Cooking shows have become a veritable staple in America’s TV diet. With increasing fervor, new shows are released, each flaunting a crazier or more extreme premise than the next. There are the baskets of bizarre ingredients being turned into meals in a high-pressure competition on Chopped. There are chefs sabotaging each other as they vie for thousands of dollars of prize money on Cutthroat Kitchen. And there are the world-class chefs battling it out, flaunting their impressive skills on Iron Chef. Excitement, adrenaline, competition, and whole lot of yelling — all very distant from the average person’s experience in the kitchen.

Then there is the destination eats genre, with shows like Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations, highlighting the cuisine or chefs of a certain city or region. But more often than not these shows exoticize or tokenize regional cuisine, distancing the viewer from the food rather than drawing him or her in. Or, they emphasize eating out at famous restaurants, rather than encouraging viewers to try their hands at recreating iconic dishes themselves.

In recent years we’ve seen cooking shows drastically shift towards these high-pressure competitions and exotic eats shows, while more relatable or informational shows have fallen by the wayside. And we get it – excitement sells! – but at what cost? If viewers just see strange (and often gross) ingredients, hostile environments, and competitive kitchens, the chances are slim that they will want to try their hand at cooking at home. Because these shows are never actual about culinary skills or real food – they are about winners and losers, success versus failure, and extremes. Cooking can be intimidating enough to the beginner, and the media is only making it less and less accessible for all of us.

Here at The Seasoned Chef, we make cooking fun, interesting, exciting, informational, and above all, accessible. We believe that culinary arts should not be set aside just for professional chefs or intense competitions. We strive to empower everyone in the kitchen, so that they can feel the satisfaction of grilling the perfect steak, whipping up picture-perfect choux pastry, or nailing that julienne.

So join us! Don’t let those extreme food shows and culinary competitions scare you away from the kitchen. We promise, our classes are guaranteed to be foghorn free.

Spoonfuls BlogJose Mascaro