If you’re sitting at home and ready to unwind, you’re probably looking for the next show on Netflix to binge-watch. Moreover, if you’re a foodie, you’re probably looking for a show about food.
Netflix has you covered. Obviously, we want a captivating story that will motivate us to watch. Check. We want to escape and have fun by traveling to new places and watching new experiences unfold. Double-check. But most of all, we want to watch something visually-appetizing, enough to make our mouths water during every scene.
However, what is most unique about Netflix’s line-up of original food-related content is the complex nature of food and people. These food shows are multi-dimensional and help enhance the human condition through food. We explain our picks for the five must-watch food series on Netflix below:
Salt Fat Acid Heat
In Netflix’s newest food documentary entry, Salt Fat Acid Heat, chef and food writer, Samin Nosrat, provides a refreshing voice as she gives us a beautifully authentic way to view food and travel. Her focus is taste — that is, the four distinct tastes that resides in all forms of cooking: Salt, fat, acid and heat. The visuals are as vibrant as Nosrat’s personality, and her humor is intoxicating.
Nosrat’s philosophy is twofold. One, that food is universal and can bring us all together. And two, that good food is easily accessible and personal. In her show, food is a rich culture that shows her audience that we are diverse, but we are also human. But most important, her voice is youthful, fearless and diverse. Watching this show is like going on a trip with a close friend. And it will make you love and appreciate food and the world more than you already do.
In Netflix’s Ugly Delicious, James Beard award-winning chef and Momofuku restauranteur, David Chang, takes you in search of ugly food — food that we typically overlook because it is not considered fine dining. Every episode showcases a different ugly food like pizza, tacos and fried chicken; but it turns the dish on its head by introducing a re-invention or twist to the food. As a fun added-bonus, Chang takes along several guests, from culinary greats like Wolfgang Puck and the late Jonathan Gold, to celebrity friends like Jimmy Kimmel and Gillian Jacobs.
Visually-lively and deliciously bold, this series is not afraid to embrace the beauty of these ugly foods. Chang explores topics like fusion dishes, strange eats and comfort foods, all the while presenting the featured dishes and chefs in a refreshing new way. Its omnivorous outlook on today’s food culture and its discussion about culinary stereotypes are meant to tickle any foodie’s brain, as well as their palate.
Somebody Feed Phil
Somebody Feed Phil is Netflix’s follow-up series to PBS’s short-lived series I’ll Have What Phil’s Having. Phil Rosenthal, creator of the popular sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond, turns his attention to the culinary world, bringing his humor, light-hearted fun and enthusiasm. This more travel-oriented series takes us from city-to-city in search of great food. Every episode is centered on one place, from Bangkok to Tel Aviv, and New Orleans to Buenos Aires.
Throughout the series, Phil’s voice is genuine and familiar. He isn’t a professional chef or food critic; He’s one of us. Paired with delectable food shots, his comedic quips, humorous anecdotes and paternal quirks are a delight to savor. With every new person he meets or experience he encounters, Phil shows us the wonders of the world through his giddy eyes. In every episode, he checks-in with his adorable parents, which always makes for a hilarious exchange. Rosenthal lives a foodie travelers dream-come-true and you will certainly want to be a part of the ride.
Probably the most intellectually-intricate piece on our list, Cooked comes from the mind of journalist Michael Pollan. Cooked showcases the diverse stories of individuals in a true exploration of the food’s significance to humanity. Each of the four episodes focuses on one of the natural elements: fire, water, air and earth. With each beautifully-presented installment, we learn more about the intimate relationship between who we are and what we eat.
The series is definitely a window into worlds that you might not usually get to see that often. But the series is also a mirror, reflecting back to us the general disconnect we have now with food and cooking. It’s a conversation that deconstructs the very idea of cooking in human history and presents it in a palatable, relatable and thought-provoking way.
Perhaps the longest-running food documentary series on Netflix, the Emmy-nominated Chef’s Table takes gourmet food to a whole new level. Each episode is an exploration of a world-class chef. It’s not a stretch to say that many of these people are culinary geniuses. Wildly-inventive and intensely-passionate, the variety of culinary provocateurs all have their own personalities and stories that shine through in their cuisine.
Visually, the series is a stunning gastronomic explosion of aesthetic food. Every shot takes you into the world of the chef; every moment reveals their truest minds. After watching, it’s hard not to appreciate the deliberate work that these chefs, and truthfully, all chefs put into their creations. The show is an artistic endeavor to elevate the portrait of the chef and the ways they create.