Pressure Cooker has a creative approach to blending reality TV and cooking, making for a heated and dramatic competition.
We review the Netflix reality series Pressure Cooker Season 1, which was released on January 7th, 2023.
Just when you think that you’ve seen every possible format of cooking show known to mankind, Netflix presents a new one. Pressure Cooker blends Survivor–type reality TV and a more traditional cooking show to create a competition in which things are bound to get heated. Eleven chefs from different backgrounds and places across the United States must live together in a house while going through a series of cooking challenges, each one trying to win the grand prize of $100,000.
Pressure Cooker Season 1 Review and Premise
From the moment that the chefs arrive at the house, with its colorful large kitchen and well-stocked pantry, it’s clear that this is not your typical cooking show. There’s no host or panel of celebrity judges, just the eleven chefs and the restaurant-style ticket machine that gives them their challenges. The mix of private chefs and restaurant owners must live together, making their personalities and ability to work together almost as important as their cooking to their ability to make it to the next round. They’re even rooming together, making it impossible to escape occasional drama.
Their first challenge is to create a dish within 90 minutes that shows off who each of them is as a chef. Then, they are judged by each other. Throughout the show, there are occasionally guests brought in to judge the food they create — from food critics to family members — but most of the judging is done by one of the chefs themselves. It creates even more of an insular experience and, of course, the potential for more drama. The challenges range from multi-course meals to making desserts from savory ingredients, forcing the chefs to work as a team, in pairs, or alone. No one — neither the chefs nor the viewers — is ever sure what will come out of the ticket machine next.
Pressure Cooker did an excellent job putting together an interesting and eclectic group of contestants. There is a solid amount of diversity represented in terms of gender, race, and sexuality; chefs have come from Michigan, the Bronx, Maryland, and more. There is a blend of people who attended top-notch culinary institutes and those with no formal training, demonstrating the variety that truly exists in the restaurant industry. Some of the contestants, like Jeana, are difficult to like but fun to watch, while others like Robbie and Ed are sure to be fan favorites. It’s amazing to see women like Renée and Lana prove their worth as chefs from the earliest moments of the show, proving that the role of “Chef” is no longer regulated to men.
Getting to see how each chef brings their beautiful dishes to life is a joy, as is watching them all in their white chef jackets talking to each other as they cook. It’s fun to see different approaches to food and how even the most talented chefs can occasionally mess up a meal under pressure. Of course, there are also the talking head interview reactions to the events of the show, where confessions are shared. Seeing the chefs build alliances, break them, share drinks, and even get emotional is fascinating. It certainly seems that many of them come to genuinely care about each other and I wonder what these new friendships between chefs brought together by the show may mean for the future of the culinary world.
Is Pressure Cooker on Netflix good?
Just as Netflix reinvented reality dating with Love is Blind, it has done the same for cooking shows with Pressure Cooker. It’s hard to stop watching (I voluntarily watched the whole series in one day), especially because many of the episodes end on cliffhangers that are annoying but effective. The show is wildly creative and great at building suspense. Pressure Cooker is unlike any other cooking show and is so full of twists and turns that I am eagerly awaiting an announcement of a second season.
What did you think of the Netflix Reality Series Pressure Cooker Season 1? Comment below.
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