Dinner Takes All

TV review by
Lucy Maher, Common Sense Media
Dinner Takes All TV Poster Image
Quirky cooking competition is tasty tween fare.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Demonstrates that you can have a good time trying to win a contest -- it's not just about the outcome, but also the fun that can be had during the competition.


Some dinner themes may include mild innuendo in costumes or food types.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cocktails are served before dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that each dinner party's theme and menu is completely up to the evening's host or hostess. That means that one episode may be racier than the next. For example, in one episode, viewers saw contestants enjoy a family style dinner, as well as a '50s-inspired meal served by a woman dressed in a saucy waitress uniform. But other than that, there's little to object to, although kids may not be drawn in by the subject matter.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bythadeus April 9, 2008

Nice breather from all the tatoo shows

Interesting menu planning and decor ideas. Fun to see how well the competators get-along with each other. All in all a nice way to spend a mindless half hour. I... Continue reading

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What's the story?

In DINNER TAKES ALL, five amateur chefs each take turns -- one each night -- cooking up a meal for the other four in hopes of winning their votes and walking away with $1000 at the end of the week. Each of the five evenings features a dinner party conceived and prepared by the contestant in the spotlight, who must plan the menu, prepare the food, serve it, and provide entertainment. At the end of the meal, each guest rates their host on food, presentation, and entertainment; whoever has the highest score at the end of the five-night cycle gets the $1000. Past episodes have served up meals centered around a "man-sized" meal, a garden party, and a Hawaiian luau, just to name a few.

Is it any good?

While foodies will undoubtedly take away a few tricks of the trade, what many viewers will find most fun about Dinner Takes All is the interaction between the host and his or her guests. Thanks to wise casting on the part of the producers, each episode features an eclectic mix of serious gourmands and less-practiced cooks who often flail around the kitchen (in one episode, a contestant shot Pam cooking spray into the broiler -- when it was on).

This makes for some very interesting dinner parties, which can include everything from temporary tattooing as the burgers heat up to after-dinner entertainment in the form of beer and cigars in front of the tube. And all of the contestants look like they're having fun, even if they don't win the money. All in all, Dinner Takes All is a half-hour of mindless (though perhaps hunger-inducing!) fun.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about having fun during a contest. Why is it important to think about things besides winning and losing? Why is it important to give something your all, yet still practice sportsmanship and be a gracious competitor?

TV details

  • Premiere date: June 29, 2006
  • Cast: Cindi Avila
  • Network: TLC
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: October 12, 2020

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