From Akshay Kumar hosting a cookery show to small screen divas fighting to prove their culinary skills, the kitchen has become the new battle ground in the reality show obsessed world of television.
In the process, the culinary shows have also gone through a change. Instead of being the do-it-yourself programmes, they have now moved into a more entertaining sphere and are looking for direct audience involvement through competition.
Food related programmes like 'Khaana Khazaana' by Sanjeev Kapoor, 'Italian Khana' by Ritu Dalmia, 'Highway On My Plate' by Rocky and Mayur, 'Foodie' by Kunal Vijaykar and 'Around the World in 85 Plates' by Magandeep Singh have been a staple of lifestyle and news channels.
But general entertainment channels are also waking up to the power of such programmes as a tool to tap a new audience base, which may or may not care about family dramas and music reality shows.
Star Plus has brought 'Master Chef' to India with Akshay Kumar as a host while Colors is hosting the third season of 'Kitchen Champion' with a host of television stars.
Akshay, who started his career as a chef before finding fame in Bollywood, says working on the show was like revisiting his past.
"Food interests everybody irrespective of the gender but Master Chef is not just a cookery show as it is also about great drama and good food. We have seen some of the finest male chefs in our country and I am confident that everyone will be glued to the show," Akshay told PTI.
The actor is confident that as a host and a judge, he will gain a wide audience cutting across gender and age.
It is for the first time that a food related show is making it to the prime time slot, which is generally reserved for family dramas.
Celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor, one of the pioneers of food related programmes on TV with his 'Khana Khazaana', believes that the trend has more to do with the changing taste of Indian audience. They are more travelled and informed and food has become a part of the lifestyle.
"Indian audience are more evolved now and that can be seen in the increased number of food related shows. Food is going to be the next entertainment," Kapoor says.
"Some people watch them to get some new tips while for others it is pure entertainment. But to sustain the interest we must not compromise with credibility," he adds.
Sibani Sharma of NDTV Good Times feels that compared to other leisure based shows, food programmes always get more viewership.
"When it comes to food programmes viewers don't seem to be getting enough. This is why we have introduced shows about ethnic, regional Indian delicacies, gourmet cuisines, French cuisine and Italian food. Our most popular programmer 'Highway On My Plate' is also about food," Sharma says.
Kapoor, however, believes that competitive shows like 'Top Chef' and 'Master Chef' are yet to find a footing in India.
"It will take time for the audience to get used to competition in food programmes. They are yet to be accepted as pure entertainment," says Kapoor, who is planning to bring another show.