2020 has been tough to say the least, but we’ve had Netflix to keep us company throughout. There is much to look forward to in 2021, and January will be spent under the covers, catching up on some new shows as well as some classics.
For food voyeurs, there are plenty of shows to keep them entertained in the dark month of January.
What's on Netflix for Food Lovers this January?
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
This underrated animation for Sony Pictures is a quirky food fantasy that would probably never be made today. When computer animators were beginning to realise a long-held ambition of being able to rival the traditional feature film studios, they were willing to take risks on out-there storylines. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is foolish and uplifting, and it totally stands up today.
Best Leftovers Ever!
Fridge overflowing with Christmas leftovers? Then a little inspiration is probably in order. Here's a well-timed food series about chefs who attempt to make the tastiest meals out of leftover food, incentivised by a $10,000 prize.
André & His Olive Tree (2020)
André & His Olive Tree follows André Chiang, the Taiwanese chef (who became famous for his 'Octaphilosophy' approach to cooking) during the whole process of closing the famed restaurant André, from announcing his retirement to his team, to winding things down.
Julie & Julia (2009)
Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that this film changed the food world. With strong performances by Amy Adams and Meryl Streep this film is also responsible for bringing the work of the iconic Julia Child to a new generation.
Mystic Pizza (1988)
This coming-of-age story of three girls working in a pizza restaurant is something that every restaurant worker will relate to. A feel-good rom-com that also ticks the '80s nostalgia box.
Korean Pork Belly Rhapsody (Season 1 – New Episodes Weekly)
An ode to Korean culinary traditions and the perennial favourite of port belly. The story unfolds with an exploration of production and cooking methods.
Nailed It! Mexico (Season 3)
Do we really need more crappy deserts? Yes we do and this series brings you more Mexican failures.
The Great British Baking Show: Holidays: Season 3
If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit this season, look no further than the festive version of the beloved feel-good British baking series. The Great British Baking Show has brought some much-needed positivity to our screens this year.
Ongoing food for thought:
Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent (2017)
Discover the brilliant self-taught chef Jeremiah Tower, considered by many to be the father of modern American cuisine, who rose to prominence working with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, in this Anthony Bourdain produced film.
Todo Sobre el Asado (2016)
Take a deep dive into asado, and learn all about Argentina’s culture of barbecue cuisine - exploring flavour, tenderness, choice cuts, and cooking timing - which is so much more than a method of cooking, rather a way of life.
Food On The Go
Staying in Argentina, this documentary explores the origins and traditions of food through the lens of Italian immigrants to America and Argentina, who opened restaurants and fruit and veg stalls. A fascinating look at the evolution of food culture and 'assimilated' cuisine and the arrival of dishes like spaghetti and meatballs.
Somebody Feed Phil
Phil Rosenthal, the writer of Everybody Loves Raymond, travels the globe taking in the local cuisine and culture of Bangkok, Lisbon, Mexico City and more in this lively and entertaining series.
Flavorful Origins is the food documentary that takes a deep dive into authentic Chinese food, focusing on local culinary traditions, like those of Chaosan, a cultural-linguistic region in the east of the Guangdong area in China.
This fascinating docuseries is based on the award-winning book by food writer Michael Pollen who published Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation in 2013. Each of the four episodes is a look at one of the elements - earth, water, fire and air - how they are used in cooking and how each of them impacted the history and culture of our civilisation. All fascinating stuff.
Chef's Table BBQ
Chef's Table BBQ, a four episode Netflix Original series, features four chefs from four continents. Director Matthew Salleh tells the story of barbecue, from Texas to the Syrian border, as he examines the simple ritual of cooking meat over the flame through the eyes and hands of some of the greatest pitmasters, from 85-year-old 'Tootsie', to Charleston's Rodney Scott and Sydney's Lennox Hastie.
“Street Food takes viewers to some of the world's most vibrant cities to explore the rich culture of street food all over the globe from the hawker stalls of Singapore to the food carts of India. Each episode highlights the stories of perseverance and culture that bring life to each country's cuisine in a unique way.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
Samin Nostrat (author of the James Beard Award-winning book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking) explores the four ‘holy grail’ elements of cooking in an incredibly memorable and accessible way, against the backdrop of some captivating scenography as she travels around the world. Essential viewing for home cooks.
There are two seasons to tuck into of this more serious docuseries honing in on some of the food industry's darker issues, its corruption, crime and controversies, with episodes including 'The Avocado War' and 'Bitter Chocolate'. It's an eye-opening look at the food chain we all rely on to fill our trolleys, and will probably make you think twice about what you put in yours next time you shop.