15 Scrumptious Facts About The Making Of Everyone’s Favorite Cooking Shows

Learn who's the real diva in "Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives."
15 Scrumptious Facts About The Making Of Everyone’s Favorite Cooking Shows

From eating an insane amount of calories per day while tasting contestants' delicious dishes to judges almost getting food poisoning because, hey, not everyone's a star cook, we grabbed some behind-the-scenes snippets about everyone's favorite cooking shows and also that cake thing on Netflix ...

Hot Ones: How They Got Gordon Ramsay

Hot Ones, Gordon Ramsay

Complex Media, YouTube

The Brit with the potty mouth might never have made an appearance on the wildly popular YouTube tasting show if his kids didn’t become super fans first. The story goes that they didn’t stop pestering him to go on the show, and by season eight, the famous chef finally gave in, along with his taste buds.

Top Chef: Judges Consume Up To 8,000 Calories Per Day On The Show

Top Chef Padma Lakshmi

Bravo TV

Main host Padma Lakshmi told the Hollywood Reporter: “When filming Top Chef, I consume about 5,000 to 8,000 calories a day. We start with anywhere from 15 to 18 contestants, and I have to take a bite or two from each of their plates to adequately judge each dish. Every day. It adds up. I typically gain anywhere from 10 to 17 pounds every season. Once I get home, what’s taken me six weeks to gain takes me 12 weeks to take off.”

Iron Chef America: The Challenger Chef Picks The Iron Chef Long In Advance

Iron Chef America

Food Network

What looks like a split decision from the Challenger Chef in this U.S. adaptation of the Japanese hit cooking show is actually a decision made weeks before they film the episode. Also, these Iron Chefs have jobs, and they can’t just hang around to film those dramatic podium scenes. Those other “chefs” we see with their faces in the shadows are actually stand-ins that resemble the Iron Chefs.

Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives: That Red Camaro Travels In A Trailer

Guy Fiery Cooking Show

Food Network

The mayor of Flavortown might look all suave riding up to a Dive joint in his 1968 red Camaro, but the fact is that Guy Fieri hardly ever drives his vintage car, probably to save on mileage. Instead, the car is transported in its own trailer from location to location and is only used when filming Fieri opening and closing the car door outside an establishment.

Nailed It!: Some Of The Food Is Inedible

Nailed It! Netflix cooking show


Host Nicole Byer said she wasn’t faking her taste reactions because the show’s contestants really are amateurs. “They're all like, ‘I love to bake. I want to bake better for my kids!’ And then I get served poison.” The comedian also joked that a good ninety percent of the food was inedible. “And you're watching people, like, mixing stuff with their hands, and it's like, 'Did you wash your hands?'"

Kitchen Nightmares: Gordon Ramsay Has Been Sued More Than Once For Allegedly Faking It On His Show

Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Ramsay, sued


Both a Manhattan restaurant manager and a seafood spot in New Orleans have sued the chef for allegedly creating problems to be solved that made it look like rats were crawling around in these establishments and rotten food was just sitting around everywhere. In other words, he made them look like total buffoons, so they sued the show.

The Brit’s response? “I would never-ever-ever dream of setting anything up. I want to sleep at night. We were issued a writ because, God bless America, if the toilet paper is not thick enough and you come out with a rash on your ass .”

Chopped: Chefs Really Need To Be Super Creative, Super Fast

Chopped, Food Network

Food Network

Said Michael Vignola, former competitor and executive chef at Strip House and Bill's Bar & Burger: “I had never seen any of the basket ingredients beforehand, and they don't give you any extra time to come up with ideas. As soon as you open the basket, the clock starts. I have no idea how I came up with the dishes I made. I just did it in the moment.”

Top Chef: The Judges’ Table Scenes Can Last Up To 8 Hours

Top Chef, Judges

Bravo TV

The judges once had a decision-making session go on until 4 A.M. because sometimes, agreeing with others is hard. Also, that’s just the show’s producers. “If we can’t make a decision, the producers will sit us there. It’s like detention,” said host Padma Lakshmi.

MasterChef Junior: The Kids Aren’t Told What’s Going To Happen Beforehand

MasterChef Junior


Yeah, these kids really are that talented. They’re not told what they’ll be cooking before taping each episode — they only find out when the judges do the reveal on set. They are, however, rigorously trained in kitchen safety and tool management before filming.

The Great British Bake Off: The Victoria Sponge Oven Test

The Great British Bake Off

BBC Studios

In the spirit of fairness (and appeasing all lawyers involved), every oven is tested at the start of the series by way of a Victoria Sponge bake off. Production team member Georgia May explained: “We mark each one, then get a runner to stand at each station with their cake mix so we can be sure they've all gone into the oven at the same time and can be properly tested.” The goal is for these sponges — all made from the same batter, obviously — to come out the same. 

Hot Ones: Sean Evans Knows As Little About Those Hot Sauces As The Celebrities

Hot Ones

Complex, YouTube

Co-creator Christopher Schonberger and Noah Chaimberg (founder of the hot sauce boutique Heatonist) choose every season’s sauces before filming starts. The brave duo will usually test around 20 to 30 sauces first, narrow their list down to between 10 and 15, and do a final round of testing. And Evans doesn’t know which sauces make the cut, leading him to legitimately sweat alongside his guests for the first couple of episodes until he gets (somewhat) used to the new hot sauces. 

Guy’s Grocery Games: The Team Scouts Contestants On Facebook And Instagram

Guy Fieri, Guy's Grocery Games

Food Network

It makes sense that some cooking shows would look to the food porn site, Instagram, for potential contestants, and the Memphis chef Keith Clinton said that’s pretty much how they got him on the show. “They just called the restaurant and said, 'I see you're doing some interesting things on Instagram and Facebook. We're just wondering who's the chef there and what's going on.”  

Is It Cake?: Lessons In Cutting A Cake

Is It Cake? Netflix


You’d think baking cakes that look like shoes and typewriters would be the trickiest part of the Netflix cooking game show, but it turns out the real test is in the cutting. Host Mikey Day had to be trained in all sorts of different cutting techniques, and the production team had to figure out which of those techniques actually looked good on camera. “Cut and spread” and “slice and flop” were terms they came up with to direct the dramatic cutting of each cake. 

MasterChef: Contestants Undergo A Psych Evaluation

MasterChef, audition process


One contestant spilled the beans on the audition process and the fact that it includes a round where a psychologist does a formal evaluation of every potential participant. There’s also apparently a meet-up with a private investigator who does a standard background check on everyone, according to former contestant Jessie Glenn who said the process felt a bit “invasive.”

Hell’s Kitchen: Has A Lawyer On Set To Make Sure The Competition Stays Fair

Hell's Kitchen, Gordon Ramsay


Said Judge Christina Wilson: “People don't know this and it's not the sexy part of the show but there's a lawyer on set, from Fox, every time that we're recording, anytime there's a challenge or a dinner service. There's no funny business. It's a cash prize. It's handled just like a blackjack table would be. It has to be fair, all the way around.”

Probably a good idea, since people seemingly love suing Gordon Ramsay so much.

Thumbnail: Complex, Food Network


Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?