Ranking The Top 25 Food Network Shows Of All-Time

25. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives is quintessential Guy Fieri. The highly energetic NorCal native travels the country in search of the best comfort food. In the process, Fieri’s colorful antics are on full display. The audience is treated to Fieri’s constant usage of a self-crafted vernacular. Though we don’t exactly know where Flavor Town is on a map, we still are psyched about the possibility of experiencing it one day.

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24. Worst Cooks In America

Yes, we all know at least one horrible cook. Need not to worry — as Worst Cooks in America actually showcases the worst cooks in America. With the help of Tyler Florence and Anne Burrell, customers set out to improve their culinary skills. The pair of professional chefs offer tutelage, encouragement, and even attitude. The pseudo-team competition between Florence and Burrell themselves is a nicely added wrinkle.

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23. The Great Food Truck Race

The Great Food Truck Race has taken a page from many of the trendy food travel shows. Contestants are given the tools to essentially have their own food truck for the first time in their respective careers. Hosted by Tyler Florence, these aspiring small business owners must wade through challenge after challenge en route to the potential grand prize of owning their own food truck. The constant hustle around various parts of the country make the competition far more appealing.

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22. Cutthroat Kitchen

Cutthroat Kitchen is an elimination-based show hosted by the uber-talented Alton Brown. Though the show only lasted for four seasons, it certainly boasted an underrated vibe. Brown suddenly took on a snarky persona — which may or may not be machinated. He’d consistently mess with opponents during cooking challenges. By putting these talented chefs at a competitive disadvantage, the audience saw slivers of brilliance amidst the difficulty.

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21. Ace of Cakes

Ace of Cakes was one of the longest running Food Network shows in the realm of reality television. Duff Goldman had cameras following his every move as he navigated through his custom cake business in Baltimore. From an aesthetics standpoint, Goldman and his team created cakes on a level necessary to make the likes of Da Vinci and Monet jealous. Some of the creations were so mind-blowing that it’s difficult to believe anyone would want to actually eat them.

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20. The Pioneer Woman

Ree Drummond is the epitome of a kind person from America’s heartland. Taking place at her sprawling property in rural Oklahoma, The Pioneer Woman is dedicated to showing people how to cook delicious, hearty cuisine. It’s not simple nor basic in any way. Instead, Drummond elevates iconic dishes normally found in middle America. Her sweet persona meshes terrifically with the constant appearance of her family in virtually every episode.

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19. Guy’s Grocery Games

Guy’s Grocery Games is nothing short of spectacular. Possessing his own makeshift grocery store, host Guy Fieri takes contestants on a whirlwind journey chock-full of aisles, shopping carts, and unexpected twists along the way. Though the over-the-top humor can be downright corny at times, it’s incredibly fascinating to see professional chefs come up with multi-course dishes amidst the constraints engineered by the effervescent host.

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18. Tyler’s Ultimate 

Florence is a suave, suave dude. He exudes confidence and the right amount of cool to the point that it’s endearing rather than forced. Tyler’s Ultimate illustrated Florence’s mass ability to cook in the kitchen. Essentially, Florence takes classic dishes and bumps them up to another level in both presentation and flavor. Initial episodes had Florence traveling the globe to seek out traditional dishes before embarking on the incorporation of his own tweaks.

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17. Kids Baking Championship

One of the newer Food Network shows garnering plenty of buzz is Kids Baking Championship. Hosted by former actress Valerie Bertinelli and famed cake aficionado Duff Goldman, the show provides a platform for gifted youngsters to showcase their baking abilities. Of course, the tone of the show is overly positive. Some may even describe it as sugary-sweet. With that said, it’s feel-good television — and something that’ll unquestionably enhance your perception as to how talented child bakers can be.

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16. Food Network Star

Food Network Star first debuted in 2005. As a means to inject new blood into the Food Network stable, the company created a reality show with the goal of finding the next De Laurentiis or Flay. Contestants compete in challenges to demonstrate their potential in hosting their own Food Network show. The network has struck gold with the program — as winners have included current personalities Guy Fieri, Melissa d’Arabian, Aarti Sequeira, Jeff Mauro, and Damaris Phillips.

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15. The Best Thing I Ever Ate

The Best Thing I Ever Ate was equally as awesome as it was frustrating. On one hand, it’s great to learn about the favorite secret spots of big-time professional chefs. This could include a high-end restaurant in New York City — or a hole-in-the-wall gem in East Los Angeles. On the flip-side, this show was nearly unbearable to watch when beset by even the slightest bit of hunger. It would be downright cruel to watch this show while hungry considering the quality of food shown.

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14. Boy Meets Grill

Bobby Flay’s biggest introduction into the Food Network came with his show Boy Meets Grill. Despite being born and raised in New York City, Flay has a strong proclivity for grilling. Flay explored a number of grill-centric dishes revolving around his sweet-spot of Southwest and Hispanic elements. This specific show taught the audience valuable techniques in terms of barbecuing food properly. It also went a long way in allowing Flay to develop into one of the figureheads within the company.

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13. Too Hot Tamales

Too Hot Tamales featured two accomplished chefs in Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken. Best friends in real life, the two worked on nearly 400 episodes during the height of their run in the mid-to-late ’90’s. As the title of the program would suggest, the duo focused primarily on cooking Mexican cuisine. Modern sensibilities would be explored — though Feniger and Milliken would offer their own exciting twists. The chemistry between the two made for a wholesome and fun program.

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12. Unwrapped

Hosted by the gregarious Marc Summers, Unwrapped was a show catered towards people of all ages. Children loved the series — as Summers traveled across the United States to sample the very best in candy, soda, snacks, and all of the yummiest treats imaginable. For adults, some of these items emanated from their own childhoods. The history behind traditional sweets offers elements of both knowledge and nostalgia. Plus, Summers’ child-like attitude made the show even more enjoyable.

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11. Beat Bobby Flay/Throwdown! With Bobby Flay

It’s quite apparent that Food Network loves pitting Flay in shows revolving around competitions. Whether it be Flay’s hubris or simply his red hair, people around the country are frothing at the mouth for a chance to take Flay down (in a culinary competition, of course). Throwdown! With Bobby Flay had the chef traveling all across the country for intense cook-offs. In Beat Bobby Flay, Flay must cook the signature dish of the competitor — with a judge’s blind taste test determining the ultimate victor. Spoiler alert: Flay wins 99.9-percent of the time.

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10. Paula’s Home Cooking

While we don’t condone any of the allegations attributed to Paula Deen, we must acknowledge that her show was once a giant within the company. Paula’s Home Cooking showcased Deen’s ability to whip up the very best in Southern style food. At the height of the show, Deen had a rather large following from all over the country. If you enjoy full sticks of butter shoved into practically each and every dish, you’ll surely love Deen’s cooking (and the high cholesterol that may follow).

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9. Cupcake Wars

Cupcake Wars is a visual extravaganza of colors and thick frosting. Dating back to 2009, this pseudo-reality show allows for competitive chefs to square off versus one another in the battle to make the best cupcakes. While overall taste is a crucial aspect of the competition, judges also look for creativity in terms of decoration. Winning teams get a cash prize as well as the adoration from millions across the country.

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8. Everyday Italian

Giada De Laurentiis is an absolute star within the roster of the company. Her magnetic personality — coupled with a zest for cooking — has made her immensely popular. Everyday Italian was the first program she hosted under the company’s umbrella. In 2008, De Laurentiis won a Daytime Emmy Award for her work on the show — which mostly focuses on cooking from her native Italy. Most recently, De Laurentiis has been focused on Giada at Home. As the title suggests, she pairs cooking with the love of her family.

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7. Molto Mario

For a long time, Mario Batali was the foremost authority in everything having to do with Italian cooking on the Food Network. Based upon his own heritage and experience in the country, Batali took the audience on a culinary journey exploring all aspects of Italy. Though his food was decadent in nature, Batali’s easy nature in front of the camera gave aspiring chefs — and folks at home — plenty of confidence to execute any dish effectively.

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6. Barefoot Contessa

Barefoot Contessa features long-time host Ina Garten. The New York native is essentially the sweet, warm, rich, and uber-talented grandmother everyone wishes they had. While humble in her own right, Garten embodies the upper crust East Coast elite from her property in The Hamptons. Much of her show involves deft skill in the kitchen (particularly with multi-course meals). However, Garten also also showcases ability as both a designer and a decorator. The New York native has been on the Food Network since 2002, and is approaching her 24th season of the show.

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5. 30 Minute Meals

30 Minute Meals was a show ahead of its time. Rachael Ray was immensely smart in tapping into the demographic beset by a long commute, hellacious work hours, and an unsteadiness in the kitchen. These simple, delicious meals were prepared and cooked in under 30 minutes. In a sense, Ray revolutionized the notion that coming home to cook wouldn’t be looked at as a hindrance. She ultimately parlayed this success into her own television program, the Rachael Ray Show. 

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4. Good Eats

Good Eats will forever have a cult following for its inventiveness, quirkiness, and unabated information. Utilizing his college background in drama, Alton Brown essentially crafted a one-man monologue focused around a single ingredient. He offered a ton of scientific information about the said item. Duly, Brown used a host of different camera angles and ‘special guests’ to personalize the experience. This is without a doubt the most original show Food Network has produced to date.

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3. Chopped

Chopped has developed into one of the most popular Food Network shows in the modern era. Hosted by Ted Allen, four chefs test their respective mettle against a basket of unknown ingredients. The show forces these culinary geniuses to showcase both technique and creativity under considerable time constraints. Celebrity chefs have also been featured in battles aimed at raising money for charity.

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2. Emeril Live

Emeril Lagasse was arguably the first known food personality on what developed into the Food Network. His program, Emeril Live, was done in front of a live audience. Rarely does one see this sort of platform intertwined with a cooking show. A true showman in front of the camera, Emeril’s personality flew off the screen. He routinely engaged with audience members — essentially making them part of each program. Without question, Emeril also made the term “BAM!” a household shout whenever thunderously adding spice or salt to a dish. In essence, he was Salt Bae before Salt Bae was a known commodity.

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1. Iron Chef

Debuting in 1993, Iron Chef took the United States by storm. The compelling cooking show was as wild as it was entertaining. Featuring drama akin to any major motion picture, Chairman Kaga began the program by vigorously biting into a bell pepper. He then became famous for uttering the iconic phrase “Allez cuisine!” The fast-paced style of cooking featured chefs with varying specialties. Perhaps the most controversial moment was when a young and precocious Bobby Flay stood on top of the cutting board after finishing the competition. This didn’t sit very well with famed Japanese culinary master Masaharu Morimoto.

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