5 Reasons Why I Think Next Level Chef Is Gordon Ramsay's Best Cooking Show In Years

Gordon Ramsay, Richard Blais and Nyesha Arrington addressing the contestants on Next Level Chef.
(Image credit: Fox/ Next Level Chef)

If you know me, you know that I love to cook. Anyone who has met me in the last few years could catch me at any point watching some of the best cooking shows or the best cooking YouTube channels – heck, maybe even some of the best baking shows, because I just love to cook so much. It’s become almost therapeutic for me. If you love to cook, usually that means you love a good cooking competition.

Enter Gordon Ramsay and literally every single one of his cooking competition shows. Watching all of this shows has sort of become a pastime for me, just because I genuinely enjoy cooking and I’ve learned so much from them, but if we’re being honest, his latest show, Next Level Chef, has become one of my favorites. If you’re wondering if you should give the show a chance, here are five reasons why it's his best show in years. 

Gordon Ramsay on Next Level Chef

(Image credit: Fox)

Gordon Is Still A Judge – But I Like His Co-Judges More Than The Ones On His Other Shows 

Obviously with any Ramsay cooking show, he’s always going to be a judge. It wouldn’t quite be one of his competitions if he wasn’t critiquing food in some way, because that’s just who he is – and people praise him for it. I’m pretty sure I’d give anything in my life to have him look at my beef Wellington. 

I Like Gordon Ramsay's Next Level Chef, But It Needs A Key Change

Gordon Ramsay on Next Level Chef.

(Image credit: Fox)

Something's gotta give.

If we’re being honest, however, in a lot of his other cooking competitions, I tend to not really remember who the other judges are. It’s not that I don’t care, but it’s that they don’t leave the lasting impression that the judges on Next Level Chef leave. On Hell’s Kitchen, Ramsay is usually the only one who judges the food – aside from a few guest judges for certain challenges – and in his other shows, the co-judges just don’t do it for me. 

However, I really like the dynamic between Ramsay, Nyesha Arrington, and Richard Blais. I feel like they are all exceptionally skilled in the art of cooking, but are different enough where they offer valid advice and critiques on different areas of the food, which is something I can really appreciate. 

The three floors in Next Level Chef.

(Image credit: Fox)

The Concept Is So Original 

It’s really hard to create a new kind of cooking show these days. Ramsay really revolutionized the genre with Hell’s Kitchen, and there have been plenty of other great shows such as Iron Chef, Nailed It! and so many more that have become huge hits. It’s not difficult to actually create a cooking competition – but what is hard is to create something that is new and original. 

I think that’s why I really like The Big Brunch a lot, hosted by Schitt’s Creek cast member Dan Levy, because it feels like such an original concept. This is also why I really like Next Level Chef – because the concept itself is very interesting. 

If you don’t know what this competition is about, it takes place in a specific building that is fitted with three floors. Each floor is designated to act as a specific kind of kitchen – the top floor is filled with the absolute best appliances/ingredients that money can buy, the middle floor is about average, and the bottom floor is the worst kitchen, filled with meh appliances, sometimes even broken. 

An elevator moves through the three floors, from the first to the last, giving contestants a chance to grab whatever they can (or whatever is left at the bottom), to make the best meal possible during the timespan. Sometimes they rise to the challenge. Other times they don’t, and that’s the fun of it. 

It’s always so cool to see what chefs can do on the bottom floor and if they can truly make something that is knock-out vs. someone in the top kitchen who had the chance at the best ingredients and utterly fumbled the bag. It’s such a cool concept.

Some of the contestants of Season 2 of Next Level Chef.

(Image credit: Fox)

The Chefs That Are Pulled In Aren’t Just Professionals In The Industry 

Something that I’ve noticed with a lot of cooking competition shows is that in many of them, it’s usually just professionals that are pulled from the industry to compete, whether they have their own bakery or restaurant, or anything else. I mean, even the most recent Hell’s Kitchen winner for 2023, Alex Belew, was a restaurant owner before he had to shut it down due to COVID. 

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing – because with a lot of shows like that, most of the time the prize is a whole-ass restaurant that needs to be properly managed – but it’s always nice to see people like me who just have a genuine passion for cooking. That’s what Next Level Chef brings to the table. 

I think it’s why I like another one of Ramsay’s shows so much, Masterchef, because I feel like there are a lot more home cooks on that show, and this one is no different. It has different types of chefs from all over, from social media influencers to retired football players. The competitors are so unique and I love to watch them.

The judges in Next Level Chef.

(Image credit: Fox)

I Like That The Mentors Help The Chefs Through The Cooking Process

Obviously this is a cooking competition, so everyone is up against each other and no one can really help anyone because there’s a huge prize on the line. The whole point isn’t just to win, though – it’s to hone your cooking skills and improve more and more. With every team, the mentors (Ramsay, Arrington, and Blais) regularly offer their advice.

Even just during the premiere episode of Season 2, there was a moment where Arrington gave a chef advice to use a certain kind of glaze with a specific type of fish (black cod, delicious). Or in the past, Ramsay has given advice on how to properly cook certain kinds of protein when a chef is given one that they have no idea how to work with. 

From the advice they give, it’s then up to the chef to determine what to do, but I have to admit — I haven’t seen that many cooking competition shows where the judge is regularly helping the contestants do better, which is something that I really like. 

Something on fire in Next Level Chef.

(Image credit: Fox)

It Doesn’t Feel Too Dramatic

Last but not least, we need to talk about dramatics – because Next Level Chef feels like it doesn’t have any. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good drama. It’s why I watched Hell’s Kitchen and all of its crazy moments, or why I’ll check out the most cringey dating shows on Netflix – because everyone loves some drama now and again. Sometimes, however, I just need a break, and the competition here is that break in more ways than one. 

It’s still shot like a typical cooking competition series – with fast cuts, intense music, and all of what you would expect – but it doesn’t feel like there are certain moments that were crafted specifically for television. Everything feels organic as to what could happen in a kitchen, from someone cutting their hand by accident and something catching fire to everything else. 

There’s never any serious fights. Never any crazy yelling. Never any drama that’s seriously bad. It’s just good television, which is something that’s so rare these days. 

While there are plenty of cooking competition shows out there, I really do believe that Next Level Chef is one of those shows that deserves more praise than its gotten and Ramsay’s best idea in years, and I hope that maybe somehow, you’ll end up liking it just as much as me. 

Stream Next Level Chef on Hulu. (opens in new tab)

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!