Before Emeril Lagasse, Gordon Ramsay, Martha Stewart, and Nigella Lawson made their names as television food stars, there was Betty Crocker.
The history of cooking and food shows began in 1924 began with the composite character created by consumer food producer General Mills. “The Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air,” a radio show, first aired on WCCO, in Minneapolis, later expanding to ABC, CBS, and NBC until its nearly 30-year run ended in 1951. The first standalone television cooking show to air in the United States was “I Love to Eat” featuring James Beard, which ran from August 1946 to May 1947 on NBC affiliate WNBT in New York.
In the years since, other celebrity chefs and shows have included “Joyce Chen Cooks,” which debuted on the Public Broadcasting System in 1968; Graham Kerr’s “The Galloping Gourmet,” which followed a year later, also on PBS; and Lena Richard, acknowledged as the first African American host of a television cooking show in the U.S., appeared on WDSU in New Orleans from October 1949 to November 1950.
While most mainstream food shows do not focus exclusively on vegan cooking, individual episodes focusing on dairy-free, meatless recipes and the restaurants that offer them on their menus can nonetheless be found on popular culinary shows. Foodies can now follow social media accounts of their favorite vegan culinary artists, such as Chloe Coscarelli, a Food Network Cupcake Wars winner, and Matthew Kenney, who owns a culinary school along with 40 restaurants.
As veganism gains in popularity, both for its health benefits and generally reduced environmental impact, the public’s appetite for animal-free food options is only getting stronger. Thistle compiled a list of food shows with episodes highlighting vegan recipes and restaurants.