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11 Food and Cooking Shows to Cure Your Corona Blues

You might find your culinary skills getting better by sheer osmosis

People are obviously hungry these days for TV cooking tutorials. But with literally hundreds of foodie shows in the streaming mix — from the fluffy The Great British Baking Show to the silly Nailed It — choosing from the menu can be as intimidating as those banquet-hall smorgasbords from back in the day. Here's a pared-down variety pack of 11 culinary series, from star-driven to old-school, to inspire you in the kitchen.

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America's Test Kitchen

Still cookin’ after nearly 20 years! The recipes on this PBS favorite are tested up to 60 times by thousands of volunteer fans across the U.S. before the Kitchen hosts (Julia Collin Davison, 52, and Bridget Lancaster, 50) suggest viewers try them at home. Included are tips on how to avoid potential goofs and the best products to use in creating the dish. Also helpful: looks at new culinary gadgets, the science of food, and critiques of new supermarket products. Speaking of dishy: Founding host Christopher Kimball, 68, left in 2016 to form a rival brand and binge-worthy PBS show Milk Street.

Watch it here: PBS, Amazon, iTunes

spinner image Amy Schumer and her husband Chris Fischer
Food Network

Amy Schumer Learns to Cook

Actress-comedian Amy Schumer (Trainwreck) has fun with her slacker persona — and taps into our current stay-at-home pickle — as she tries to first-time finesse meals like a poached egg with bacon, a roasted veggie sandwich and tempura-battered fish tacos. Her teacher: Husband Chris Fischer, who happens to be a James Beard Award-winning chef with a farm on Martha's Vineyard. Two half-hour episodes fire up Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Food Network. Pop star Selena Gomez, of all people, has a similar show coming on the new HBO Max streaming service.

Watch it here: Food Network

spinner image Barefoot Contessa host Ina Garten
Food Network

Barefoot Contessa

Self-branded the Barefoot Contessa, jovial chef Ina Garten — call her today's Julia Child — shows viewers how to whip up lemon ricotta pancakes, cauliflower toast, or red-wine-braised short ribs in ways that even fledgling cooks can follow. And that's just in the latest season of her Food Network hit, which premiered May 16 at 12:30 p.m. ET. The Brooklyn-born, Connecticut-raised Garten, 72 — a Martha Stewart protégée — has been clanging pots and pans on this show since 2002, making it FN's longest-running series. Catch the two most recent seasons on the channel's streaming platform for free, and various seasons and episodes for purchase widely.

Watch it here: Food Network, Amazon, YouTube and more

The Chef Show

In 2014, Jon Favreau, 53, took a break from directing mega flicks like Iron Man to play a culinary artiste turned food truck operator in his 2014 comedy sleeper Chef). That effort proved so satisfying, last year he re-teamed with the movie's consultant, famed Korean American chef Roy Choi, 50, for this free-wheeling reality spinoff. The guys, and guests like Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Downey Jr. and Seth Rogen, have fun in kitchens from L.A. to Texas making stuff like gourmet grilled cheese sammies and a spicy pork marinade. Enjoy 20 episodes (and counting) on Netflix.

Watch it here: Netflix

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One philosophical cooking show, comin’ up! In this beautifully shot Netflix four-parter, famed documentarian Alex Gibney (Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine), 66, and journalist-host Michael Pollan, 65, dig into mankind's primal relationship with food. Noting that our sustenance relies on the four elements — fire, water, air and earth — Pollan also reminds us of the emotional benefit of avoiding processed vittles and “preparing something delicious and nourishing for the people you love.” Note: Chef Samin Nosrat's acclaimed 2018 miniseries, Salt Fat Acid Heat, makes a flavorful companion piece.

Watch it here: Netflix

spinner image Julia Child
Courtesy of The Julia Child Foundation/PBS

The French Chef

With her unbridled enthusiasm and rich chortle, food icon Julia Child made even cooking a chicken seem like a kick in this groundbreaking make-fancy-food-at-home primer (1963-1973). Wait until you see the star (who died in 2004 at 91) introduce her pick for Miss Roaster of the Year! Quiche, coq au vin, crepes ... Child (played by Meryl Streep in 2009's Julie & Julia) turns each recipe into a rollicking adventure. Full seasons can be seen on Amazon and PBS’ streaming platform.

Watch it here: PBS, Amazon

Great Chefs of the World

Foodies of all levels slather praise on this vintage PBS/Discovery Channel treat (1982-1998) now available on Amazon. Cameras poke into kitchens of famed restaurants from Europe to the Caribbean to America's West, charting top chefs (Roy Yamaguchi, Susan Feniger) as they prepare their signature dishes. Each 20-minute episode covers an appetizer, entree and dessert, each made by a different kitchen master in a different near or far-flung locale.

Watch it here: Amazon

Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Home Cooking

For this 2013 series, hotheaded chef Gordon Ramsay, of Fox's ever-popular Hell's Kitchen cooking competition, simmered down enough to show the stove-averse how to make delicious meals for morning, noon and night. The Brit, 53, guides you through how to fashion everything from muesli to shepherd's pie to a lemon and basil granita. All 20 episodes are available on Hulu.

Watch it here: Hulu

Somebody Feed Phil

Phil Rosenthal, 60, the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, is such a foodie he persuaded PBS to let him host I'll Have What Phil's Having, his own globe-hopping, Anthony Bourdain-style gastronomy show (six episodes, 2015). He started up this similar, Emmy-nominated Netflix version in 2018. So far, he's sampled bites and visited with locals in the likes of Bangkok and Lisbon, and in his latest five outings — dropping May 29 — he breaks bread in Marrakesh, Chicago and beyond.

Watch it here: Netflix

Sugar Rush

Lots of folks are bingeing on this newish Netflix bake-off, where four professional pastry-chef duos vie for a $10,000 prize per season (there've been two batches so far). Along with the usual genre ingredients — the clock ticks as the teams aim to create winning cupcakes, confections and cakes — viewers get expert tips and inventive ideas (wasabi adds zip to a dessert — who knew). All that, and some grownup guest judges like fashion rebel Betsey Johnson, 77, iconic chef Nancy Silverton, 65, and famed chocolatier Jacques Torres, 60. (Note: Food Network ran a same-titled show 2005-2006.)

Watch it here: Netflix

spinner image Taste The Nation host Padma Lakshmi
Dominic Valente/Hulu

Taste the Nation

Tour America this summer from your sofa, as Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, 49, travels to 10 cities and towns to learn about a dish linked to an indigenous or immigrant community there. Among the stops, all premiering June 19 on Hulu: San Francisco for chop suey, a Peruvian neighborhood in New Jersey for ceviche, and Milwaukee for hot dogs and pretzels, compliments of descendants of German immigrants.

Watch it here: Hulu

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