Christopher Durham
Pressure Cooker
Food Network (Daily): 9/21/1998 – 10/30/1998
Glow in the Dark Productions

Pressure Cooker! was the wacky game show where three contestants were tested of their knowledge on food.


Main GameEdit

Round 1: Meal TicketEdit

In Round 1, the contestants would face a ramdomized game board called the "Meal Mixer". The Meal Mixer included four meals we're all familiar with: "Breakfast", "Lunch", "Dinner" and "Snack". They acted as categories. One category was different, called "Potluck" (more on that later). Either the host or the winner of drawing lots would start the Meal Mixer (depending on the episode). When it landed on a category, a toss-up question was read and the first contestant to buzz-in would get a chance to answer. Answering the question correctly took control of the Meal Mixer, but an incorrect answer gave the other contestants(s) a chance to answer. After that, the contestant who gave the last correct answer to that point would take control of the Meal Mixer.

The Meal TicketsEdit

The contestant with a correct answer not only took control of the Meal Mixer but also would put up a meal ticket (corresponding to the category that the question came from) on his/her podium, hence the title. For example, a correct answer in the lunch category would put up a lunch meal ticket.

Each meal ticket was represented by a food item:

  • Breakfast – Egg
  • Lunch – Hamburger
  • Dinner – Turkey
  • Snack – Bag of Popcorn

The object of the game was to get five meal tickets, which included one for each of the three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and two snacks.

NOTE: If a contestant answered a question in a category from which he/she already had a meal ticket, that contestant would have a chance to steal a meal ticket from one of his/her opponents. However, if neither of the opponents had what the contestant wanted, that contestant would get a free unclaimed meal ticket of his/her choice, aka "stealing from the house."

Don't Play with your FoodEdit

It may say "Don't Play with your Food", but as Chris would say, "BUT WE WANNA/WE'RE GONNA!" Midway into Round 1, all three contestants would play a stunt that allowed them to build or make things from food, hence “playing with food” (an example being making caricatures of famous people, real or fictional). They did that for 30, 45, or 60 seconds, and when time ran out, all the contestants would share their creativity. The contestant with the best work would get a meal ticket of his/her choice and control of the Meal Mixer. If there was a tie, each contestant who tied would get a meal ticket of his/her choice, but the host would control the Meal Mixer.


Always played once; it was a special game in which the contestant would play a solo stunt involving food (for example, matching up food names with the food) If successful, the contestant would earn a meal ticket of his/her choice; failure, however, did not earn a meal ticket of his/her choice.

The first two contestants to get all five meal tickets would win the round and advance to Round 2. If time ran out before that happened (indicated by a saxophone riff), the contestant(s) with the most meal tickets would advance. If there was a tie when the latter happened, a tie-breaker question was read to the tied contestants for advancement to Round 2. Regardless of the outcome, the third place contestant was eliminated, but won parting gifts (such as cookware).

Round 2: Taste-OffEdit

In Round 2 (referred to on the air as "The Taste-Off Round"), the two remaining contestants would face a dish that was made by a Food Network chef. Their job while going back and forth was to identify what ingredients are included in the dish. While identifying, they could take as much of that dish as they wanted. There were either nine or eleven ingredients (depending on the episode) and the first player to identify half of the ingredients won the game. An incorrect ingredient or failure to respond in time would give the player a strike. Just like in baseball (as well as Family Feud & The Price is Right's 3 Strikes), three strikes and that player was out, and the other player won, regardless of score. The winning player would go on to the bonus round, and the other player would go home with parting gifts.

Bonus Round: Pressure CookerEdit

The winning player would play a bonus round called "The Pressure Cooker Round". This was where host Durham and the winning contestant would stand inside a giant pressure cooker to play. To start, host Durham would show the contestant nine food words and phrases. Each one was part of a list of foods and/or other things, and all of them related to specific subject. The contestant's job was to call out a word and the host would read off the list; the contestant could make as many guesses as he/she could, and if he/she was stumped, he/she could pass and move to the next list by calling out another word, or wait until the list was complete. If the winning player could get six subjects correct in 60 seconds (sometimes 75 seconds), he/she won a grand prize (usually a trip). If he/she couldn't do that, he/she still won a consolation prize.


A similar show called Taste Test which was hosted by celebrity chef David Rosengarten premiered after Pressure Cooker! got canceled.

The buzz-in sound was similar to that used on the PBS game shows Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?.


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YouTube LinksEdit

A Full Episode