It is often suggested that vocational education and training (VET) could be key to cut youth unemployment. VET programmes may provide young people with specific professional qualifications that enable them to successfully compete in the labour market. However, despite the great emphasis placed by governments and other institutions on these programmes, VET appears to be far from reaching its full potential in many countries. One barrier preventing students from pursuing this type of education is the stigma associated with VET. This paper looks at the role of media in changing the negative social perceptions of VET. Specifically, it examines whether in Italy the growing popularity of the cooking television reality show MasterChef has led to an increase in the number of students willing to study for a vocational qualification in hospitality and catering. The empirical results show that an increase in the number of MasterChef’s viewers is associated with a higher proportion of students willing to attend hospitality and catering schools. This finding suggests that popular television cooking series like MasterChef may be a vehicle through which the image and the attractiveness of VET can be improved.