There’s no better time to flex your culinary skills than during the lazy, hazy days of summer.
The weather is perfect for grilling, and on rainy days it’s a good time to stay indoors and try baking. And if you’re searching for inspiration, look no further than your TV.
Summer is flush with food shows to give you the nudge to get in the kitchen, from Food Network favorites to Netflix experiments to a “new” season of your favorite British bakers. With all the cooking, grilling and baking competitions out there, at least one will convince you to slap on an apron and attempt to nail a delectable creation. We rounded up seven of our favorites premiering in June and July. (BYO tongs, please.)
The ninth season of Fox’s reliably fun home cooking competition (Wednesdays, 8 EDT/PDT) kicked off a few weeks ago, but you can catch up on Hulu, Fox apps or on demand. And it’s worthwhile, considering the show proves that even nonprofessionals (and in the junior version, kids) can whip up restaurant-quality food. The best part of “MasterChef” is how educational it is. Judges Joe Bastianich, Aaron Sanchez and even notorious hothead Gordon Ramsay critique the contestants’ food, but they also teach eager home cooks about the culinary arts, and you can learn a few things, too. The new season leans into this aspect of the show, with each judge mentoring a group of contestants, just like “The Voice” coaches.
Ramsay isn’t always as nice and relaxed as he is on “MasterChef,” including in his latest show for Fox (Wednesday, 9 EDT/PDT). If you miss the fire of his “Hell’s Kitchen” days and you want to see how even top restaurants can have bad days, “24 Hours”sends Ramsay on the road to save restaurants on the brink of closure, in (you guessed it), 24 hours. It will either inspire you to clean up your own kitchen or scare you from eating out for days.
If you ever looked at your favorite cooking shows and thought they could include more marijuana, Netflix is here for you. “Cooking on High” (streaming June 22) is billed as the “first-ever competitive cannabis cooking show,” and the tongue-in-cheek series asks contestants to prepare marijuana-infused dishes for some very relaxed celebrity judges. This may be one show that’s best not to imitate, unless you live in Colorado or Washington.
This adorable, sweet British cooking competition lives up to its incredible hype. If you’ve never seen “Baking” (June 22, Fridays, 9 EDT/PDT), don’t worry, you can jump in anytime. The series follows a group of Britain’s best amateur bakers through tough weekly competitions, not for money, just glory and a fancy cake stand. If you’re not inspired to whip up a batch of cookies (or biscuits, as they say) after watching grandmothers and college students turn flour and eggs into delectable creations, we can’t help you. And an important programming note for longtime fans: This is the final batch of previously unaired (in the U.S.) episodes with hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, and judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.
Food blogger Molly Yeh brings her farmhouse-chic decor and cooking style to this new Food Network series (June 24, Sundays, 11 a.m. EDT/PDT). The author of “Molly on the Range” is a darling of the hip food-blogging world and famous for bringing her Jewish and Chinese heritage to the table. In her kitchen on the border of Minnesota and North Dakota, Yeh makes dishes that not only taste great but look Instagram-ready. Her blog and cookbooks make it easy to cook along with her.
Listen, no one’s expecting you to be “Great British Baking Show”-great right away, or ever. You’re not a professional, and that’s OK. But there’s no better show to celebrate your average culinary talents than “Nailed It” (streaming June 29), the distinctly amateur competition. The bakers compete for $10,000 by trying to re-create intricate desserts quickly, with limited skills. The results are often disastrous, and hilarious. The point isn’t getting the prettiest cake, it’s trying your hardest.
What’s more summery than a great barbecue? This twist on the Food Network staple “Chopped” (July 31, Tuesdays, 9 EDT/PDT) brings together grill specialists from North Carolina, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas and more to vie for a $50,000 prize in a tournament-style competition. If you want to be motivated to try to grill more than just hot dogs, hamburgers and steaks, “Grill Masters” offers inspiration in how chefs cook with weird ingredients.