When it comes to competitive cooking shows, the list is endless. From “Beat Bobby Flay” to “BBQ Brawl,” there is never a shortage of talent, drama and mouth-watering entertainment. Now, with the debut of Hulu’s “Best in Dough,” foodies across the nation can add a pizza showdown series to their list of binge-worthy television.
Each episode features three experienced pizza makers who go head-to-head in hopes of winning a cash prize of $10,000. There are two rounds of the competition. The winner of the first round must make a choice: to leave with a smaller prize or to continue onto the next challenge with an advantage. The second round, unlike the first, is not only judged by professionals but also by a “Pizza Jury.” The vote by this jury — a group of everyday people of all ages and genders — has a greater influence on the results than that of professional judges.
In the pilot, host Wells Adams (“The Bachelorette”) is joined by head judge and famous pizza chef Daniele Uditi and award-winning bread baker Bryan Ford. These three decide which competitor is worthy of a win based on a variety of factors, including quality, presentation and, of course, taste.
The first episode’s competitors are three nonnas (beloved Italian grandmothers) with a passion for pizza. Each woman comes from a different region of Italy, bringing the history and flavor of their childhood home into the competition. Luckily for the audience, they also bring lots of wholesome and relatable entertainment. Their brutally honest commentary yet warm demeanors transport the viewer to their own grandmother’s kitchen.
Much like other cooking competitions, “Best in Dough” tasks its pizza chefs with a specific challenge in each round. In the first round, the nonnas were assigned a pizza trend — pizza cone, pizza nachos and pizza cupcakes — to replicate. In the second round, they were told to make a pizza that best represented their respective region of Italy. By incorporating variation into the competition, the show gains some “flavor,” and each competitor’s abilities are truly put to the test.
While this show is similar to “Chopped” in how the competitors are given a limited amount of time to cook a specific dish, the “Pizza Jury” adds a refreshing twist. Undoubtedly, a set of judges with a professional background in cooking is necessary when it comes to a competitive cooking show. Yet, incorporating a group of everyday people with basic food palates and little expertise into the judging decision adds an element of accessibility to the contest that the viewer can appreciate.
That said, it is clear that “Best in Dough” mimics the structure of several other competitive cooking shows we know and love. This does not make it any less worthy of watching. Honestly, who could pass up hysterical nonnas and absolutely delicious-looking pizza? For all you food lovers and cooking enthusiasts, this may just be your next obsession, but be warned: Do not watch if you are hungry.
Daily Arts Writer Molly Hirsch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.