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"What's Cooking"
Season/Series: 10
Number in season: 10A
Original Airdate: United States May 26, 2006[1]
Canada September 27, 2006[3]
United Kingdom November 20, 2006[2]
Germany May 7, 2008[4]
Written by: Hilary Illick
Storyboard by: Stéphanie Gignac
"World Girls"
"Buster's Special Delivery"
Read transcript

"What's Cooking?" is the first half of the tenth episode in the tenth season of Arthur.


Arthur thinks he could win the Lakewood Elementary cooking contest.


The intro starts with Arthur teaching D.W. to do the show. She is getting it right, but Arthur cuts, saying they need a different scene. First, they tried the ocean, but it had too much motion. Next, they tried outer space, but Arthur interrupted her twice, which frustrates her.

What's Cooking?

Ming Tsai is coming to judge the kids' cooking contest at Lakewood Elementary, and Arthur decides to bake a chocolate cake. Jane reminds Arthur that he'll need help. The next day at the library, Sue Ellen met Arthur and Buster. She told them she's going to make randang (water-buffalo stew), much to Arthur and Buster's dismay. At Brain's house, Brain shows Arthur and Buster around his hydrophonic greenhouse.

Later at home, Arthur, David, and Buster are working on their chocolate cake. Buster suggests more sugar, but David stops him. David gives Arthur and Buster a piece of advice: always use baking powder to make a successful chocolate cake.

The next day at the cafeteria, Muffy, Arthur, and Buster worry about the contest. At home, Arthur plans to wake up early to make the cake. The day of the contest comes, but Arthur fails to follow Dave's advice and uses baking soda instead of baking powder. The cake fails to rise as a result, much to his horror.

As Arthur and Buster get to school, Muffy then reveals that Ming Tsai is actually nice. At the contest, Ming Tsai is tasting the food when David shows up with Arthur's failed attempt at a chocolate cake, and reveals that Arthur had actually made some brownies (much to Arthur and Buster's surprise). Ming explains to a mortified Arthur that just because he made a mistake doesn't mean he failed as a cook, and tells the story of how pot stickers were invented due to a mistake: and, as he reveals upon tasting it, the brownies turned out delicious.

Ming then declares himself the winner of the contest, much to the shock and dismay of everyone else; Ming explains that the winner is the one who gets to eat the products of the cooking. He then gives them the brownies, declaring them all winners; the episode ends as the attendees all happily dig in to the food prepared for the contest.






  • Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Together with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or buttermilk it creates gas which makes the cake fluffy. Without acid it does nothing. Baking powder is baking soda mixed with a weak acid, so no further acid is needed.

Episode connections

  • In "Do You Believe in Magic?" a Ming Tsai poster is seen in the cafeteria, suggesting the two episodes may take place around the same time. Since that episode takes place six months away from D.W.'s birthday (March 1st), this episode could be set in September.

Production notes

Cultural references

  • Ming Tsai voices himself as a guest star in this episode.
  • Muffy's fantasy features her on a show called "American Chef Idol" which is an obvious parody of the show "American Idol," right down to having Ming Tsai in place of Simon Cowell, one of the show's original judges who left in 2010.
  • Sue Ellen mentions the Minankabau people of Sumatra, Indonesia.
  • Rendang is a spicy meat stew (not necessarily buffalo) that originated from the Minankabau.


  • In Arthur's fantasy of competing against Ming Tsai, Ming is said to have completed his shrimp dish in 10 seconds, but it actually took 16 seconds.

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