As the world accepts the public health necessity of social distancing and even quarantine during efforts to flatten the curve of the spread of novel coronavirus and avoid catching (and spreading) COVID-19, it’s important to do our best to remain upbeat, productive, and healthy while tucked in at home.
Which means there’s never been better justification to binge-stream all the best food shows on Netflix.
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Whether it’s a quick break between work tasks, background intrigue for housekeeping chores, or the evening’s entertainment, these fantastic food shows will keep your love for food satisfied.
Taco Chronicles (2019)
This six-episode docuseries from director Carlos Pérez Osorio that explores the world of tacos is pure joy, and it’s even better that the series is in Spanish with subtitles. Learn your canasta from your el pastor as each episode delves into the history of six types of tacos, and enjoy the sights, sounds, and glorious culture of Mexico all along the way.
Stream it here: Taco Chronicles on Netflix
The Chef Show (2019)
Remember how much you loved Jon Favreau’s 2014 film, Chef? Well, the triple-threat actor/writer/director wasn’t done having fun in kitchens (or on the road), and this new travelogue-style docuseries from Favreau and Roy Choi (his collaborator on the original film) is the next generation of delicious for all of us. Every one of Season 1’s 20 episodes features a tasty adventure, from sipping reds with Wolfgang Puck to going wild for the smoked fish at Southern California’s famed Wexler’s Deli (and even a visit with Gwyneth Paltrow). Great company, great food, great fun.
Stream it here: The Chef Show on Netflix
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Chef’s Table (2015)
Now’s your chance to catch up on all 6 seasons of David Gelb’s remarkable docuseries that’s considered by many to be a follow-up to his masterpiece culinary documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. In that spirit, Gelb spends every episode with one great chef, from the irrepressible Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana fame (the very first episode) all the way to America’s Sean Brock of Husk renown (the final episode of season 6). These are deeply personal looks at a remarkable series of masters from a great variety of countries and cultures. Food for the soul.
Stream it here: Chef’s Table on Netflix
The Chef’s Line (2017)
Here’s a quarantine cocktail raised to sanity on competitive cooking shows, and this Australian series is a sweet (if currently lesser known) cousin to a pair of similarly sane powerhouses currently on Netflix: the Great British Baking Show and Sugar Rush. On Chef’s Line, home cooks compete with professional chefs to make traditional dishes in a variety of cuisines, and it’s absorbing, dramatic, and even educational. It will also give you a must-eat-at list of Australian restaurants to visit when all this real-life drama is over.
Stream it here: The Chef’s Line on Netflix
Street Food (2019)
Love Chef’s Table? Get ready for David Gelb to rock your culinary world—again—with his latest documentary series that travels in 30-minute episode bites to explore street food in some of the world’s most colorful and vibrant cities. What better way to leave the world of your four-walled quarantine than to head with Gelb to Bangkok, Osaka, Delhi, Seoul, and Singapore, among other beautiful destinations, and fall into the local life and tastes? It's like adding virtual stamps to your culinary passport.
Stream it here: Street Food on Netflix
Nailed It! (2018)
Feel like your quarantine pantry baking is falling flat like a bad souffle? You’re not alone. Welcome to the sweetest bit of baking train-wreck drive-by escapism on the Internet, which pits fail-prone home bakers against each other to recreate an edible masterpiece and take home a $10,000 grand prize. Comic Nicole Byer amps up the sugar high while renowned pastry chef Jacques Torres adds some culinary bona fides (and is the ultimate good sport). You’ve got three seasons to use as your daily dessert before Season 4 drops in April.
Stream it here: Nailed It! on Netflix
Salt Fat Acid Heat (2018)
Fans of chef and food writer Samin Nosrat’s marvelous 2017 cookbook of the same name (and of her warm, expansive personality) will love heading into the world with her in this new food/travel docuseries. The four episodes that make up Season 1 are named, appropriately, “Fat,” Salt,” Acid,” and “Heat,” and explore those themes in northern Italy, Japan, Mexico’s Yucatán, and California, respectively. If you don’t already own Nosrat’s book, you might want to pick it up and begin some quarantine cooking while spending quality time with her on the small screen.
Stream it here: Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix
Ugly Delicious (2018)
Few chefs are as watchable as David Chang, who brings his extroverted élan to this high-spirited travelog series that’s in its second season. Watch from the very beginning to witness Chang evolve with the series, going from traditional culinary docuseries moves (understanding the taco, say) to asking larger cultural questions about the world through food, and about himself as a chef and human being. There’s a bit of Bourdain here (as in so many shows following in his inimitable wake), and it’s wonderful to have the time during these stay-at-home days to witness it all develop in the very good company of Chang.
Stream it here: Ugly Delicious on Netflix
The gently insistent and penetrating mind of writer Michael Pollan (he of The Omnivore’s Dilemma) is on delightful display here as he learns to bake, brew, and braise on the way to showing us deeper truths about food and how it relates to our world. Inspired by his 2014 book of the same name, this single-season show breaks into four themed elemental episodes: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth, and is deeply satisfying and thought-provoking television.
Stream it here: Cooked on Netflix
How many food docuseries can you binge in a week of coronavirus quarantine? It’s time to break out some plotlines, and this new bilingual dramedy on Netflix does just that. Follow three Mexican-American cousins of the Morales family as they manage the gentrification of their Los Angeles neighborhood while trying to save their grandfather’s taco shop. Created by Linda Yvette Chávez and Marvin Lemus, the project was discovered when it was a web series by America Ferrera, who now serves as the executive producer. Binge all the way to the cliffhanger final episode in Season 1 and drop Netflix a friendly DM to beg them to reup the series for Season 2.
Stream it here: Gentefied on Netflix
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