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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Positive messages about working collaboratively, turning mistakes into positives, adapting to challenges.
Positive Role Models
Competitors show skill, creativity, patience, and support for one another.
Top Chef brand certainly appears dedicated to casting a diverse range of contestants and making sure the playing field is level for all of them. Competitors on Top Chef Family Style represent a wide array of ages, ethnicities, regions, backgrounds, types of cuisine. While young contestants are split evenly between boys and girls, 75% of family members are women.
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Violence & Scariness
Knife skills are a frequent topic of conversation, but no violence is shown.
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No objectionable language is used (though there are some jokes made about using profanity).
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Products & Purchases
Top Chef frequently features brand sponsors in prizes or as parts of challenges.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol is occasionally mentioned as part of cooking, and host Marcus Samuelsson likes to joke about it when it happens because "it's a family show."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Top Chef Family Style is a spin-off of Top Chef in which young chefs (ages 9 to 15) compete in pairs alongside one family member. In each episode, the pairs compete in challenges that test their culinary skill and imagination before one team is sent home. The young contestants have an impressive amount of cooking skill and knowledge, and the show places some focus on their ability to compose dishes and adapt creatively when things go sideways. The adults are placed in support roles, working as sous chefs and sounding boards, and are incredibly supportive of their teammates. The series chooses to focus on what the pairs accomplish together rather than any sort of tension that may arise between them. There's also some focus on kitchen etiquette and using dangerous tools and equipment safety, and yet the young contestants are also clearly having fun and being themselves, not taking the competition itself too seriously.
Is It Any Good?
The choice to pair young contestants with a family member proves to be more compelling and dynamic than a show just featuring young chefs would have been. Top Chef Family Style of course features the battle-tested Top Chef structure, which is still the gold standard for reality cooking competition shows. (And yet still something that Top Chef Masters missed.) But this spin-off succeeds largely on the basis of its casting. The younger half of the teams show not only a wealth of culinary knowledge, but also the patience and adaptability to roll with the unforeseen challenges and catastrophes that competition brings. Meanwhile, the older halves are so genuinely supportive, and often awed by their partners' skill levels, that the teams are easy to root for. Professional cooking is often known for its meticulousness and technical precision, and professional kitchens are often extremely hierarchical. So it's impressive to see the up-and-comers take the lead, pull off dishes that require immense technical skill, and do it all with boundless enthusiasm, curiosity, and support for one another.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.