In the age of Netflix, a good show is one that you can watch an episode or two of before setting it aside and coming back to it eventually. A great show is one that, once you start, you realize you’ve committed a felony-level error: you’re in this one for the long haul. You are not going to be down with the show until there are no more episodes to be had. Sorry, dog, you’re going to take yourself out today. Homework assignment? Yeah, no.
Of the binge-worthy shows, here in the food and drink section 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 eat and drink in life 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.
We’ve covered Bourdain a lot here on The Manual, so it’s no surprise that we are fans of his shows as much as we are of his documentaries, books, and general badass-itude. In Parts Unknown, Bourdain travels the world to find the locales and food traditions that you won’t usually read or hear about, while still injecting the sarcasm and dark humor he’s known the world over for. The show’s eleventh season premieres aPRIL 2018 ON CNN, but there’s already plenty of episodes to binge on Netflix.
The newest of the entries on this list, 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 Bourdain’s temperament and approach to things, then Ugly Delicious will be right up your alley.
A PBS show from executive producer 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’ four seasons.
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. In Cooked, Pollan bakes, brews, and braises his way to a higher level of culinary and cultural knowledge.
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. Our brother site, Digital Trends, also has an overall guide on the best movies and shows.