8 of the best food shows on Netflix
Binge eating, meet binge viewing. There is no shortage of food shows for those who are seeking to elevate their meals, or just be inspired by the beauty of food.
Eating dinner in front of the TV is a pastime as old as TV itself. These days, with its vast treasure trove of food-related TV shows and movies, Netflix's pantry is stocked with viewing options, from cooking competition shows to mouth-watering travelogues, that you can enjoy while savoring your own homespun culinary creations.
Below, we've curated our list of favorite food viewing on Netflix. So prepare a meal, plop yourself down on the sofa and tune in. Deliciousness awaits.
'Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat'
Based on the bestselling cookbook of the same name, "Salt Fat Acid Heat" takes viewers on a global culinary journey to explore what good cooking really looks, smells and tastes like. James Beard Award-winning author Samin Nosrat hosts, and it's unique in that it focuses more on the cooking and preparing processes than other food content on Netflix.
“If I’m okay the way I am, with my funny curly hair that’s frizzy half the time, and I kind of limp because I tore my meniscus, and I make a big mess when I’m cooking, and if that’s special enough to be on camera, then maybe at home, you are special enough, too," Nosrat told the Washington Post.
'The Great British Baking Show'
Whether you're here for the steely blue eyes of host Paul Hollywood or the serene setting of the English countryside, 'The Great British Baking Show' is the standard bearer for food competition shows. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and a marzipan rugelach as you binge on this ultimate of comfort food shows. Before you know it, you'll be cheering along each of the home bakers who are showcasing their skills in a beautiful tent while sheep meander the nearby pastures. The quaint British accents are – no pun intended – icing on the cake.
If "The Great British Baking Show" is too high-brow for you, then this is the show for you. "Nailed It" was inspired by the craze of people trying – and spectacularly failing – to make elaborate cakes they found online. For example, try recreating that infamous Plaza Hotel cake from celebrity baker Ron Ben-Israel, which was an exact replica of that iconic building. Each episode features three amateur bakers with demonstrated poor baking skills. It's fun all-around, as the contestants are laughing at themselves just as much as we are.
"What might sound like a mean-spirited and cruel show is actually one of the sweetest, most genuinely fun food shows out there," wrote USA Today. Another reviewer simply said it's "joy incarnate." The show has become so popular that Netflix went ahead and aired three seasons in 2018 alone.
From Chef David Chang comes a travelogue-documentary hybrid that examines the cultural, sociological and culinary history of a specific popular food. Chang, the James Beard Award winner best known for international dining gem Momofuku, challenges and explores the attitudes in each dish's lore, questioning convention and grappling with global inequities.
The first season premiered in 2018, and season 2 dropped in 2020. As Allison Shoemaker of The Takeout said, the "Ugly Delicious" cast, which frequently consists of cameos from such celebrities as Aziz Anzari and Gillian Jacobs, "asks questions and follows where both food and history lead, and that willingness to learn, to acknowledge where their own knowledge and cultural awareness might fall short, has resulted in a series that’s even more surprising, enlightening, and personal than before."
'Somebody Feed Phil'
The best part about this global food travelogue is not the food. It's host Phil Rosenthal. His enthusiasm and childlike wonder is infectious. His eyes burst with joy and he dances with glee after just about every dish that's put in front of him. He literally can't believe he gets to eat for a living. Conde Nast Traveler has called him "impossibly optimistic," so it's no surprise that he won the James Beard Award for his hosting. (He can put the trophy next to his multiple Emmys for a TV another show he created – "Everybody Loves Raymond.")
"The whole point of the show is to get you to travel," he said. "I want you to get up off the couch and look at me and say, 'If that putz can go outside, maybe I can too.'" From The Grapevine readers will particularly enjoy the episodes about Tel Aviv as well as Rosenthal's trip to visit Israeli Chef Alon Shaya at his home in New Orleans.
'Parts Unknown: Anthony Bourdain'
According to Chartbeat, an internet analytics company, the most popular news story of all of 2018 was CNN's obituary of famed TV host Anthony Bourdain. And, if anything, the untimely passing of the legendary chef has sparked increased interest in his travel and food show. For more than 100 episodes, Bourdain took viewers along for the ride as he explored the culture and cuisine of locales around the world – from the mountains of Myanmar to the beaches of Jamaica. The show won 10 Emmy Awards as well as a 2013 Peabody Award.
"If there's one thing Tony taught me, it's really abandoning fear of other people and really wholeheartedly being able to throw yourself out into the world," said Morgan Fallon, a director who worked on the show. "He did that in so many ways and shared so much of himself. He so freely was open about all of his failings and complexities. He did it without fear."
From San Francisco to São Paulo, this Emmy-nominated series gives you unprecedented access inside the kitchens of the world's most ambitious chefs. Each episode of the series profiles a single world-renowned chef. There's Albert Adria, an innovator who presides over an "amusement park" of genre bending Barcelona eateries, and there's LA baker Nancy Silverton, who has reinvented herself as a mozzarella maven – just to name a few.
"Lightness literally bursts forth from the plate," an Eater.com reviewer wrote of the episode about Chef Massimo Bottura. "We see Bottura negotiate the mercato centrale of Modena, chatting with the vendors, calling out, 'Ciao, vecchio!' evaluating cases of beautiful mushrooms, munching on grapes. It was the picture of a man at ease with his world. That's when I started to smile, and I didn't stop until an hour later, when the episode ends."
The world's greatest wine fraud is uncorked in this scandalous documentary now streaming on Netflix. At the center is a rich Indonesian collector named Rudy Kurniawan, who's known as "the Gen X Great Gatsby." He sold countless bottles of fake wine for upwards of $35 million. The film tracks his hilarious rise and spectacular fall. In 2012, the FBI raided his home in Los Angeles and discovered his con, in which he collected empty bottles and refilled them with cheaper wine and then forged the labels.
In its review, The Hollywood Reporter said that the filmmakers "thoroughly and concisely detailed the progression of Kurniawan’s fraud in a style that merges an Antiques Roadshow-style fascination with rare wines with a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous-type fixation on the spending habits of the overly affluent." Sit back, pour yourself some leftover wine and enjoy learning about the most audacious wine crime in U.S. history.
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