Netflix’s ‘Cooking on High’ Should Have Been So Much Better

How did a cannabis-infused cooking competition show turn out to be such a disappointment?
Netflix's 'Cooking on High' Should Have Been So Much Better
Courtesy of Netflix

Recreational legalization has changed things. Yes, it’s given us recreational dispensaries, but it’s really kicked the world of weed media into gear. With our love of cooking competition shows, it only makes sense that a weed-infused cooking competition show has surfaced. Cooking on High is Netflix’s newest culinary venture, a clear attempt to be the first platform to nab that low-hanging fruit of a premise. Perhaps they should have waited a bit longer though — Cooking on High simply isn’t ready. It’s pretty undercooked.

A Little Too Stoney

The biggest issue with Cooking on High is that the whole thing feels a bit amateur. How are people supposed to take weed seriously if the show itself doesn’t take it seriously? Rather than focus on the idea of people cooking high-quality, cannabis-infused meals, they’ve focused on stoney baloney antics. It actually seems like the food is an afterthought, which, ya know, maybe isn’t the best move for a food show.

Add to that the fact that the whole thing is shot on a tiny soundstage with a very unimpressive kitchen, the whole thing feels like a bad web series.

The Format is Uninspired

Here’s the way the show works: two chefs are given a theme, and they need to cook an edible that matches that theme. The themes are hot garbage. One of them was “Baked Potato”, which is not so much a theme as it is just the name of a food. The chefs cook their one item, constricted to a time limit that is never shown on screen, and present it to the judges.

The judges then rate the dish on scale of one to ten by holding up a spatula with a green number on it. Since there are two judges, this makes a total possible score of 20, which is a nonsensical number.

The winning chef, rather than walking away with money or anything somebody might actually want, takes home the Golden Pot, which is, you guessed it, a literal golden cooking pot.

Get Out of Here With These Judges

The other issue is that it seems like nobody besides the chefs seems to know anything about food. You’d think the judges would, but, nope.

Instead of hiring actual people in the food industry, they’ve hired comedians and rappers. Great perspectives from the weed side, but if you’re judging a cooking competition you need somebody who understands cooking.

Many episodes feature at least one of the judges trying some of the food they’re judging for the very first time. In the season opener, while tasting chef Andrea Drummer’s cod sandwich, rapper Mod Sun mentions he’s never had fish before.

The Show Really Isn’t About Cooking With Marijuana

Did I mention that the judges are sometimes already stoned before they judge the food? This means they can’t really distinguish their current high from the high that the edibles provide. It also means everything is going to taste a whole lot better.

Another issue is that the chefs tend to lean towards recipes that already work and just enhance them with cannabis butter or oil. That doesn’t take any skill. That’s not what this show should be.

So  What Should the Show Be?

What should the show be, you ask? Great question! I watched almost four full episodes and therefore am unquestionably qualified to suggest some quick fixes.

Two chefs should cook their best cannabis-infused meal. This doesn’t mean just some cornbread with cannabis-infused honey butter. It means a high-quality dish that uses the natural flavors marijuana has to offer in order to enhance the dish. Then, judges that have both a basis in food and pot come out and judge the dish in two categories.

First, how does it taste? Does it use the flavors of marijuana in a solid way? How is this dish better because of the addition of cannabis?

Second, what is the high like? Is it too strong? Not enough? This show is about edibles, and the judging should be based on both the food and the high.

Finally, get this 1-10 rating system all the way out of here. Have three judges confer (Chopped style), and then make an informed decision about the winner.

And all these suggestions come free of charge. Your move, Netflix.

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