Whether you work in a five-star bistro or a greasy spoon, you know how it feels to work a long shift in the kitchen or a busy night in the front of the house. Watching a show about restaurants or the food service industry might be the last thing you want to do when you get home, but if you feel like commiserating or just need a laugh, these nine shows might be just what you’re craving.
1. Bob’s Burgers (Fox): The Belcher family — parents Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda (John Roberts), and their children Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman), and Louise (the fabulous Kristen Schaal) — run a burger joint in this animated series that premiered on Fox in 2011. While the family faces struggling sales and financial hardships, they always have each other’s backs — usually in a way that will leave you belly-laughing.
2. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FX): Having a core group of coworkers can make all the difference when it comes to your job, and that couldn’t be more true for the gang on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Deandra “Dee” Reynolds (Kaitlin Olson) run Paddy’s Pub with their dad Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito) and friends Charlie Kelly (Charlie Day) and Ronald “Mac” McDonald (Rob McElhenney). The characters’ hilarious (and often crude) antics have been going on for 13 seasons now, so it should keep you busy between shifts.
3. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (Travel Channel): Before his death in 2018, Anthony Bourdain traveled the world to introduce viewers to cuisine they might never have known about otherwise. His charisma made him seem like both a friend and a tour guide, and he will be missed immensely.
4. Hell’s Kitchen (Fox): If you’ve ever felt like working in a restaurant is like being thrown into the fire, you’ll sympathize with the contestants on Hell’s Kitchen. Led by the infamous Gordon Ramsay, the show sees cooks take on culinary challenges that must meet the head chef’s exacting standards. If they fail, he yells and throws things. However, those who survive the heat can earn themselves a spot as a head chef at a prestigious restaurant. The 18th season of Hell’s Kitchen premiered in September.
5. Top Chef (Bravo): Up-and-coming culinary stars also compete on Top Chef, and while no one screams in their faces, the challenges can be pretty daunting. The show is hosted by Padma Lakshmi and features food experts Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and Richard Blais as judges. Each season starts with a dozen or more competitors — only one of whom will make it to the end and be crowned the next Top Chef.
6. Chopped (Food Network): While Top Chef takes an entire season to crown a winner, Chopped gives us a victor at the end of each episode. Hosted by original Queer Eye star and Food Network mainstay Ted Allen, this TV competition pits four cooks against each other, challenging them to create tasty dishes with secret ingredients that are only revealed as the prep time begins. One competitor is eliminated in each of the first two rounds before the final two chefs go head-to-head to determine who will be the last to be chopped and who will win $10,000.
7. Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (Food Network): It’s nice to indulge in a fine dining experience every once in a while, but we can’t deny that we also love diners, drive-ins, and dives. Enter, “Triple D,” wherein Guy Fieri crosses the country to try the tastiest dishes at low-key, indie establishments.
8. The Great Food Truck Race (Food Network): Another Food Network show that takes the action on the road is The Great Food Truck Race. Hosted by Tyler Florence, each episode sees teams of competitors traveling from one city to the next, selling their cuisine while tackling food-related challenges.
10. Nailed It (Netflix): When Nailed It hit Netflix in March 2018, it was immediately successful — much more successful than, say, the creations that competitors attempt on the show. When amateur bakers try to take on desserts that are well beyond their level of, er, expertise, the results are often disastrous and always hilarious.
(Photo via Fox)