Great cooking show for Middle School kids
February 20, 2014 7:46 PM   Subscribe

Can you suggest a great cooking show to entertain and inspire my middle school 'foods' class? No fake reality TV...

I teach a 'foods' (cooking) class to 11 and 12 year old students (grades 6 and 7) at a middle school. During the first few classes, as well as the last class, we don't have enough time to cook, so I'm looking for cooking themed TV to show them.

I checked out 'Master Chef Junior'... Ostensibly it's completely faked. I'd like to show them something real.

Any other brilliant ideas?
posted by Sustainable Chiles to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Alton Brown - Good Eats
posted by tilde at 7:47 PM on February 20, 2014 [18 favorites]

My Grandmothers Ravioli
posted by Unred at 7:52 PM on February 20, 2014

Man vs. food
posted by Unred at 7:53 PM on February 20, 2014

When I was that age, I loved PBS travel/cooking shows, like those hosted by Burt Wolf, Rick Bayless, and the various hosts of New Scandinavian Cooking. I really liked the idea of getting to know a place by cooking and eating its food--that food and cooking could have different meanings to different people, and that you could access some of that by trying new things.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:56 PM on February 20, 2014

Vegan Black Metal Chef!
posted by bile and syntax at 7:56 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

Depending on your students' attitudes, The French Chef may work. Or Yan Can Cook, for a slightly different angle.
posted by knile at 8:01 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

My high school kids enjoy the competitive cooking elements in "Chopped." They also for some reason seem to like Guy Fieri and "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," and Anthony Bourdain's, "No Reservations."
posted by kinetic at 8:02 PM on February 20, 2014

Worst Cooks in America.
posted by matildaben at 8:04 PM on February 20, 2014

Yeah, I think Alton Brown is the way to go.

I've seen all the cooking shows. ALL of them. Since the late '80s. (Okay, I'm obsessed.) If I wanted to get a group of young people into cooking and actually learning about food, I'd go Alton Brown. I watched his shows as an adult and wished that I was a 12-year-old so that I'd enjoy them more.

My second choice would be Martin Yan, but he's so Chinese-food specific that it might be too limiting.
posted by mudpuppie at 8:04 PM on February 20, 2014

Jamie Oliver? (His actual cooking shows, not the "don't eat junk food" shows.)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:05 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution? There was at least one episode where he goes to an elementary school and tries to change the food that they're serving there -- the kids might relate to that. If I remember right he demonstrates how chicken nuggets are made in that same episode. Very kid-friendly.

You could also have them work on making small solar ovens out of pizza boxes, too. Great for making s'mores, easy way to use up some time.

You may also want to check out some of the video podcasts about cooking on iTunes, like Hilah Cooking.
posted by Ostara at 8:06 PM on February 20, 2014

You could also introduce them to the idea of trying new things via, in which a kid tries really challenging foods.
posted by mudpuppie at 8:06 PM on February 20, 2014

I'm also going to recommend Alton Brown. It's almost like Nickelodeon meets America's Test Kitchen.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:23 PM on February 20, 2014

Iron Chef - the original Japanese show.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:45 PM on February 20, 2014


You want the AWESOME PBS-style Culinary Arts Institute of America backed...

The Everday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking

Hosted by CIA Chef Bill Briwa.

This video series is part of The Great Courses
a college level series of audio and visual course online.

I went to culinary school. I absorb cooking shows like I do oxygen. My husband, who studied law at university, started watching this series to keep up with me in the kitchen.

Holy Geezus! There is no other answer to your question.

posted by jbenben at 10:55 PM on February 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Watching Iron Chef, the original Japanese version, IN JAPANESE WITH OR WITHOUT SUBTITLES OR OVER DUB, is PhD level cooking + all the flash.

Teach your students to appreciate good ingredients and good technique with wisdom.

The Great Courses Every Day Gourmet is your answer!

source: I used to watch the Japanese version of Iron Chef on late nite international cable in NYC before it as overdubbed or subtitled, and before FoodTV started running it in English with an abbreviated running time of I hour.

Without a culinary background, it is useless excitement.

The Great Courses.

Trust me.
posted by jbenben at 11:02 PM on February 20, 2014

The Great British Bake Off doesn't feel nearly as fakey, and at the end of the season they have a few episodes of baking lessons that I found handy even as someone that enjoys baking and has watched a bunch of cooking shows. Either would work.
posted by tchemgrrl at 3:15 AM on February 21, 2014

The Supersizers is a UK show that isn't about cooking per se, but does place food in a historical context. The episode I saw saw them recreate the meals that were popular for both the rich and poor during the French revolution. Perhaps it ties in to something else you're doing in class?
posted by mippy at 4:19 AM on February 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Good Eats definitely got a little silly and full of itself toward the end, but should be the go-to "entertain AND learn" cooking show for anyone from beginners to long-time home chefs.
posted by briank at 5:04 AM on February 21, 2014

I was obsessed with Good Eats in middle school.
posted by missriss89 at 5:04 AM on February 21, 2014

nthing, Good Eats.

Alton Brown has a new show now called Cutthroat Kitchen and it's hilarious!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:16 AM on February 21, 2014

PBS has a whole range of great cooking shows! My favorites include Lidia's Family Table and anything hosted by Ming Tsai. You can find clips and it looks like even watch full episodes online.

I get a PBS channel called Create (one of those weird in-between channels) that is a lot of cooking shows and home stuff like Ask This Old House, and I will happily turn it on when I get up on Sunday morning and leave it on in the background all day. There are a whole bunch of other awesome cooking shows that might be exactly what you're looking for, so if you get that channel too you should try my approach. I find it works best if you stay in pajamas.
posted by SeedStitch at 5:53 AM on February 21, 2014

Nthing Good Eats!

I also really like The Mind of a Chef, especially the first season with David Chang. While most of the cooking is going to be beyond 6 or 7th graders, there's a lot of interesting bits about food history and culture and ingredients. Here's an incomplete listing of episodes. The "Rotten" and "Soy" episodes might be of interest, it might open them up to the idea of trying new foods.
posted by inertia at 7:29 AM on February 21, 2014

Definitely Alton!
posted by radioamy at 8:18 AM on February 21, 2014

what about sorted food on youtube? they do quick 15 min and under segments.
posted by zw98105 at 8:42 AM on February 21, 2014

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