Chef’s Table is always going to be a favourite of ours with its steady release of quality episodes on the best chefs in the fine dining world, but there’s so much more on Netflix for foodies looking to vary their diet.
From chef documentaries to wacky baking shows; a cook-off featuring Michelin-starred chefs to a samurai-starring Japanese series, here’s our roundup of the best food and cooking series and films on Netflix you must watch right now.
Toppling cakes, melting frosting, fluorescent goo - there’s no shortage of “Pinterest fails” on this hilarious reality bake-off competition that debuted in March 2018. Three amateur bakers go through three consecutively difficult rounds that seem to be set up for disaster. Netflix’s Nailed It is a perfectly binge-worthy series with episodes that last only half an hour, and is now in its second series.
Captivating scenography comes together with gorgeous imagery of food from different, yet familiar parts of the world as host SaminNostrat (author of the James Beard Award-winning book) explores the four ‘holy grail’ elements of cooking: salt, fat, acid and heat. Each episode is shot in a different city and you can learn about Ligurian olive oil and fatty prosciutto in the Italy-based ‘Fat’ episode, or understand the role of different sources of salt such as miso and soy sauce in Japanese cooking in ‘Salt’. This is essential watching for home cooks.
The sharpest culinary stars battle it out for a spot at the “final table” in Netflix’s newest cooking competition series. This high budget and ambitious series takes 24 professional chef contestants divided into 12 teams to take on nine different cuisines, some they may never have tried before in their lives. Apart from the nine world class chef judges, the stellar line-up includes food critics and celebrities from the countries of each cuisine.
The PBS show from executive producer AnthonyBourdain is not new but is definitely one with a strong following not just for the fact that it is narrated by Bourdain himself, but for it’s clever content that gives you insight into chefs’ worlds through travel, history and more. Billed as the “intelligent show about cooking” and featuring culinary names such as April Bloomfield, MagnusNilsson, DavidChang, this is an all-round food series that anyone from the curious home cook, culture fiend and professional chef would all find interesting.
Director Matthew Salleh travelled to 12 different countries for this film where he aims to tell the story of barbecue: from Texas to the Syrian border, he examines this simple ritual of cooking meat over the flame and its function in our culture. If you liked Jiro Dreams of Sushi, or Chef’s Table, you will enjoy Barbecue that similarly makes you open your eyes and see your world differently, all through the channel of cuisine.
Lyon-raised Georges Perrier was an icon of old-school French cuisine in America. Director ErikaFrankel follows Perrier, almost 70 at the time of shooting, in the last years leading to the closing of his legendary restaurant Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia. A fly-on-the-wall glimpse into the life of notoriously prickly and foul-mouthed Perrier and delicious kitchen drama are accompanied by the occasional commentary by stars such as Daniel Boulud, ThomasKeller and EricRipert.
The Birth of Saké tells the inspirational story of the Yoshida Brewery, a family owned and operated sake brewery in Japan that’s been in operation for over 140 years. The beautifully filmed documentary follows the Yoshida family as they go through the rigorous process of trying to protect the 2000-year-old brewing methods of their world famous saké.
Producing saké is difficult and demanding and it’s something most people know very little about. This documentary gives insight into the art of sake production but also a look at the beauty of tradition, the passion of protecting this tradition and just how hard it is to build a dynasty within a family.
No famous chefs, no recipes, or judges here, but just an ordinary, just-retired Japanese man who goes on to find ways to fill his newfound free time, with food. The odd part is the imaginary sword-yielding samurai, who the man consults occasionally as he ponders life’s questions, but that’s expected considering the series is based on a Japanese manga. He eats a different meal in a different setting in every episode, often solo, which means that there are plenty of beautiful shots of Japanese food being prepared, plated and eaten.
This 2015 documentary follows acclaimed chef ChrisDuffy through his journey of the opening of restaurant Grace, in Chicago. Duffy has overcome a difficult personal life (his mother was murdered by his father when he was young) but at the time of the documentary he has already become a two star Michelin chef, and hopes to create even greater success by making Grace the best restaurant in America. A brilliant film about beating the odds and insight into the hard-working restaurant industry. After the film was shot in 2012, Grace went on to get three Michelin stars in 2014, but has closed since Duffy left in December 2017.