Confession: I’ve never watched Game of Thrones.

And since we’re getting personal here, I only made it through two-and-a-half episodes of Succession and half of the first season of Ted Lasso. After three scenes of The Diplomat I called it quits, but I watched every last episode of LOST. Even when it stopped being fun.

Suffice it to say, my taste in television is not always on par with what the masses are watching.

What you will find populating the Banister DVR, however, is no shortage of competitive cooking shows. What can I say? I love them.

After another fantastic season of Top Chef wrapped last week—the final one with Padma gently telling the chef leaving to “pack your knives and go”—I had my annual summer tradition of watching MasterChef to fall back on.

Unlike Hell’s Kitchen and any number of Gordan Ramsey-fronted shows, you see a kinder, gentler, dare-I-say-encouraging version of Ramsey on MasterChef. He doesn’t hold back on sharing his opinions, of course, but it’s in a far more constructive fashion. The audition phase for this season just finished, and there wasn’t an episode where I didn’t tear up.

It’s incredibly heartening to be reminded there are so many amazing people in the world with big dreams and stories that deserve to be heard. Like the picture on the left of the grandfather awarding his grandson the elusive white apron after he dazzled the judges with the recipe for Crawfish Etouffee they always made together. I don’t even know Kolby or his beloved “papa” but I’m rooting for them all the same.

To me, that’s must-see TV.

How about you? Are there any food competition shows you never miss? For me, you can add The Great British Baking Show, Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay to my perennial list of favorites.