I have become a fan of Alton Brown and Rick Bayless, both have shows on television that are immensely educational and entertaining, are there any other shows like Good Eats and Mexico - One Plate at a Time with people like them anywhere? I just can not get enough, I just have this feeling that there is something else that I have not discovered so I am asking here. Even something on the web would do.

Alton Brown on Good Eats usually presents graphical descriptions of the science behind cooking in a clear concise way. I particularly like the theatrical interludes, they are quite entertaining, it is indeed a fun way to learn. It is hard to sum up this show here so see this Food Network link for more information.

Here is an episode of him explaining Coq Au Vin, look at the visual aid on wine.

Rick Bayless quite often ventures out to the market place picking food products asking questions and explaining something about the products he works with, I like when chefs go outside the kitchen and give interesting information about some key food items they use. Sometimes you will see him in another chef's kitchen, usually Mexican, asking questions and getting informative answers, I like learning about food preparation in various places around the world I like mexican food so i take a liking to Rick's show. it is just another fun way to learn. For more about Rick and his show see here.

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    Hi there kitchenzero. Can you be a little more specific about why you like these shows and what "features" you're looking for, exactly? Without specifics, people are just going to post and vote for their favourites, which may be interesting but doesn't make for great Q&A.
    – Aaronut
    Jan 20, 2011 at 0:15
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    Personally I wouldn't put 'Mexico - One Plate at a Time' in the 'educational and entertaining' category ... it tries to be less of the 'look at me cook something' category, but I'd file it more with the 'watch me travel and recreate stuff' category (first season of Tyler's Ultimate, maybe Made in Spain
    – Joe
    Jan 20, 2011 at 2:59
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    Aronut, I am awfully sorry, I overlooked the fact that not everyone knows who Alton Brown and Rick Bayles are and may not be aware of their shows. I asked the question of those who are familiar with their shows, the evidence from the answers here shows that a few people understand what I want but I understand what you are saying the question would be better if I include specifics about the shows. Jan 20, 2011 at 7:08

4 Answers 4


You should check out America's Test Kitchen. It airs on PBS, but you can stream episodes from their site.

I think it's very similar to Alton Brown. They take a few dishes per episode and figure out very methodically how to make it the best it can be. It's very educational.

  • You forgot to mention that they don't do commercials during the TV episodes!!! Just a 5 minute commercial at the end of the show until the beginning of the next episode. It's great! It's too bad they can't/don't advertise on other channels or I think a lot more people would know about them. I love their show!
    – Chad
    Jan 19, 2011 at 21:05
  • Also, you forgot to mention that Jacques Pépin has a show on PBS too! It's not as geared toward education, but you still learn so much for him. Plus, watching his knife skills is a treat in itself!
    – Chad
    Jan 19, 2011 at 21:10
  • Thanks for this recommendation - I've been watching the episodes on the web site, and it's really great. Jan 19, 2011 at 23:39
  • @Chad : it's on PBS; not having commercials doesn't need to be said. It's true of almost all cooking shows, except for those on Food Network, Cooking Channel, HGTV, etc. I know, it's hard to believe there's cooking shows not on the Food Network, but the cooking show's been around for longer than the channel has. ... and you can also watch Good Eats commercial free if you record the Cable in the Classroom broadcast.
    – Joe
    Jan 20, 2011 at 13:31
  • @Joe - It's informational as I pointed out why the OP might not of heard of the show. And, don't worry, I've watched more than my fair share of cooking shows on channels besides Food Network. It's nice to know you also appreciate other channels, too. I'm wasn't even aware there is a real cooking show on HGTV (?) and I've never seen Cooking Channel. I'm in Germany right now, but was in Virginia previously. Half of my TV watching there was WETA (PBS) watching ATK and Jacques. I assume you get WETA too, being in Maryland/DC.
    – Chad
    Jan 21, 2011 at 1:10

It's difficult to quantify the 'entertaining'-ness of the shows, as there aren't too many on the same level as Good Eats. The only one that's even close that I'm aware of is Bitchin' Kitchen. Ham on the Street might be a close second.

Rick Bayless tries to be entertaining, but I think he tries too hard ... it just seems too scripted to me. Martin Yan (Yan Can Cook), Julia Child (The French Chef), Graham Kerr (Galloping Gourmet), Justin Wilson (Louisiana Cookin'), Nick Stellino (Cucina Amore), Ming Tsai (Simply Ming), Daisy Martinez (Daisy Cooks!, not her new show) and even David Rocco (Dolce Vita) or Chuck Hughes (Chuck's Day Off) come across as less ... fake ... to me.

Sometimes the trying-too-hard isn't that bad ... Alan Harding (Cookin' in Brooklyn), Paul James (Home Grown Cooking), Nigella Lawson (Nigella Bites / Nigella Feasts), José Andrés (Made in Spain)

Personally, for the Entertaining + Educational ... Some of the contest shows aren't bad ... I loved 'The Best', but part of it was that they explained what they were doing, not like Iron Chef where it's commentators trying to guess that they were doing. 'Ready, Set, Cook' (or the original 'Ready, Steady, Cook'), or even 'Can't Cook, Won't Cook' had a little more educational aspect than Iron Chef, but not extremely so.

America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country are very educational and have some humor ... it's a different kind of humor though ... mostly people making fun of their boss (Chris Kimball). Chillin' and Grillin' had some similar humor with Jack McDavid putting down Bobby Flay regularly.

(um ... yes, I watch too much television ... I grew up watching Frugal Gourmet with my mom and great grandmother ... Justin Wilson and Martin Yan in high school and lots of PBS channels in DC for college ... and there might've been a time a few years back when I agreed to wait at a friend's house for multiple days to wait for a technician for a T3 install, partially because he had satellite tv, and so got the food channel (and he paid me in IBM model Ms).)

(do I need to link to all of these titles? Quite a few of 'em aren't on the air anymore... which is a shame.)

update : and I almost forgot -- Deep Fried, Live! ... it's not a TV show ... it's better ... interactive flash animations. (it's one of the few examples of where flash is a good thing). Unfortunately, they only made a few as the creator got hired to write for Good Eats.

  • I think this is probably the kind of answer we should be focusing on here - make this a canonical list of cooking shows with emphasis on educational value over pure entertainment, instead of a "What shows should I watch" recommendation question. What this needs is links and/or annotations. I'll try to contribute some later but in the meantime, I encourage anybody reading this to add their own details and make it a bit more like the wiki answer to Books that explain the science of cooking.
    – Aaronut
    Jan 20, 2011 at 15:10
  • @Aaronut : There's a lot of "cooking" shows that I wouldn't even classify as educational ... Iron Chef might give you inspiration to try something new, but it's not trying to be instructional. And as this question is educational + entertaining, I'll go and put it out as a separate question.
    – Joe
    Jan 20, 2011 at 16:03
  • Yes, that's why I added the parenthetical ("emphasis on educational value"). Entertainment value is just personal opinion anyway.
    – Aaronut
    Jan 20, 2011 at 16:54
  • @Aaronut : well, see : cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/11276/… ... feel free to rewrite the question, if you have a specific intent in mind.
    – Joe
    Jan 20, 2011 at 16:57
  • That's exactly what I had in mind. I kind of figured we'd edit this one as opposed to creating a new one, but as long as it's done well, doesn't really matter where.
    – Aaronut
    Jan 20, 2011 at 18:04

II grew up watching Martin Yan. I have no idea if his shows are available anywhere, but his stuff was very educational.

  • Yan Can Cook was an amazing show. I had the joy of meeting him at a local benefit here in Western MA a few years ago... Jan 19, 2011 at 19:48
  • I just found a few of his shows on Hulu. As it's not available in Canada, if anyone knows where else some of his stuff might be available, I'd be grateful.
    – talon8
    Jan 19, 2011 at 20:17

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