Guardian, who wonders whether these cooking competitions have become too difficult

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Seeing a competitor on a show like Great British Bake Off, which showcases non-professionals attempting desserts in a friendly, supportive environment, even if a bit stressful, might inspire someone to head into the kitchen. However, Frizzell argues, thinking that “watching a heavily sweating chef wrestle with a disintegrating mille-feuille while presenters stand by aghast is going to encourage anyone to walk into their kitchen and actually, you know, cook something isn’t just laughable, it’s insulting.”

Frizzell does note that there are still cookery programs that can provide inspiration to the average home cook. She points to  Jamie’s Quick & Easy FoodLorraine Pascale’s Fresh and Easy Food and Nigella Lawson’s  Simply Nigella as shows that seem to be “designed to help viewers cook.” Do you agree that shows like BakeOff: The Professionals are turning off home cooks? 

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  • Jenny  on  July 22, 2018

    But what about those of us who want to learn more advanced techniques and skills? I even stopped taping Ina because it's the same old, same old. GBBO I love because I learn something new about flavors and more.

  • wester  on  July 23, 2018

    Something very wrong with the link to the article. It's here:

  • Jane  on  July 23, 2018

    Thanks wester – link now repaired.

  • Hungry_Bek  on  July 24, 2018

    I think what happens with amateur cooking comp shows is the first season is normal people with normal skill sets. Each year, people think "if s/he can win then I can because I'm better and more skilled". In turn the competition gets tougher and tougher.

    The contestants on MasterChef season 1 in Australia would not stand a chance in the 10th year of the comp. It's a completely different ballgame.

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