Sometimes, you want to curl up on the couch and watch true crime. Other times, you’re in the mood to laugh at a dumb sitcom. But then, occasionally, there are times when all you want to watch is some delicious food being made, consumed and discussed.
Without diving fully into the psychology behind why people love food shows (hint: it’s mostly to do with vicarious experience), let’s just say that these shows are pleasing. They offer a delectable view into professional kitchens, world cuisines, recipes, methodologies and techniques. They are “binge watching” in the purest sense of the term.
But there are a ton of them to choose from. So, in the interest of narrowing things down, this article will list the four best food shows Netflix has to offer. Bon Appetite!
Salt Fat Acid Heat
Chef and food writer Samin Nosrat figures that she might have cracked the four basic elements that make food delicious: and they’re right there in the title. Each episode in this beautifully shot series takes a closer look at those elements, traveling to different locales to learn more about salt, fat, acid and heat, and how they affect food.
A standout episode is the first, where Nosrat visits Japan to learn about sea salt, soy sauce production, traditional miso and more; to get a better sense of the type of cuisine featured in the episode, SARA Restaurant in Toronto– modern Japanese-influenced cuisine that honours the island nation’s reverence for ingredients.
This is, arguably, the essential Netflix food doc series. It pretty much created its own genre: the food documentary full of sweeping sequences, and long, slow close-ups of haute cuisine being prepared. It’s a style that’s been mimicked often, but Chef’s Table is the source.
A standout episode in the series is Season 1, episode 6, which follows Swedish chef (not that Swedish Chef) Magnus Nilsson as he prepares a service at his critically acclaimed restaurant, Fäviken.
Somebody Feed Phil
Watching Phil Rosenthal – creator of Everybody Loves Raymond – travel to different parts of the world, making new friends and trying delicious foods is like chicken soup for the soul. His unmitigated enthusiasm for food, culture and human interaction is heart-warming and addictive.
Watch his jaunt to Mexico City, where he tries Tacos al Pastor for the first time (if you’re unfamiliar, they are like the Mexican equivalent of a shawarma). His reaction, a mix of jubilation and confusion, is hilarious and earnest.
David Chang has a corner on messy, decadent food. So it’s no surprise that his latest Netflix show is a) called Ugly Delicious and b) features downmarket staples like fried chicken, fried rice and pizza, each receiving their own special episode.
The dichotomy presented in the title is present throughout the series, but the standout episode has to be the Season 1 finale, “Stuffed”, where Chang throws down the gauntlet with acclaimed Italian chef Massimo Bottura to see whether Italian stuffed pastas or Asian dumplings are better.
If you want something to binge-watch that’s a literal feast for the eyes, try one of these four shows. Just don’t make the rookie mistake of watching on an empty stomach!