January 26, 2022

crepeshop

Food the meaning

A Guide to the Best Cooking Shows on Netflix

Whether you’re a stressed student and you just need a break from the real world or a broke foodie who’s beyond exhausted of eating dining hall food and dollar ramen, you probably deserve to treat yourself to a binge of Netflix food shows. One of my favorite ways to destress from a hard week of papers and exams is a few hours of eating vicariously through a good cooking show. So in no particular order, here are the best (in my hours of binging experience) cooking shows on Netflix right now.

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

@anthonybourdain on Instagram: “Kenya”

@anthonybourdain on Instagram: “Kenya”

In every episode, the late-great Bourdain explored a new corner of the world, tasting everything that he encountered. In between breathtaking views of remote villages and mouth-watering street food, Bourdain never failed to keep audiences informed about the ingredients, history, and culture that influence food. This travel and cooking show crossover—alas no more episodes are forthcoming though there are many seasons to catch up on—is equal parts visually satisfying and thought-provoking, so it’s one of my favorite shows for productive procrastination. A warning to any other wanderlusting college students: this show consistently makes me wish I could study abroad every single semester (which my advisor repeatedly tells me will not fit with my course plan).

Big Family Cooking Showdown

The big family cooking

The big family cooking

As a huge cooking show junkie, I was completely heartbroken when Netflix removed Chopped, the ultimate race-the-clock cooking show. Nothing hit quite the same way until I discovered Big Family Cooking Showdown. Between intense moments of family bickering (which is even more hilarious in British accents), you get to catch a glimpse into the lives of average families as they cook family meals. The Big Family Cooking Showdown combines the all best parts of Great British Baking Show and Chopped.

Chef Show

Instagram post by The Chef Show

Instagram post by The Chef Show

A laid-back mix of a podcast and a cooking show, The Chef Show is the perfect show for people who just love to talk about cooking and restaurants. If you loved the movie Chef, the heartwarming comedy about a chef that abandons his Michelin star kitchen for a rickety food truck, then you’re in luck with The Chef Show. To prepare for Chef in 2014, actor and producer Jon Favreau began taking cooking lessons from LA-based chef Roy Choi (who we can all thank for inventing the Korean BBQ taco), and they haven’t stopped cooking together since. The premise of the show is the two friends hang out and enjoy food together, whether it’s cooking a simple meal in a family kitchen or meeting up with Tom Holland and the cast of Spider-Man to devour a five-course meal. LA-based foodies should keep an eye out for Choi and Favreau’s stellar restaurant suggestions because they really know what’s up around this city.

Great British Baking Show

Netflix Food on Instagram: “Sometimes the simplest desserts are the most complex to make—and Great British Baking Show’s angel cake slices are devilishly tricky �� ��”

Netflix Food on Instagram: “Sometimes the simplest desserts are the most complex to make—and Great British Baking Show’s angel cake slices are devilishly tricky �� ��”

Every time I sit down to watch Great British Baking Show, I end up losing hours of my day to binge-watching on the couch with intense sugar cravings. What could be more relaxing than watching sweet British grandmas pour their heart into baking delicious family recipes? With its quaint English charm and sugar-coated food porn, GBBS is my ideal way to destress from a long day of work or school.

Nailed It!

Nailed It! on Instagram: “Me tonight counting down the hours until new episodes are available tomorrow.”

Nailed It! on Instagram: “Me tonight counting down the hours until new episodes are available tomorrow.”

If I had to choose one word for this show, it would be quirky. The host, Nicole Byers, takes goofy TV banter to a whole new level, and the contestants are amateur bakers with huge personalities. This show is like watching a train crash in slow motion but with a lot of laughs and sugar and bright colors. If you’ve ever tried (and utterly failed, like me) to recreate that perfect cake you saw on Instagram, then you’ll feel a lot better about your baking skills and life in general after watching Nailed It! And if you just can’t get enough of it, make sure you watch all the various versions, including Nailed It! Holiday and Nailed It! France.

Street Food

Street Food on Instagram: “Street Food Asia  #StreetFoodNetflix �� #Asia #Netflix”

Street Food on Instagram: “Street Food Asia #StreetFoodNetflix �� #Asia #Netflix”

Based on the name, you can probably guess what kind of food this Netflix show focuses on: the tastiest, cheapest food from the streets of the most vibrant cities in the world. Season 1 centers around the street food of Asia, from steaming bowls of tom yum sold on dirty corners in Bangkok to plush kimchi dumplings in the Gwangjong street market of Seoul. If you want to watch classically trained chefs cook pristine meals, then this is not the show for you. Whenever I need to satisfy my cravings for bowls of sloppy noodles or piles of crispy, greasy samosas, Street Food is my go-to show for messy, drool-worthy food porn.

The Final Table

Netflix Food on Instagram: “find someone who looks at you the way Charles looks at Rodrigo and food and literally everything cause he’s the sweetest and amazing okay…”

Netflix Food on Instagram: “find someone who looks at you the way Charles looks at Rodrigo and food and literally everything cause he’s the sweetest and amazing okay…”

In a heated race against the clock, 24 of the most successful chefs from around the world compete to make the most original and delicious dishes from a given country. In each episode, three chefs or celebrities from that country choose their favorite traditional food, judge the flavor of the competitors’ dishes, and decide which chef did not make the cut. Even though all the contestants are professional chefs, The Final Table is still loaded with the unbelievable “oops!” moments that every good cooking competition has, like a Japanese Michelin-star chef who has to make a taco before he’s ever even tasted one or a highly-trained Scottish chef who cannot figure out how to make Indian food spicy enough. Complete with cheap banter and dramatic suspense music, The Final Table is the epitome of a traditional cooking competition but with a twist of global influence.

Ugly Delicious

UglyDelicious on Instagram: “#NSFW: @davidchang takes

UglyDelicious on Instagram: “#NSFW: @davidchang takes

Each episode of Ugly Delicious explores the best and weirdest versions of our favorite comfort foods, from pizza to dumplings to tacos to traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It follows world-renowned chef David Chang around the world as he cooks with other celebrity chefs, considering the cross-cultural influences that makes handmade food so delicious. A personal favorite of mine, Ugly Delicious just makes me desperate for love-infused food in the best way possible.

Zumbo’s Just Desserts

Zumbo's Just Desserts on Instagram: “Probably the toughest Zumbo Test yet! The infamous mini-V8 Vanilla Cake!”

Zumbo’s Just Desserts on Instagram: “Probably the toughest Zumbo Test yet! The infamous mini-V8 Vanilla Cake!”

Like the Great British Baking Show, Zumbo’s Just Desserts pits amateur bakers against each other in a competition to make the most beautiful, delicious cakes and pastries. Adriano Zumbo, who’s basically the Australian Cake Boss, is a total fanatic when it comes to desserts and he really puts the heat on his competitors, pushing them to spicy trash talk and messy breakdowns. I was initially fooled by the funky designs and jars of candy that decorate the Dessert Factory, but the competition is anything but light-hearted and fun. It kind of reminds me of watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a kid; at first it seemed like my sweet-tooth fantasy come alive, then it started to get a little weird and I just wished the old white guy would stop smiling like that, but I could not stop watching until the very end.

Hopefully one of these shows connects with your soul, or if you’re like me, then you can’t wait to waste hours trying them all out. If you find yourself in the dangerous cycle of binge-watching and intense food cravings when you really should be working, just know that I’m right there with you.