I’m not ashamed to admit it: I’m a cooking show junkie. I never miss an episode of Top Chef, I love watching hideous restaurants fall apart on Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, and I’m a sucker for Iron Chef. But honestly, some of my favorite cooking moments on TV are actually from shows that have nothing to do with food, restaurants, or the culinary arts. If you are as addicted to cooking shows to the same extent as I am, you should check out these great episodes from TV shows that have nothing to do with cooking.
30% Iron Chef (Futurama, Season 3)
Bender the robot decides that he wants to become a chef, but having no taste buds proves to be a huge hurdle. Bender studies under famous chef Helmut Spargel to learn how to cook with the “essence of pure flavor”, and challenges Elzar (the show’s spoof of Emeril Lagasse) to an Iron Chef-style cooking competition. Bender wins, thanks to the use of Spargel’s “essence” which turns out to be a psychotropic drug. Absolutely hilarious from start to finish, and a classic episode of the series.
Blood (Black Books, Series 2)
In an attempt to win back business from larger chain bookshops, Bernard and Manny convert part of the bookshop into a cafe. But when their new clientele leaves during meal times, Bernard decides that the next logical step is to convert the bookshop into a high-end restaurant. Watching Bernard try to make “Luxury Pie” is one of the highlights of the episode, as is the moment when Bernard declares, “My oven can cook…BITS OF OVEN!”
Episode 205: Judy Collins (The Muppet Show, Season 2)
The Muppet Show may not be a cooking program, but a staple of the program was the Swedish Chef, who popped around every couple of episodes to teach viewers how to make one of his signature recipes. And while I love the Chocolate Moose, the Lobster Newburg, and the “Japanese Cake”, my favorite Swedish Chef moment is the rare two-parter in the Judy Collins episode. First he tackles a salad, then brussels sprouts, and then finally tries to open a coconut by shooting it with a gun.
Gourmet Night (Fawlty Towers, Season One)
Hotel owner Basil throws a “Gourmet Night” dinner to raise the profile of his hotel. But when his new chef gets too drunk to cook, Basil is forced to order food from a nearby restaurant and try and pass it off as food cooked in the hotel’s kitchen. The episode is Basil at his finest…or maybe at his worst? Another classic episode about cooking from a show that really doesn’t have all that much to do with food (although another classic food-centric episode in the show that shouldn’t be miss is the classic “Waldorf Salad” in Season 2).