The Food Shows You Should Be Binge-Watching Tonight
Pull up some couch. Here's our list of the 10 best food shows on Netflix right now.
Whether people are expertly cooking, gloriously failing at cooking or just speaking eloquently about flavor profiles, there is something undoubtedly addictive about watching food shows. Some of it is probably rooted in nostalgia, as we’re reminded of the comforting feeling we had in our grandma’s kitchen as kids. But there’s also a constant curiosity about food—how is it made? How can it be made better? How do they make it over there? Below, 10 yummy shows to binge-watch at your next Netflix and Nosh night.
The Great British Baking Show
In this ridiculously charming baking competition show 12 home cooks compete to create often absurdly complex desserts only British people have heard of (Hazelnut dacquoise?!) but which you will imagine you can recreate at some point. (Good thing they added a Great British Baking Show Masterclass series to help you do just that, or you can start with these Great British Baking Show copycat recipes.) The judges and hosts are the perfect team.
Chef’s Table, Volume 4
Cake and cookie lovers, unite! This one’s all about pastries and starts with the queen of sugary creations herself, pastry chef Christina Tosi. She founded Milk Bar, the place where cereal milk soft serve, crack pie and naked cakes, with unfrosted sides originated, because Tosi says she wants people to be able to peek inside, like a dollhouse. Exquisitely filmed with mouthwatering close-ups of cake, you’ll be addicted to it in no time, just like sugar.
Can you break down all of cooking into four elements—fire, water, air and earth? Author Michael Pollan thinks so. He wrote a book to prove it and translated that into a four-part documentary series. It gets down to the nitty gritty of how food is made and warns of the dangers of fewer people making food from scratch. There are stunning scenes throughout—don’t watch Episode 3 if you’re on Whole30 because it’s all about making delicious, delicious bread. (Focus on these Whole30 recipes instead.)
Chef vs Science: The Ultimate Kitchen Challenge
When it comes down to it, cooking is a science. But does that mean a scientist should be able to create a superior mashed potatoes by breaking them down to a molecular level? Scientist Mark Miodownik thinks so, challenges two-Michelin-star chef Marcus Wareing to beat science with, well, butter and spices and years of acquired cooking techniques. You’ll find yourself sneakily learning about science while picking up recipe tips simultaneously.
Zumbo’s Just Desserts
If you love zany cooking competitions, then this one is right up your alley. Twelve contestants, none of whom are experts with a stand mixer, compete to recreate some of the most insanely difficult and crazy desserts in a kitchen that looks like something out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. The floating, melting, fourteen layer desserts come from the eccentric mind of Australian pastry chef Adriano Zumbo, dubbed “the sweet assassin,” who is also a judge, along with cookbook author Rachel Khoo.
Frankly, this show is just painful to watch, but you can’t look away. Take three non-expert bakers, give them some incredibly intricate and complicated desserts to recreate, a ridiculously short amount of time in which to do so and then yell “Go!” The Netflix original is based on the craze of overly ambitious home cooks trying—and failing—to recreate Pinterest-perfect desserts. Chocolatier Jacques Torres is the head judge and the show is hosted by comedian Nicole Byer, who can say she nails it at food comedy.
The Mind of a Chef
If you think the mind of a chef is just chock full of different ways to make French toast, you’re probably not wrong. But there’s more up there too, as this Emmy Award-winning PBS show narrated (and executive produced) by Anthony Bourdain demonstrates. There is a lot to talk about when it comes to contemplating how food is made and why it’s so good. The science-y moments make the show, like how ramen is made with alkaline noodles for a reason. It’s fascinating.
The Big Family Cooking Showdown
The BBC wins us over again with this family-friendly competition that feels like a mash-up of Chopped and Family Feud. Each week, two teams of three family members create their best dishes, to be judged, of course, and winners move on to compete some more and hopefully be named the best of the best. The banter is fun, the accents are mesmerizing (we should all say bah-sell, not basil) and the kitchen where they compete is idyllic.
A Cook Abroad
If you’re looking for a food and travel show that takes you to the fancy pants restaurants in Paris, this is not it. This is food off the beaten path. Tag along with a different chef in each of the six episodes as they travel to villages in places like Malaysia, India and Egypt. Get fascinating tutorials on local cuisine and learn some intriguing history lessons to boot—like how the people who built the pyramids in Giza were paid in loaves, not cash. Later, try one of these slow cooker recipes from around the world.
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Bourdain and his Emmy Award-winning sass have been around since 2013, and Netflix currently has the first eight seasons available for binge-watching. The show was just renewed for its 11th season, however, so there is more delicious exploration of worldly cuisine to come, along with some blunt commentary (when isn’t Bourdain blunt?) about culture and the importance of good wine, of course. It’s a deliciously fun and funny trip.