One moment you marvel at a chef deftly dicing vegetables – the next you despair over ever mastering the technique yourself. Competitive cooking shows such as "Top Chef" and "Iron Chef" dazzle and amaze, sure, but can leave you feeling decidedly inferior. But not everything's a competition, and instructional cooking shows encourage home chefs to adopt new methods, experiment with recipes and hone basic skills.
Some of these programs are as entertaining as they are educational. Viewers tune in to enjoy the host's personality, expertise, humor and to see appetizing images of foods. Certain shows, however, have inspired people to look at food prep in a whole new light. Thanks to the television shows listed in this article, the kitchen is no longer just the place to house the refrigerator; it's a center of nourishment, competence, innovation, science and knowledge. Oh, and food. Definitely food.