TV Review: Hulu’s Pizza Competition Series “Best In Dough” is Tasty Entertainment for the Whole Family

For the past (nearly) two decades cable and national networks have been bringing audiences a whole slew of reality food competitions. I can list more than a dozen shows on a variety of networks spanning everything from Food Network and Bravo to Fox, TBS and even Disney Channel. More recently, streaming platforms have joined the fun with their lower stakes options that are much more participant friendly but just as engrossing to watch. Well this year Hulu is presenting their latest culinary creation that's focused solely on pizza. And it's served alongside a kitschy name: Best In Dough.

On the surface Best In Dough looks like your average food competition show: theme of the week (or in this case episode) timed challenges, contestant talking heads, judging, winner declared, roll credits. But just like the ultimate slice of ‘za there’s a secret ingredient…or a few of them that sets this show apart from the rest of the bunch.

The Dough

The dough for the pizza is essential because it provides the structure and sets the tone for the pie and the slice. Similarly the host is the base for the show and Hulu has a real winner in Wells Adams. Bachelor Nation die-hards will recognize him instantly, but for the rest of us, he’s the cute bartender from Bachelor in Paradise. He’s charming, genuine and has a great rapport with the contestants and his fellow judges. In each episode he’s joined by Daniele Uditi (Pizzana restaurant creator and co-owner) and a fellow guest judge who offer unique and informative critiques of the various pizzas they sample.

As for the game itself, it’s simple: two rounds of timed competitions, one unconventional (a pizza cupcake!) and one where contestants present something somewhat signature for them. The winner of the first round gets the choice of a prize or an advantage for Round 2. Of the three episodes I watched, two winners took advantages (10 min. and 6 min. head start) and one went for the prize: a gas pizza oven that Google told me was valued at $500!


“The secret’s in the sauce,” and in this case the sauce is the cast. In the episodes I screened, there wasn’t a single contestant I didn't like or wasn’t rooting for. Things kicked off with Nonnas, three Italian grandmothers who are all old world pizza experts in their own right. But the scene stealer was 82-year-old Nonna Lina who flat out refused to do her trendy challenge (the pizza cupcake) and simply did her own dessert pizza with a hazelnut spread. She also compared her family to The Godfather— without the killing—and then attempted to steal a “mature” tomato from one of the other Nonnas because she needed it.

Photo by: Michael Desmondx/Hulu

Photo by: Michael Desmondx/Hulu

Other episodes focused on pizza-obsessed influencers who were tasked with calzone and monochrome (one color theme) challenges; followed by Barbecue Pit Masters who created pizzas featuring BBQ sides and their best pie made with their signature smoked meat.


You can’t have a savory pizza without cheese! The best choice differs for everyone but it’s an essential ingredient to the overall pie. Here the cheese comes in the form of the original challenges that push the contestants out of their comfort zone right from the start. Not to mention the various creative ways they approach the tasks. How exactly does one make pizza nachos; can you successfully put baked beans on a pizza?


Finally we come to the toppings, the added extras that give flair and dimension to the overall pie. Not always necessary but an appreciated touch. Best In Dough gives the competition a twist by bringing out a jury—6 pizza lovers—who get to sample the signature challenge. Their collective opinions count as one vote and will determine the winner if there’s a tie. They add light commentary on each pie and join the judges and contestants to announce the winner.

Without shows like Netflix’s Nailed It!, I’m not sure that Best In Dough would exist, at least not in this format. Nailed It! proved that short, sweet and silly competitions make for excellent viewing. Best in Dough uses the structure and adds its own fresh and savory take without feeling like a copycat program.

Like any good pizza, Best In Dough is a show that can be shared with friends, family, over a glass of wine or binged in the wee hours of the morning when you’re craving cheesy goodness. Mangia!

The three-episode premiere of Best In Dough launches September 19th only on Hulu.

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