Cooking shows are a staple program in lifestyle network or lifestyle cable TV. Different cooking shows have different format. Some cooking shows are made for working moms, or stay at home moms, or for people who would like to whip up a good meal despite their busy working schedule. These home-cooking shows, as they call it, often use ingredients ordinarily found at home, and create commonly familiar dishes with a bit of a twist in their flavor or preparation styles. They often teach their target audience how to create something extraordinary tasty and delicious from a seemingly simple and boring meal.
Some cooking shows are competitions, much like Japan’s the Iron Chef, which also had an American version. In such shows, the contestants are real-life chefs, some popular, some are not, who challenge one another in a cooking duel. The objective is to be able to create 4-course meal using a particular ingredient in all of the courses. This is pretty difficult, considering the number of meals one has to prepare and the time limit involved. The one with the most votes as the best meals by the food tasters and judges wins. Some competitive cooking shows feature non-professional cooks and chefs, who will be given a money prize in order to help them begin their own restaurant businesses.
The hosts or chefs at the hemline of these cooking shows have to have a personality which connects well with the contestants or the audience. They are hosted by chefs whom the audience can easily relate with, like the way Rachel Ray connects with the audience with her bubbly and spunky personality. Although some chefs seems to clash with their participants (think a cursing chef Gordon Ramsey, who is getting pretty frustrated at a stupid and slow chef participant on Hell’s Kitchen, or on his new Fox show Cookalong live), but the audience also wants to see a chef who knows how to run things, under time pressure and with only a few ingredients available, but still being able to deliver well in the kitchen.
To generate more viewers, some cooking shows nowadays would feature celebrities, who help the host in preparing meals, or celebrities who show and demonstrate the audience how they cook their own meals at home. Some cooking shows are opportunities to showcase good quality cookware such as Bosch mixers or Bosch bread mixer. Featuring celebrities on cooking shows is a good promotional campaign for such cookware and food. It also brings a greater market audience to promote the celebrities’ projects and it also shows a homey, more personal side to the celebrity.