Reality cooking shows are always a great option to build your food cravings while watching passionate chefs prepare amazing dishes that you wish you could try. However, the format of these shows can start to grow a bit bland over time. Why not expand your palate by checking out cooking shows from different genres?

Whether you want to jumpstart your passion for cooking or enjoy beautiful scenes of unique meals, here are some shows outside the reality cooking show genre to add to your watchlist!

The Menu (Horror)

Horror and food are such a strange mix, but the film The Menu makes the most of this combination. The 2022 film introduces viewers to the dark side of haute cuisine and the tensions between a burnt-out chef and his constantly unsatisfied elite customers.

The movie begins with Margot (Anya Taylor Joy) joining her pretentious date, Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), to the infamous Chef Slowick’s (Ralph Fiennes) restaurant on a remote island. Upon arriving on the island, Margot is highly suspicious of the head chef and his creepy demeanor. Then, things take a turn for the worse when one of the dishes calls for a shocking element from one of the chefs, leaving everyone trapped inside the restaurant.

The film does a great job of building tension while putting the audience in awe of the spectacular dishes being presented, such as the “Breadless Bread Plate” or “Chicken Tacos with Scissors in It.” The close-up shots of each dish give the audience some time to recover from all of the film’s nail-biting moments!

The Menu is a must-watch to keep you on the edge of your seat and hungry for more!

The Bear (Comedy)

Premiering in 2022, The Bear is the perfect choice if you want to indulge in a cooking show that handles more serious topics while making room for hilarious moments. The show tackles the themes of mental illness, grief, and finding purpose while showcasing some of the most beautifully shot scenes of meal prep and Chicago architecture.

Many episodes feature detailed sequences of the chefs preparing different meals, including one of the characters making an omelette with an interesting twist. Viewers get to enjoy the sounds of sizzling butter and close-ups of the chef frying and preparing the omelette.

Follow Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White) as he takes over his family’s restaurant, The Beef, in Chicago after his brother's passing. Dedicated to keeping his brother’s restaurant afloat, Carmy tries to share everything he learned from his experience as an award-winning chef with his coworkers at The Beef.

A hopeful newcomer from the Culinary Institute of America, Sydney Adamu (Ayo Edibiri), joins the crew and helps out as much as possible in this stressful work environment. Together, Carmy and Sydney face the frustratingly difficult task of trying to change the restaurant for the better.

Despite the show’s heavy topics and highly tense conflicts, the show takes time, showing viewers the inner workings of a kitchen and featuring some comedic moments that will help you connect with this wide variety of characters. After watching seasons 1 and 2 of The Bear, you will find yourself wanting to learn more about the culinary world and its addicting lingo!

Street Food (Documentary)

Street Food allows a deeper look into the culture of street food in multiple countries. This show, dating back to 2019, is divided into three different variations: Street Food: Asia, Street Food: Latin America, and Street Food: USA.

From Thailand to Peru to even Miami, Street Foods helps viewers discover the absolute go-to meals across multiple cultures, as well as where some of the most popular food vendors reside.

The show's food cinematography will leave you craving these amazing dishes! Many episodes feature slow-motion shots of chefs firing up their grills and steaming hot meals being served to excited customers. Not only do you get to learn the chefs’ culinary methods, but you also get to hear their stories of how they got into their professions. While this is more educational than a reality cooking competition show, Street Food will certainly leave you ready to try a bite of everything!


As someone who got tired of cooking competition shows, I found these examples to be some of the most entertaining media about cooking I have seen in a long time. The gorgeous cooking sequences and captivating stories make it worth rewatching every single time! If you ever feel bored of the same-old reality cooking competitions, take a chance on these genres and enjoy watching delicious food being made!