We've all been there: those trying times when you're attempting a new recipe or going back to a challenging favorite. Maximizing those creative kitchen juices can, at times, turn into a fail, like the time you thought it was a good idea to substitute jalapeño jelly for raspberry at your grandmother’s luncheon to help ‘spice things up’—or the time you thought tofu would pass as farmer’s sausage for your husband’s birthday breakfast in bed. Accidents can be totally inadvertent, like the time you added salt instead of sugar to the pie filling, and everyone at the table (besides great uncle Jack with no taste buds) went running to the bathroom! Sometimes, it's the method; sometimes, the recipe; (and sometimes, it’s just straight lack of thinking), but whatever the case, you end up with the same miserable failure in the end!
However, when moments such as those arise, it's nice to take comfort in the idea that all our kitchen fails are nothing compared to these extremely embarrassing culinary blunders of our favorite TV show characters and reality stars, including some notorious celebrity chefs! Never fear because the following list of culinary disasters will far outshine any mistakes you may have made in the past! So sit back and strap in because there may be some cringe moments ahead—like the time Buddy dropped the ball during one of his craziest Cake Boss reveals, or the time Linda from Bob’s Burgers was tasked with finishing the Thanksgiving turkey dinner! It’s cringe city, but in the best possible way—because you're nowhere NEAR to blame for the kitchen catastrophes of these memorable TV personalities!
20 Friends: Monica's Fake-Nail
No one will ever forget the struggles Monica endures with her awful nitpicky mother throughout the entire series of Friends. Things come to a head in The One With The 'Cuffs episode when Monica agrees to cater her mother’s dinner party. Due to her ongoing unemployment as a chef, she's been forced to submit to her mother's insanity for one evening. In true sitcom fashion, the culinary wiz inevitably ‘pulls a Monica’ when she realizes she’s lost a fake blue nail in one of the many mini quiches prepared for her mother’s dinner party! The real clincher is that Monica’s mother fully expected this to happen and had a backup lasagna in the freezer the entire time!
19 Gordon Ramsay Is Bad At Making Pad Thai
Okay, this one is just straight-up BAD. Gordon Ramsay, king of telling other chefs how terrible their cooking is, received a taste of his own medicine when he went to visit renowned Chef Chang in London to help prepare a dish for local monks who were only allowed one meal a day!
After many laughs and a little one-on-one coaching from Chang, Ramsay attempted his own version at a quintessential Thai dish: Pad Thai. The infamous critic and chef put his best effort into what appeared on camera to be a bland, colorless dish of fairly plain-looking noodles. After one bite from Chef Chang, viewer suspicions were confirmed. In an awkward turn of events, Ramsay was forced to ask his guest chef how the meal was, only to receive a muted reply with a sour face. Ramsay was then hilariously corrected by Chang, who offered lasting words of wisdom: "That's not Pad Thai!"
18 The Office: Kevin's Homemade Chili
Hands down, this has to be the most priceless mix of pathetic hilarity in the history of mockumentary television ever produced (is there a Dundee for that?). Poor, poor, Kevin stumbling through the entrance of the office with his one pride and joy in life: a big bowl of homemade chilli all for his co-workers to enjoy. Audiences watch as Kevin realizes the elevator is broke, forcing him to climb the many stairs to the top floor of the building. Sweating profusely by this point, poor Kev loses his grip, and the chilli tumbles out of his hands spectacularly with a cascade of fresh, steaming soup all over the office carpet floor. We cringe as the pathetic heap of chilli-soaked Kevin hopelessly tries to scrape his liquid gold back into the massive pot from whence it poured forth with no luck, of course.
17 Cake Boss: Chandelier Cake Disaster!
Whether you love him or hate him, the controversial King of Cakes is one of those TV personalities that you simply cannot ignore. Whether it’s the ridiculous dialogue of the reality show or the outrageous specialty creations, Buddy always seems to be cooking up some fascinating entertainment for our eyes, ears, and palates. In so many episodes, audiences are sure that the Cake Boss is going to face certain doom in transporting some of these elaborate edible creations, but this time, the Boss does indeed get his hands dirty at a special party in honor of the life work of prominent chandelier artist Bob Kaindl of New York City.
After the hung chandelier cake was properly hung and the crowd let in for the big reveal, Buddy literally dropped the cake when he went to undo the rope responsible for suspending the masterpiece. The plethora of glass accoutrements smashed all over the floor as the crowd, completely and utterly shocked at what has just unfolded before their hungry eyes, looked on. The NYC pastry chef was then forced to serve plain pancake to the astonished crowd, some of which began helping themselves to the horrendously hampered homage to Kraindl.
16 Friends: Rachel's Trifle
No one will forget the many lovable characters on the TV hit Friends, however, it may be only true fans who remember the unforgivable blunder Rachel committed when she attempted her own version of Trifle! Few can top the disgusting mixture of ingredients incorporated into the Frankenstein monstrosity the clueless waitress slapped together when she attempted to make dessert for the gang. Rachel got the first few ingredients right: ladyfingers, jam, and a layer of custard from scratch. But then, it got a little weird… Beef sautéed with peas and onions miraculously made it into the very center of the trifle—and it wasn’t revealed until the very end of the episode that the pages of the cookbook had gotten stuck together. Good one, Rach! That’s a classic cooking mistake!
15 Cutthroat Kitchen: The White Chocolate Lobster Mac 'n Cheese
Normal conditions in the kitchen can be tough enough for any chef during a competition, but Cutthroat Kitchen takes things to a whole ‘nother level with deliberate sabotages available to the highest bidder! One of the top Cutthroat fails has to occur during Season 1 Episode 3 when the competing chefs were challenged to create classic mac n cheese. Chef Taylor is slapped with a hefty sabotage: he must prepare dessert mac n cheese! By using delicious sweetened dairy alternatives like white chocolate and mascarpone, it appeared as though Chef Taylor had the cat in the bag—but wait! At the last second, the competitor decides to add a deadly game changer: LOBSTER. Needless to say, the judge was gagging on this horrific combination!
14 Seinfeld: Elaine and the Muffin Tops
For a TV sitcom about nothing, Seinfeld character Elaine sure does get into some crazy side hustles throughout the course of the show. Who could forget the episode where the shrewd New York businesswoman had the brilliant idea to open a bakery serving exclusively muffin tops?!
Opinionated as ever, the idea began with Elaine's disdain for the 'stump of the muffin, preferring the top, “where the muffin breaks free from the pan and does its own thing!” Elaine's public confession to Mr. Litman results in the opening Top O The Muffin Bakeshop, where her former boss insists on serving nothing but muffin tops. But it doesn’t end there, and the episode concludes with Elaine finding herself in a battle with the irate homeless shelter manager and figuring out the best way to dispose of all those wasted stumps!
13 The Office: The Dinner Party
Sometimes, culinary fails have nothing to do with the food itself. Sometimes, you don’t even get that far, as is the case with this next classic dinner party fail courtesy of the comedy masterminds at The Office (US). In this Fourth Season episode, Michael and his on-again-off-again girlfriend (and former boss) Jan decide to throw a ‘couples-only’ get-together at Michael’s condo. As things proceed to get more and more awkward for their guests due to the jealous tensions and extreme emotional instability emanating from their hosts, the situation escalated further by the fact that dinner (a roast) has yet to be put into the oven! Truly, this is a dining catastrophe on so many levels that it’s almost hard to watch, culminating in a ridiculous domestic standoff between Michael and Jan that results in a call to the local police department and their dinner guests resorting to takeout on the drive home!
12 Fresh Prince: Burnin' Down the House
Kitchen disasters usually entail some type of situational comedy (if you can look past failure and see the funny side of catastrophe), and the best of this has to come from real dysfunctional family dynamics at play in kitchens across North America and beyond (we've all been there).
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air gives us family comedy at its finest. In the ‘Burnin’ Down the House’ episode, audiences are witness to some real kitchen devastation when Will decides to step in for Geoffrey and prepare dinner for uncle Phillip and his boss. As usual, the misguided attempts of Will to subdue the worries of his uncle over this ill-thought-out plan end up in a classic sitcom catastrophe, almost burning down the entire house before the guest even arrives!
11 Friends: Baby Emma's Birthday-Cake Conundrum
Taking the cake, quite literally, for the world’s most inappropriate birthday cake, this hilarious blunder on Season 9 of Friends is one for the record books! When Rachel goes out of her way to order a birthday cake for baby Emma’s first birthday, the shop mistakenly creates a custom creation in the shape of a certain body part instead of the bunny-shaped cake with Emma’s face printed on top as originally requested. When Ross goes to capture the moment with his camcorder, he gets a surprise as he opens the box to reveal the novelty cake. At least Joey still thought it looked delicious!
10 Bob's Burgers and the Turk-Tastrophe!
Everyone gets anxiety about ruining a holiday dinner—especially one as important as Thanksgiving! In Season 5 of Bob's Burgers, poor old Bob finds himself in the middle of the manufactured mission of transporting his injured sister-in-law Gayle to their home for the holiday feast while Linda and the kids ruin dinner to a degree most would consider impossible. It starts as a harmless errand to go fetch Gayle (the decided burden of the family), but Bob soon finds himself completely snowed in at his destination, without so much as a kitty scooper to shovel himself out! Meanwhile, Linda’s turkey anxiety kicks in full tilt and, in the end, no one ends up with turkey for Thanksgiving. At least there’s gummy worm salad and hot fudge mashed potatoes for dessert!
9 Martha Stewart's Photography Flop!
Okay, Martha, what’s up with the sickening food photography? Social media (not exactly TV, but this had to be included) has forever archived one extremely off-putting photo Stewart snapped of an iceberg wedge salad slathered with an overload of reportedly homemade salad dressing. Captioned “perfect salad for the onion soup lunch,” it looks like Martha missed the mark on the no-flash policy that honestly makes her meal look like it’s part of the walking dead. If that wasn’t enough, there appears to be an unidentified protein similarly slathered in the putrid-looking dressing that has no relation with the caption below—like, where's the onion soup?! Well, we suppose even the queen can falter at times, but we won’t say "fail" until we taste this dressing!
8 Gwyneth Paltrow's Aubergine Parmigiana Disaster
Eggplant is a tricky ingredient for those unfamiliar with its ways. Decidedly spongy and texturally bland, every cook needs a few tricks up their sleeve when it comes to dealing with this member of the nightshade family. One of those tricks is simply allowing the eggplant slices to soak in salted water for about half an hour in order to draw out any bitterness and saturate the eggplant, making it easier to season and use less oil while cooking. However, it appears that Paltrow didn’t take Eggplant 101 in culinary school and flopped miserably with her preparation of Aubergine Parmigiana at one of her recent dinner parties. At least we know now that even Gwyneth isn’t infallible in the kitchen!
7 Worst Cooks in America: Ripe for the Picking!
Okay, okay... Worst Cooks in America is an easy target for this list. However, we couldn't consider it complete without at least a few honorable mentions from the series that features some of the most asinine cooks across America. What better way to feel good about your own flubs than by taking a look at some of the downright stupidest mistakes one can make in the kitchen? Take the guys who poured boiling water into a Mr. Noodles plastic bag, for example, or the girl who layered cheese on bread and popped it straight into a toaster (NOT a toaster oven—an actual toaster!). Picking up the remote to watch even five minutes of these disasters will reignite your own cooking confidence, guaranteed.
6 Modern Family: The Three Turkeys
Thanksgiving doesn’t always bring out the best in ourselves despite our best intentions, and this next example from Modern Family takes the cake (or turkey!). In this Season 6 holiday special, Luke and Phil find themselves volunteering for the crucial task of cooking the turkey; however, Claire has other ideas. Unbeknownst to the boys, Claire decides to take matters into her own hands to ensure there’s at least one edible turkey for the family feast.
However, in a hilarious deception, a third turkey (scrawny and poorly prepared) has been planted in the oven by Jay and Gloria, whose vacation plans got canceled and are secretly still at home in an attempt to get some peace and quiet for once in the Pritchett household. In the end, more than just three turkeys are revealed, and the entire family learns to laugh at themselves one more time.
5 Everybody Loves Raymond: The Kitchen Fire
The ’90s brought us all sorts of situation comedy, and Everybody Loves Raymond was simply one of those shows that, whether you loved it or hated it, Raymond managed to portray some of our best (and worst) attributes when it comes to dealing with family. The following is no exception, as audiences watch as Raymond freaks out (as usual) over a petty argument and stubbornly refuses to attend dinner at his parents. Boasting about his culinary skills, Raymond wastes no time choosing a fine tin of Chef Boyardee Ravioli for his evening meal... only to light the kitchen on fire in moments of Deborah leaving the house! Next time, better let your mom do the cooking, Ray!
4 Seinfeld: No Soup For You!
"NO SOUP FOR YOU!" screams out one of the most outrageous characters in Seinfeld history. This classic episode features an obsessive soup artist who serves up his slop with a daily dash of militarism, forcing his customers into a type of uniformity. As George, Jerry, and others submit to the hostile treatment in order to obtain some of the best liquid lunch the Big Apple has to offer, Elaine slips up and insults the soup overlord by comparing him to Al Pacino, resulting in a one-year soup ban! While none of us have (hopefully) ever been subjected to this type of treatment in a public eatery, it's a hilarious exaggeration of what can happen when you break the 'code of conduct' and become an inadvertent pariah at your favorite spot to chow down!
3 Celebrity MasterChef Australia Grand Finale: The Croquembouche Catastrophe
Croquembouche cakes are some of the most highly coveted in the world of baking. A symbol of mastery in the world of pastry arts, the Croquembouche often finds itself the feature star at weddings, galas, and the like because of its ornate appearance and devilishly daring level of difficulty to pull off. Which also makes it the perfect challenge for the finalists of the 2009 Celebrity MasterChef Australia who were responsible for preparing a three-course dinner for the season finale. However, when singer-songwriter Alex Lloyd attempted to release his towering creation, he found it to be firmly stuck inside the cone-shaped mold! After Alex burned his hands several times, the croquembouche was finally freed from its cast only to reveal a pathetic, lopsided version of what would normally be a spectacular arrangement of light-as-air cream puffs. Needless to say, this competitor wasn’t crowned MasterChef this time around!
2 The X-Files: Rm9sbG93ZXJz
When you sit down to watch an episode of The X Files, you know you’re in for something weird—but who knew the franchise would extend into its reach the world of culinary dining experiences! In the rebooted series, one Season 11 episode finds the infamous FBI duo facing a series of blunders that can only be described as deliberate sabotage. The pair electronically orders their meals in a deserted restaurant; however, when the dishes arrive, Mulder’s resembles nothing close to what he asked for. As he stares down the dead eye of a whole raw fish, Mulder decides to complain—but wait... there's no living soul around to hear his critique! As the experience continues, it becomes clear that technology is out to get them (or, was it the lack of a tip?). Whatever the case, the episode does an excellent job at exaggerating the special kind of treatment no one orders when they go out for dinner!
1 BBC One: The Saturday Kitchen Bread Pudding Flop
There's something to be said about the courage of chefs who dare venture onto live television. In one daytime BBC One Saturday Kitchen clip, hosts The Hairy Bikers are tasked with demonstrating the difficult task of preparing a traditional berry-based bread pudding—no easy feat. While the chefs prepare for the finale—the turning over of the cake to reveal the masterpiece—they run into a classic problem: the cake is firmly stuck to the inside of the pan! As a few chuckles are exchanged, the chefs get to work attempting to jiggle the cake out of its hiding place, but no such luck with this tough nut—or cake—to crack.
Finally, the embarrassed chefs are forced to resort to slicing the edges of their creation, only to have a disappointing (yet equally tasty) flop of a cake. Layers of drooping cake tumble over the sides of the plate as the delicious swirled strawberry (???) innards are exposed to the camera lenses. Oh well... guess you can't always expect a picture-perfect ending!