The successes of the Food Network and the Top Chef franchise have opened the doors for more food-related television both locally and nationally. Fortunately, with the assistance of DVRs and the fact that certain stations screen full episodes online, gone are the days when you'd have to wait until the weekend to catch all the cooking shows. We've rounded up the best of the Bay Area cooking shows.
KQED is the clear leader in local culinary television. But the station has also played a crucial role in national food programming for decades as the original home base for chef Jacques Pépin and the numerous series he has starred in for PBS, even though he resides in Connecticut. His most recent series, Essential Pépin, was shot at KQED's San Francisco studio and focuses on teaching basics. Behind the scenes and in front of the cameras, Pépin is actually still cooking -- and still imminently watchable. View the schedule of upcoming broadcasts.
New to PBS is Joanne Weir's Cooking Confidence, a series aimed at removing those dreaded kitchen anxieties from the chef and restaurateur behind the new Sausalito restaurant Copita. Each episode finds Weir giving a hands-on culinary pep talk to a different student with average cooking skills, which is about the closest way anyone can convey a personal, one-on-one experience via TV. The next air dates can be found here.
The O.G. of local food reality shows is KQED's Check, Please! Bay Area, which is hosted by Leslie Sbrocco and features a panel of real locals sharing their favorite eateries. Because the people selected tend not to be jaded folks from the hospitality industry, there's a sense of fun and adventure as they get to experience and review new restaurants. Catch it Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. or watch online.
Real people are also going to be the centerpiece for The Big Dish, a cooking show coming to KOFY in October. Amateur chefs from will compete to have their signature dish offered on the menu at a Bay Area restaurant. If other KOFY productions like KOFY Dance Party and Creepy KOFY Movie Time are any indication, it'll be fun and quirky.
Over at the national cable channel Live Well Network, San Francisco chef Ryan Scott premiered his new series Food Rush on September 8. The premise of the program combines fly on the wall bites from Scott's busy schedule (the Top Chef alum has opened two Market & Rye restaurants in the city this year, documented here) with cooking segments; guests in his kitchen so far have included Jardinière's Traci Des Jardins and Scott's mom. Find show times here or watch episodes online.
Finally, if you've got Comcast and a short attention span, you can find brief video profiles on local food businesses and chefs from TasteTV inside the "Get Local" section of the cable company's on demand channel 1. TasteTV may be best known in San Francisco as the producer of the twice-yearly Chocolate Salon event at Fort Mason, the next installment of which takes place on November 11.