The internet cooking show is a very consistent genre. The intended purpose of these videos is to instruct the viewer in the culinary arts in an entertaining manner. This can either be demonstrating a difficult culinary technique, such as dicing an onion, or the preparation of a recipe. Internet cooking shows, as opposed to televised cooking shows, typically focus on one food item instead of an entire meal. This recipe is almost always one of the host’s creation, and typically features some sort of creative element to separate it from other cooking shows.
Due to the ease of producing these short videos, internet cooking shows are often focused into a specific variety of food than their televised counterparts. For instance, televised shows might be based around Italian food as in Emeril Lagasse, while internet shows could be entirely based on the healthy recreation of American fast food as in Nicko’s Kitchen. The more popular internet shows also have some sort of ridiculous gimmick, as seen in My Drunk Kitchen, where the host is perpetually drunk, and Cooking with Dog, where the host is literally a dog.
Despite the incredible variety of cooking shows on the internet, their execution is almost formulaic. They typically feature one main cook, who is also the host and producer of the show. Often, there is also a humorous sidekick, as in SMBC’s Hand to Mouth and Cooking with dog, or a guest appearance by a notable restauranteur. The videos are almost exclusively shot in a home kitchen with typical domestic cooking appliances, so as to not intimidate the audience. There are not many cuts, and the camera angles typically consist of a medium, frontal shot of the chef where their hands are visible, interspersed with close-up “action shots” of chopping and top down shots of the stove top. The host talks the viewer through the cooking process, describing the ingredients and cooking techniques used.
There are two main audience groups of these cooking shows. Unlike many other internet videos, cooking videos are typically part of a series of episodes that follow a general theme. Therefore, many viewers of a particular video are simply loyal fans of the overall show hoping to be entertained. This is seen in My Drunk Kitchen, where the host is especially humorous despite consistently failing to give any actual cooking advice. Alternatively, because internet cooking shows focus on item of food, a significant part of the views on a single video can be attributed to people looking for advice on how to cook that particular item. This would be seen on shows known for demonstrating proper culinary techniques, such as The Minimalist and Hilah Cooking.
Internet cooking shows are an excellent example of how to combine the hilarious with the educational. They are, in essence, a how-to video, but go above and beyond a simple step-by-step delivery into something much more entertaining.