Beyond "The French Chef"
Julia’s The French Chef inspired a flood of new cooking shows and culinary stars throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In 1993, a new cable channel, Television Food Network, turned cooking and food shows into twenty-four-hour entertainment. She proved that cooking shows had to be entertaining—not just educational—and established a formula used by future television chefs.
Emeril Live, the first live Food Network program, began airing in 1997. The show’s success, combined with nationwide appearances, made Emeril Lagasse one of the most recognized chefs in the country. As he demonstrated a genuine fusion of his native Massachusetts Portuguese cuisine with flavors from France, Louisiana, and the southwestern United States, he helped inspire a new recognition and acceptance of fine regional American food.
In the 2000s, dramatic competitions began to draw larger audiences than traditional “how-to” programs. The shows challenged chefs to compete against one another—and the clock—while preparing dishes with odd and surprising ingredients.
Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger bridged both worlds. They cooked as the Too Hot Tamales on Food Network from 1995 to 1999 and competed on Top Chef Masters in the 2010s.