Most popular food TV shows around the world

A look at some of the most popular food TV show franchises around the world reveal that there’s a definite recipe for success: a sprinkling of celebrity chefs, steamy culinary challenges and no shortage of hand-wringing human drama.

Most involve cutthroat culinary competitions, challenging chefs to show off their chops, or are hinged around food divas with egos the size of kitchens.

Last month, for example, the largest food channel in the US, The Food Network, announced its best ever quarter results, pulling in an average of 1.3 million viewers every night. The record-breaking results put it in 9th spot among ad-supported cable networks earlier this year, up two spots from 2011.

Some of the shows that helped bring in the viewers included Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off, a show hosted by Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri which pit two teams of D-list celebrities against each other in cooking throwdowns, and Worst Cooks in America.

As the growth of food TV sees no signs of slowing, Relaxnews takes a look at some of the most popular programs that have been copied around the world and how they differ.

Iron Chef
Perhaps one of the earliest shows to take culinary competitions to a whole new level of seriousness, Iron Chef first debuted in Japan in 1992, pitting master chefs against each other in a battle over a single secret ingredient.

Today, the Iron Chef franchise has been replicated around the world in countries like the US, the UK, and Australia.

The latest additions to the franchise include Iron Chef Thailand, which launched in January. A Vietnamese edition is slated to make its debut this June and will feature three Iron Chefs. Iron Chef Vietnam is scheduled to air on VTV3.

Come Dine With Me
The concept for this show was born in the UK. The premise?  Get four or five strangers -– preferably ones with strong personalities for livelier entertainment  -- to take turns hosting dinner parties in their homes. Guests vote on the best soirée and the host or hostess with the ‘mostess’ wins a goodly sum of prize money in the end.

Since its 2005 debut the show has been replicated in 33 countries under various names like ‘Without a Napkin’ in Slovakia, ‘An Almost Perfect Dinner’ in France, and ‘Come For Dinner’ in Iran.

Between the dynamics of throwing strangers into each other’s homes, the comedy of amateur chefs trying to outcook one another, and catty commentary of the narrator and guests, the show has enjoyed worldwide popularity.

Hell’s Kitchen/Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares
This show hinges on the ego, vocal chords and personality of one man: Gordon Ramsay. The success of Hell’s Kitchen and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares in the UK has been replicated in the US, where the angry, foul-mouthed chef makes young, ambitious chefs in the US cry and tries to help struggling restaurateurs turn their failing business around through tough love -- a lot of it.

MasterChef
With editions around the world, including in Australia, China, India, Israel, the US and the UK, MasterChef assembles the top chefs from within each country to fight culinary battles and crowns the best of the best. Like Iron Chef, competitors are serious about the game, putting their reputations on the line. Not surprisingly, like many of the successful culinary food shows, MasterChef also originated out of the UK, first debuting as far back as 1990.

  • Driving a $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder to the future 45 minutes ago
    Driving a $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder to the future

    It’s more than just its inherent speed, or the whooshing noise that fills the cabin like a school choir jamming with James Hetfield. It’s what it represents in an industry full of skeptics. It’s a portal into the future – a time capsule left by some mad scientist born decades too soon. It’s something that shouldn’t exist. And yet it does.

  • Man drives three-wheeled Mustang along a Texas highway 5 hours ago
    Man drives three-wheeled Mustang along a Texas highway

    Some things in life are hard to explain, like why a dentist insists on asking you questions when you clearly can't respond. Or why we call pants "a pair" even though it's just one. Or how about this puzzler: Why a person would drive their Mustang along a Texas highway despite it missing a wheel? Life is full of little mysteries, I guess.

  • How a mom stole a car in under 60 seconds 23 hours ago
    How a mom stole a car in under 60 seconds

    “I didn't steal your car but I think my mom may have. It's a long story. I'll explain, but your car is safe and sound," read the flier posted in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a strange tale that began when Cheyrl Thorpe was asked by her daughter Nekisia Davis to dog sit her Pomeranian at her apartment, according to New York Magazine.

  • Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers
    Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers

    Singaporeans on social media reacted angrily to news that tissue sellers at hawker centres and street corners are being required to pay for an annual licence.

  • Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry
    Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry

    Heart-wrenching messages of fear, love and despair, sent by high school students from a sinking South Korean ferry, added extra emotional weight Thursday to a tragedy that has stunned the nation. Nearly 300 people -- most of them students on a high school trip to a holiday island -- are still missing after the ferry capsized and sank on Wednesday morning. Mom, I love you," student Shin Young-Jin said in a text to his mother that was widely circulated in the South Korean media.

  • Indonesia’s armed forces chief says “no apology” for warship’s name
    Indonesia’s armed forces chief says “no apology” for warship’s name

    General Moeldoko, the head of Indonesia’s Armed Forces, has clarified that he had not apologised for the naming of a warship after two Indonesian marines who had been involved in the 1965 MacDonald House bombing in Singapore.