You could be right in thinking reality cooking shows are a recipe for television success.

Despite our own dinner party disasters, we love watching MasterChef contestants glow in the heat of a judge's firing line. Culinary quests on My Kitchen Rules satisfy our desire for delightful dinners while we snack on baked beans and burnt toast.

So, other than food envy, why do I hate reality TV cooking shows?

For starters, reality television is so insubstantial, and devoid of any artistic merit, that we can watch it for hours, yet feel hungry for more. Well, you might feel hungry for more. I would rather fry my own eyeballs and serve them with spaghetti than watch another episode.


But, like many recovering addicts, I must admit that these shows can be as addictive as sugar. It's easy to get hooked on the competition and be impressed by the skill.

However, this addiction to reality cooking shows soaks up time that could be used for actual cooking. If you're watching MKR for the third night in a row it seems unlikely you're eating veggies fresh from the garden, married with flavours that "explode in your mouth".

On that note, these shows should be banned for promulgating such extreme phrases. I might not be able to boil an egg, but that doesn't stop enthusiastic family members talking about "fireworks" whenever they're served rissoles or a scoop of choc chip ice cream.

Such shows teach us to praise and critique food with great decorum, but fail to improve our culinary skills. You'd think watching countless cooks bang on about beating eggs would help us bake a cake. Sadly, if you're anything like me, your baking won't improve by watching improvised antics on TV - rendering these shows about as meaningless as Jamie Oliver's incessant "pukka".

It may be better for you to flag all cooking shows. You might want to be a good cook, but not too good; or at least, not the preferred cook in your household.

If you're not a foodie, you might be surprised (and overwhelmed) by the smorgasbord of reality cooking shows on offer. It feels like they are airing nearly every night of the week.
The over-saturation is more concerning than trans fat, and one suspects, frighteningly related; appearing directly proportional to the number of Biggest Loser seasons.

While there are many reasons to knock reality cooking shows, I can see why so many intuitive cooks want to participate. It must be wonderful to be part of a show where, unlike the viewer, you get to eat saffron and lemon curd all day long. Plus there is the chance of winning and becoming the next Domestic Goddess or Naked Chef.

While New Zealand has a handful of memorable winners, are we now licking the bottom of the bowl for future celebrity chefs?


Reality cooking shows make me hungry for something with more bite - greater servings of drama, comedy, sport, and anything that isn't reality TV.