The Most Influential TV Food Personalities

Whether you're a fan of Julia Child or Guy Fieri, food television has a unique appeal: entertainment packaged as delicious dishes. With the rise of the Food Network and cooking reality shows, food TV has never been better. Julia Child helped kick-start the TV chef craze. Portrayed by Meryl Streep in "Julie & Julia," Julia child brought fine French cooking into the average American home. Fearless and willing to fail on camera, she taught Americans that cooking requires both technique and soul.

As the prototype for the cooking reality show contest format-think Top Chef and Chopped-the original Iron Chef Japan focused on big personalities in the kitchen. Chefs like Hiroyuki Sakai donned outrageous costumes and battled in Kitchen Stadium under the watchful eye of Chairman Kaga. Takeshi Kaga, the actor behind the chairman character, had previously played the role of Jesus in a Japanese production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Anthony Bourdain has become an icon for a specific brand of television foodie: the globe trotting, adventuresome eater with no reservations and no qualms about consuming anything vaguely edible. A frequent guest on Top Chef, Bourdain spawned numerous other "extreme eating" travel shows, including Man vs. Food.

With new cookie shows emerging every season, food TV is quickly diversifying and expanding. The personalities behind the cuisine, however, make the real television magic. In fact, more kids are cooking than ever before because of food TV.

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