TV Celebrity Chefs: What’s cookin’?

By at home

Television programmes are taking the food world by storm. Whether you’re interested in ways to successfully run a restaurant, want to learn about food in different cultures or you just want to drool over your fave celebrity chef, there’s a whole host of food-related shows on the box, for beginners through to foodie experts. Here are some of our faves…

Great for:
Those who want some entertainment plus advice from a food show.
Viewing times: Tuesdays at 9pm on Channel 4.

Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word is back and the show is celebrating Britain’s local restaurants, as he searches for the best one. With the help of nominations from restaurant goers across the country, restaurateurs are challenged to cook with Gordon. And two finalists battle it out for the title in the series finale. Janet Street-Porter is back, too, as she attempts to rear three meats and grow organic vegetables, to be served in The F Word restaurant.

Great for:
People who want to find out more about local produce and how to cook seasonal foods.
Viewing times: A new series airs every season. Check for details.

If, like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, you’re a fan of local, seasonal food, you’ll love this series. He showcases the best and freshest produce that the seasons have to offer – whether from the wild, the garden or the shop shelf, and he offers numerous recipes to inspire you. But do be prepared if you are squeamish – the show often demonstrates how animals are killed.

Great for:
People who like hosting dinner parties (or laughing at other people struggling to get it right).
Viewing times: These vary, so see for details.

Watch amateur chefs battle it out over the dining table to win a £1,000 prize. Filmed up and down the UK, Come Dine With Me sees four strangers rate each other’s cooking skills as they dine at oneanother’s homes and compete for the title of ultimate dinner party host. Comedian Dave Lamb’s witty commentary makes it essential viewing. Plus there’s a Celebrity Come Dine With Me spin off.

Great for:
Those looking to enter the industry themselves.
Viewing times: Thursdays at 8pm on BBC2.

A host of budding restaurateurs who think they’ve got what it takes to run an eatery are put to the ultimate challenge on The Restaurant, now in its third series. Nine couples battle it out to win the chance to open their own restaurant backed by world famous chef, Raymond Blanc. He gets to decide which couple wins, and which will see their hopes dashed – based on how well they are able to run a restaurant and how they perform in various tasks and challenges.

Great for:
Foodie experts looking to expand their knowledge and their repertoire.
Viewing times: Weeknights at 7pm on Good Food.

For an in-depth look at ingredients and the people behind the best products, plus recipes from top chefs around the world, tune in to Market Kitchen. It’s presented by five foodies: TV presenter and cookery writer Rachel Allen, author and food writer Tom Parker Bowles, TV presenter and foodie Amanda Lamb, food critic and author Matthew Fort, and chef and restaurateur Matt Tebbutt.

Great for:
Beginners looking to master basic cookery skills.
Viewing times: There are now three shows – MasterChef, MasterChef: The Professionals, and Celebrity MasterChef and times vary so check

The basic show sees judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace put amateur cooks to the test. Each contestant faces a range of different challenges, and they are gradually eliminated until only six remain to compete against one another in the final. The celeb show follows the same format, with famous faces in the kitchen. The professional series sees young chefs from around the UK do battle for the chance to make it big in the culinary world.

Great for:
Curious-minded people who want to know the truth about Britain’s food industry.
Viewing times: Tuesdays at 10.35pm on ITV1.

Rebecca Wilcox and Phil Vickery expose some of the secrets of Britain’s food industry, as they go behind the scenes into UK restaurants and takeaways to reveal what really goes on in their kitchens. It makes for compulsive, if not always, entirely pleasant viewing.

Great for:
Anyone with time on a Saturday morning and the slightest interest in food.
Viewing times: Saturdays at 10am on BBC1.

Chef James Martin, hosts this popular interactive food show on Saturday mornings, which is packed with food features and recipe ideas, and boasts a wide range of chefs and celebrity guests. It includes the omelette cook off, when the celeb chefs have to cook an omelette in the fastest time.

Great for:
People with an interest in history, or who are looking for new recipe ideas.
Viewing times: Series off air at present, check for repeats.

Follow Heston as he heads back in time on a mission to recreate famous period dishes. His culinary journey takes him through Victorian Britain and Tudor England to the Medieval era and Ancient Rome, where he comes across ‘lost’ recipes and forgotten flavours.

MARCO’S KITCHEN BURNOUT (the new Hell’s Kitchen) Look out for this new series, starting in spring 2010, hosted by Marco Pierre White. It features a celebrity line-up, and will be filmed in a real restaurant where diners will have to fork out for their meals. Check ITV1 for more info.

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