Culture

The 10 Best Food Shows on Netflix Right Now

Last Updated on March 8, 2021
salt fat acid heat is one of the best food shows on netflix right now

Both food and TV have evolved with the times: from the slow-rise recipes of yesteryear to quick-and-easy microwavable meals, and from the black-and-white telly to today’s Netflix shows. Cooking and television have also shaped each other along the way. Whether it was TV dinners in the 1950s, Julia Child teaching viewers to have fun in the kitchen or TV ads molding what Americans opt to eat, food and television just seem to always go hand-in-hand.  

In recent years, the best food shows and food movies have migrated from traditional networks to on-demand services like Netflix, sparking a new wave of onscreen cookery and high-definition eye candy for your belly. So, what are some of the best food shows on Netflix? We have 10 must-see food shows on Netflix below.

The 10 Best Food Shows on Netflix Right Now

1. The Great British Baking Show 

Is there anything more delightfully British than a cooking contest in which the victor wins an engraved glass cake stand? No £100,000 prize. No flambé fights. No bready brawls. That’s right, the merry band of bakers in the Great British Baking Show (GBBS) vie each week out of sheer passion for pastry and love of leavening. If that isn’t honey enough for your eyes, the show’s stars aren’t Michelin-starred chefs or elite restaurant critics — they’re regular home bakers from across Britain, including construction workers, immigrants and stay-at-home parents. 

Over the course of each season, the participants knead, proof and sift inside a sweltering tent in the lush British countryside. Their unadulterated love of baking (and genuine affection for one another) make the GBBS the antithesis of Gordan Ramsay’s Hell Kitchen — these folks bake to make others feel good, not to make themselves the king or queen of the kitchen. And, that is precisely why this floury British export is one of the most beloved food shows on Netflix right now; it's so sincerely sweet to behold. 

the great british baking show is one of the best food shows on netflix right now
via The Great British Baking Show 

2. Salt Fat Acid Heat 

Infused with one cook’s boundless love of food, Salt Fat Acid Heat is one of the stand-out food shows on Netflix today. A four-part Netflix original docuseries based on Samin Nosrat’s cookbook (2017) of the same name, each episode is structured around one of the title’s key terms: salt (seasoning), fat (oils/butter/lard), acid (citrus/vinegar) and heat (fire/warmth). You’ll watch her eyes bulge when nibbling prosciutto in Italy, and you’ll just know that food-fueled feeling. You’ll see Nosrat giddily try miso in Japan, and you can almost taste her umami-driven glee. 

She’s the chef-friend you always wished you could have. No matter where you accompany Nosrat, you’ll feel a bond with the cooks and local food mavens she meets in her culinary travels. To quote Nosrat: “The more I travel and taste the different cuisines of the world, the more I realize that good cooking is universal. The ingredients may change, but the fundamentals are the same.” That’s one lesson we could all benefit from learning, and of all the food shows on Netflix, this is an absolute must-watch for anyone looking to elevate their own culinary confidence.

Samin nosrat cooking with a friend in salt fat acid heat on netflix
via Salt Fat Acid Heat

3. Ugly Delicious 

Pizza in Tokyo. Viet-Cajun crawfish in Houston. BBQ in LA. Hosted by celebrity chef David Chang, Netflix’s Ugly Delicious investigates how foods migrate and survive, change and endure. In each episode, Chang traces the erratic trajectories of a single popular dish — from tacos to fried rice. Unlike other chef-centered food shows on Netflix, David Chang delves into the dishes in the company of other opinionated food lovers, inviting heated debate with comedians, artists and chefs. In each show, Chang repeatedly questions the sacralizing of terms like “authentic” in how we talk about food, asking the viewer both to recognize the roots of beloved dishes and admit that all recipes — even the most hallowed ones — are the result of unpredictable fusions and tastes.   

one of the best food shows on netflix is ugly delicious
via Ugly Delicious

4. The Mind of a Chef

What compels chefs to pledge their lives to food? Which plates do they pine for? Why do chefs, well, chef? The Mind of a Chef is one of the more insightful food shows on Netflix, plumbing the creative process of the world’s top cooks and bringing you inside the kitchens and motives behind their craft. Rather than dedicate each episode to a new chef, one cook (or culinary duo) curates each season — including chefs David Chang, Sean Brock, April Bloomfield, Edward Lee, Magnus Nilsson and Gabrielle Hamilton. Produced and narrated by the late Anthony Bourdain, The Mind of a Chef sifts together a dash of travel documentary, a pinch of flavorful philosophizing and a healthy heaping of food porn. 

Bourdain quipped that The Mind of Chef is a way to bring viewers inside what drives chefs’ handiwork. “We’re exploring the creative process, the anatomy of a style of cooking,” Bourdain noted. “Not just what inspired this dish, but where did it come from, what are [the chefs] thinking about, what’s intriguing to them. How did we get here? The end result is often the end of a long story.” 

Whether you’re munching raw packaged ramen with David Chang or watching April Bloomfield tussle with the techniques and test menus while opening a new restaurant in San Francisco, The Mind of a Chef pulls back the curtain that too often cleaves diners and cooks, revealing the fixations, whimsy and ordeals that push chefs to keep on cheffing. While there are many great food shows on Netflix, this is one you won't want to miss.

cook slicing a cucumber in the mind of a chef on netflix
via The Mind of a Chef

5. Rotten 

Rotten will not make your mouth water. Rotten won’t make you crave seconds. Rotten certainly will not have you running to your local grocer. And, that’s exactly the point of this unnerving food-themed docuseries. Created by the folks behind Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, this six-episode Netflix show will sucker-punch, not scintillate, your gut. Its idiom is unease — not appetizing allure. Don’t worry, Rotten won’t gross you out; it aims instead to show the unsavory practices behind the world’s food supply chain, presenting interviews with farmers, scientists and industry insiders.

So, since this doesn't fit the mold of the other food shows on Netflix, what is Rotten actually about? Each episode unpacks a particular problem in food production — from industrial chicken-farming to big dairy, and from overfishing the oceans to a recent rise in peanut allergies. The goal here is to expose the unsavory reality behind the corporate conglomerates that stock the globe’s supermarkets, asking viewers to consider the unseen price of the food we’ve been trained to consume.  

rotten is one of the best food shows on netflix right now
via Rotten

6. Cooked 

Based on the book by Michael Pollan, Cooked is another of many insightful food shows on Netflix. It follows America’s leading food journalist as he uncovers both how cooking changes the food we eat and how the food industry has also altered how we now cook (or don’t cook). Most famous for his earlier tome The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollen has dedicated his voice to getting everyone to consider the what, the how and the why of the food that goes into their bodies. Cooked’s four episodes center on the four primal elements that affect food’s taste, nutrition and texture — namely fire, air, water and earth. 

From milling wheat with a farmer in Morocco to learning about one-pot cooking in India, this compelling docuseries pays homage to humanity’s most universal invention — cooking. Rather than focusing on Michelin-starred chefs, Pollan is more intent on highlighting the home cooking traditions that fewer and fewer of us are now learning to master, such as baking, fermenting and braising. Along the way, Pollan asks the audience to consider one constant query: What part of our shared humanity do we give up when we forget how to cook? While many food shows on Netflix have you looking outward at other chefs and culinary traditions, this one will have you looking inward at your own relationship with cooking and eating.

family sitting down at the dinner table in cooked on netflix
via Cooked

7. Flavorful Origins 

Divided into 20 easy-to-digest episodes, Flavorful Origins is a documentary that invites viewers inside the ingredients, dishes and techniques of the coastal Chaoshan region in China. Each 12-minute episode revolves around a specific food, spanning dishes like marinated crab, hot pot, seaweed and hu tieu noodles. Every visual morsel starts with an introduction to the ingredient or dish, segueing then into portrayals of chefs stir-frying, steaming, grinding and plating. Unlike American-produced food shows on Netflix and mainstream TV, which often exalt individual chefs, Flavorful Origins is food, food, food.

close up of chef's hands selecting crab in flavorful origins on netflix
via Flavorful Origins

8. Street Food 

Hand-cut noodles in Seoul. Spice-flecked chaat in Delhi. Wok-cooked crab in Bangkok. Each of these allegedly humble dishes is the gateway for listening to a different chef’s personal history in the series Street Food. Awash in masterful camerawork, Street Food is another of many innovative food shows on Netflix, rotating between showing dishes being sautéed and simmered and close-up interviews with the cooks themselves. But, beyond being just about food, Street Food delves into the grit and family desperation that led these now-esteemed cooks to the kitchen in the first place. 

It’s as much about the urgent need to subsist as it as about food itself. You’ll meet Jai Fai in Thailand — now a Michelin-awarded chef famed for her innovative twist on Thai classics. You’ll also get to know Aisha Hashim in Singapore, as she labors to keep alive the disappearing recipes learned in her parents’ food business. Whether their approach is traditional or inventive, these cooks’ feasts are presented as worthy of fêting.  

street food is one of the best food shows on netflix right now
via Street Food

9. The Big Family Cooking Showdown 

Once you’ve happy-cried your way through the binge-inducing Great British Baking Show, you can get your next fix of crumpets and meat pies on The Big Family Cooking Showdown, hosted by a winner of the GBBS. The more bubbly of the food shows on Netflix, this spin-off features winners and participants from previous seasons of the GBBS — as two teams of family members compete (in a barn!) to transform everyday ingredients into delectable dishes and desserts. Smile-inducing challenges include “What’s in the Fridge?” and “Perfect Puddings.”  

hosts of The Big Family Cooking Showdown on netflix holding a sheet of pasta
via The Big Family Cooking Showdown 

10. Taco Chronicles (Las Crónicas del Taco)

Can any dish claim more Mexican roots than the taco? Well, it’s a bit more complicado. Split into 30-minute episodes, Taco Chronicles is one of the more singular-focused food shows on Netflix, tussling with this one dish’s tangled (and oh-so-tasty) history — from the tacos’ surprising Arab origins in 19th-century Mexico to the ancient indigenous roasting techniques behind barbacoa. Filmed on-site in Mexico (and subtitled in English), Taco Chronicles will have you swooning for hand-pressed tortillas and fire-caramelized al pastor. In this deep-dive into tacos’ many facets, you’ll hear from purists and modernizers — including street food purveyors, carnitas connoisseurs and restaurant chefs. On top of making your mouth beg for más, the Taco Chronicles is one of few food shows on Netflix that plunges you into the amalgam of cultures distilled in one modest dish.

Las Crónicas del Taco is one of the best food shows on netflix right now
via Las Crónicas del Taco

No matter where your culinary interests lie, the food shows on Netflix are a great resource for fostering your love of the culinary craft. From Michelin-starred master dishes to humble home-cooked meals, these shows will have you glued to the tube and craving your next bite.

Want to cook, eat and drink like the chefs on these savory shows? There are so many options to explore — for some of which, you don't even have to leave home! From online cooking classes to online mixology classes, you too can transform your culinary know-how into Netflix-worthy expertise. Check out these classes near you, plus many other products and services on Cozymeal, for an unforgettable culinary experience.

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