5 culinary delights for your TV diet

Cooking shows just aren't really my thing, if I'm being honest. I mean, I didn't watch a single minute of the latest season of Masterchef NZ - though if Lucy Corry can be believed, the show is "as much about cooking as The Sopranos was about waste management", so I probably didn't miss too much. Besides, Stuff did a great job covering the finale, and interviewing each losing contestant as the series went along. I had nothing important to add to the conversation, so stayed quiet.

Besides, I'd rather watch a scripted show than a reality show; as I've written before, the sheer commercialism of most so-called reality shows is off-putting. Most seem like an extended advertisement for some product or brand that I'm probably not interested in anyway - even though I know the shows couldn't exist without some kind of product tie-in.

The madness doesn't stop either. The schedule is loaded with cookery, and that's before Masterchef Australia starts playing every day starting from Monday.

But while I'm not a fan of cooking competitions like Masterchef NZ, or tutorial style, "here's one I prepared earlier" shows fronted by the likes of Nigella Lawson or Rick Stein, there are a few food-related shows I do like. You can keep your Hell's Kitchen and your Top Chef, I'd much rather watch ...

1) Come Dine With Me UK: There is something terrifying about inviting people over for dinner, let alone having a group of randoms come over and rate the meal you put in front of them. Come Dine With Me is fun, it's a bit of a laugh, and it's interesting to see how a bunch of relative amateurs approach hosting a dinner party. Plus, it makes me feel better for having thought about buying restaurant food and passing it off as my own.

2) The F Word: While Gordon Ramsay comes across as a twerp on Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares USA (which would actually be interesting if he wasn't more concerned with swearing at Americans), his broader family show The F Word was an entertaining watch, combining filmed segments with celebrity interviews, games and recipes. At its best, you could call it the Top Gear of food.

3) What's Really In Our Food: Local culinary fare is good too, as proven by this documentary series fronted by Carolyn Robinson (previously Petra Bagust) which investigates how food is made and prepared before hitting shelves and stores. Sometimes surprising, usually eye-opening and always interesting - the first series is repeating over on new Freeview channel Choice TV, Thursdays at 9.30pm.

4) Masterchef UK, the original: Believe it or not, I actually liked it when Masterchef UK was just a half-hour long, with 3 contestants cooking their butts off and the winner going through to the next round of the competition. Short, to the point, and focused solely on the cooking. Unlike the long, drawn-out mess that is Masterchef in 2012.

5) The Food Truck: Another local dish, Chef Michael Van De Elzen tries to create and sell healthy alternatives to popular food choices from the back of his truck. The latest series covered everything from Indian food to ice-cream, from sushi to soft drinks - and the best part is most of his tasty recipes are on the website, linked above.

What are your favourite food-related shows? And what did you think of Masterchef NZ, if you were watching?

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