We’ve made it to summer finally. Those beach bods we told ourselves we’d have by July may or may not have made it, too, but that’s for another article. With summer here, that means a couple of holidays are on the horizon and summer Fridays are here (if you’re lucky enough to get them). And what do those things signal? Days off, with plenty of time to do nothing other than put your feet up and binge, binge, binge while enjoying a cold one or three. The question, then, becomes what you’re going to binge (and scrolling aimlessly through Netflix previews for three hours doesn’t count as bingeing).
Of all the binge-worthy shows, we gravitate toward — you guessed it — shows about eating and drinking. There’s just something about diving into the mind of the geniuses who create the amazing things that we are able to consume that really rounds out a person’s life. That’s why we’ve put together the best food shows on Netflix right now. Whether you want a smart-ass making jokes or you want to really learn about what makes a famous chef tick, we’ve got you covered.
The beginnings of The Chef Show stretch back to 2014, when Jon Favreau met Roy Choi during the filming of Favreau’s movie Chef (Choi was a consultant). This meeting, we can assume, created a lasting friendship based on a mutual love of food. In The Chef Show, Favreau and Choi explore just how much fun it can be to cook with friends. From celebrity chefs (pitmaster Aaron Franklin) to film celebrities (Bill Burr), the duo behind the show cook, eat, and in the process learn more about how food brings people together.
As the final season of the late, great Anthony Bourdain’s show Parts Unknown aired on CNN at the end of 2018, Netflix brought the penultimate season, season 11, to the service on December 25. In season 11, Bourdain travels to Bhutan, Berlin, Armenia, and more. If you have not watched any of Bourdain’s show, now is a good time to start.
A Netflix original, The Final Table is a culinary competition that spans the globe. The competition involves 12 pairs of chefs from around the world, all fighting to earn a place at the Final Table, and features a veritable who’s who of famous chefs. Those chefs include Grant Achatz (U.S.), Enrique Olvera (Mexico), Clare Smyth (U.K.), Andoni Aduriz (Spain), Helena Rizzo (Brazil), Vineet Bhatia (India), Carlo Cracco (Italy), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan), and Anne-Sophie Pic (France). Each episode focuses on one country’s national dishes and will feature a variety of celebrity critics and ambassadors. Teams are eliminated until just the finalists reach the finale. The Final Table is presented by Andrew Knowlton (James Beard Award-winning writer and editor-at-large for Bon Appétit).
Nailed It! has, in its first three seasons, developed a cult-like following. Whether you like the game-show format, the wit of host Nicole Byer and her co-pilot in culinary misery, Jacques Torres, or the train wreck that is amateur bakers believing they are better than everyone else, there’s a little something for everyone on this show. Perhaps the best part is how engaging it is — even if you don’t want to like Nailed It!, you’re going to like it. Like Call Me Maybe or the latest song everyone is doing viral dance videos to, it finds a way into your brain and stays there, releasing dopamine every time you watch. Nailed It!
Salt Fat Acid Heat is based on (and hosted by) James Beard Award-winning author Samin Nosrat. The four-part series is based on Nosrat’s book of the same name and will see the host travel to California mainstay restaurant Chez Panisse as well as restaurants in Japan, Mexico, and Italy. In each episode, Nosrat explores what good cooking is through a lens that investigates the fundamentals needed to create a good meal. This is the first process-based cooking show on Netflix, and it’s quickly becoming a favorite among the food-minded.
Ugly Delicious is celebrity chef David Chang’s exploration of foods from across the globe that are — if you couldn’t tell from the title — often overlooked. Along the way, he’s got a who’s who of celebrities joining him to eat, discuss, and delve into what makes good food good while also investigating how food can be used as a tool for cultural change. If you’re a fan of Anthony Bourdain’s temperament and approach, then Ugly Delicious will be right up your alley.
A PBS show executive produced by Anthony Bourdain, The Mind of a Chef took the Netflix world by binge storm when it first showed up on the platform. It bills itself as an “intelligent show about cooking” and it’s not wrong. Through travel, history, and more, viewers get to see what makes specific chefs tick. The latest season follows chef Danny Bowen in much that same way that the previous seasons have covered such big names as David Chang, Sean Brock, April Bloomfield, Edward Lee, Magnus Nilsson, Gabrielle Hamilton, David Kinch, and Ludo Lefebvre.
If you checked out our list of the best food documentaries on Netflix, then the creator of Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Chef’s Table, David Gelb, is no stranger. Gelb considers Chef’s Table, a series that follows one world-famous chef per episode, the sequel to Jiro. The methods and approaches of Magnus Nillson (also profiled in Mind of a Chef), Grant Achatz, Christina Tosi, and many more are all put on display across the series. The sixth season of the show, which will feature four chefs from three continents, premiered February 22.
In this documentary series, Michael Pollan (who has shown up in practically every food documentary and show about how we could be doing the whole “good human stewards of the earth” thing better, in addition to penning a series of bestselling books on the topic of food) sets out on a quest to see just exactly how the act of cooking transforms both food on the physical level and the world that we as people build around food. Pollan bakes, brews, and braises his way to a higher level of culinary and cultural knowledge.
Street Food is a new project from the filmmakers behind Chef’s Table. Lovers of Chef’s Table get a bit of a different view in this series. Instead of the finest of fine dining establishments around the world (and the chefs that command them), Street Food looks at, well, street food. From roadside stands to markets brimming with locals-only cuisine, each episode explores the experiences in culinary greatness that are feasted upon by countless people every day. Each of the nine episodes in the first season takes place in a different Asian country, ensuring that you realize what you thought you knew about street food is actually quite little compared to what’s out there in the world.
Craving something a little longer? Here are the best food documentaries on Netflix right now. In search of something more adventures? Check out our list of the top travel documentaries or action movies. If you just all kinds of docs, we’ve you covered. And our brother site, Digital Trends, also has an overall guide on the best movies and shows.