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.

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.

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