The Best Food Shows on Netflix Right Now
Satisfy your binge-watch appetite with these baking and cooking shows.
With all of Food Network's programming over on Hulu, what food shows are left on Netflix? The answer to that question is a lengthy one if you were to name all of them, so we're just narrowing it down to the best of the streaming giant's offerings, which just keep improving. From the latest heady docuseries to food-obsessed fiction, here's everything food-related you need to watch on Netflix right now. We recommend a steady diet of the shows on this curated list, which changes frequently as Netflix's programming, so check back when you're hungry for something new.
The Big Family Cooking Showdown (2017- )
If you're out of Great British Baking Show episodes to watch, this is the perfect show to fill the gentle British cooking competition show-sized hole in your life. You'll recognize Nadiya Hussain, the eminently loveable sixth season winner of GBBO, as one in the pair of Mel and Sue-type hosts who encourage the sets of British families competing to show off their home cooking synergy to Michelin-rated Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli and famous British cooking instructor Rosemary Shrager.
The Chef Show (2019- )
To prepare for his 2014 film, Chef, director/actor Jon Favreau teamed up with real-life chef and and famed Kogi taco truck founder Roy Choi to learn the trade. For a Netflix docuseries, the two decided to reunite, this time with both of them in front of the camera, to document their shared travels and experiences cooking with a variety of specialty chefs in order to learn about their cuisines and culture. It's a charming travelogue, as many food series are, but with Hollywood hot shot Favreau at the forefront, the show is able to pull some exciting celebrity guests, from Marvel stars (including a truly wild appearance by Gwyneth Paltrow) to Seth Rogen, making it especially fun to watch the intimate experience of cooking with someone.
Chef's Table (2015- ) & Chef's Table: France (2016- )
Over the years, the histrionic formula for the Chef's Table series has become such a caricature of itself that it earned its very own Documentary Now! parody. That's not to say the series isn't worth your time -- it's the standard bearer for profiling fine-dining chefs and their often Michelin-starred restaurants on camera, treating the dishes that glide across the table (or sometimes that are the table) as if they were famous pieces of art. Chef's Table is the pinnacle of food porn pretension and snobbery, but who among us is above indulging in a little beautifully shot, vicarious snobbery now and then?
Chef's Table: BBQ (2020- )
Like Chef's Table before it, Chef's Table: BBQ follows the same format of profiling chefs and their precious culinary creations, but this rendition focuses on -- you guessed it -- pitmasters and their barbecue. This one's a little less pretentious and a little more homespun than the original series, though. It of course gets your mouth watering by highlighting the tradition of preparing delectable smoked and flame-grilled meats, but it also manages to get your tear ducts flowing too by telling heartfelt stories of pitmasters who put their all into their cooking. The stories here aren't about the pitmasters who might first come to mind when you think about the trade, like the 85-year-old Texan chef named Tootsie, but it's all the better for it.
Michael Pollan is easily the most famous food thinker today. This four-part docuseries based on his book of the same name centers each episode around nature's elements and how they affect the way we cook around the world without ever diving so far down a science-y rabbit hole that it becomes inaccessible. Directed by Alex Gibney, who also made the Enron documentary, the Scientology documentary, and Netflix's series Dirty Money, Cooked asks us to reexamine our connection to the things we put inside our body, like so much of Pollan's work does.
Cooked With Cannabis (2020- )
People have been getting baked by consuming edibles for ages, but in recent years as cannabis continues to be decriminalized, chefs have gotten into the business of advanced stoner culinary creations. Inevitably, cooking shows have gotten hip to the trend too, like Netflix's Cooked With Cannabis, hosted by chef and recording artist Kelis. The show largely follows the typical competition series format -- tasking professional chefs with making weed- and CBD-infused meals -- but it's equal parts the hilarious high you'd expect and a legitimately impressive cooking series. You won't find your college roommate's basic weed brownies, here: These experienced professionals must make an elaborate three-course meal that actually tastes good and get deep into the science of finding the right balance between THC and CBD. It's the perfect, laid-back, hilarious reality show for when you're toking up and have the munchies.
The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell (2018)
After a while, cooking shows can tend to feel a little too familiar -- there are the food competitions, demonstrations, and travel journeys -- and they're typically about the meals that make our mouths water the most. Fortunately, we live in the time of artist/actress/Instagram sensation/contemporary goth icon Christine McConnell who has a taste for the unusual. In this Netflix original, McConnell invites viewers into her house of horrors where she crafts spooky sweets and creations with the help of her otherworldly muppet-like friends. The show is very odd in the best ways possible, the delicacies will haunt you with their insanely intricate aesthetics, and McConnell is a spellbinding host.
The Final Table (2018)
The Final Table was Netflix's first big swing at the streamer's own high-level culinary competition, and while it doesn't quite match the dramatic addictiveness of Top Chef, it's a success in its own right. Hosted by Bon Appetit restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton, the series circles the globe in one kitchen through its localized themes, hitting major (mostly Eurocentric) food countries like Mexico, India, France, Italy, etc. (Where's China?? Thailand?? Anyway...). In teams of two, accomplished chefs work together to create gorgeous dishes, the creativity of which far surpasses any other mainstream cooking competition out there. It's worth a viewing just to watch the impressive technique and care the chefs devote to their food.
The Great British Baking Show (2010- )
Of the culinary competition shows out there, GBBS (known as The Great British Bake Off across the pond) is the least cutthroat, most low-key one you will ever have the pleasure of watching. But for a title with such low drama, the real-world infatuation with GBBS spawned online vitriol when it was announced that hosts Mel and Sue and judge Mary Berry would be exiting the show when it moved to Channel 4. An early trailer for the new iteration -- hosted by comedians Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding (The Mighty Boosh), with new judge Prue Leith -- freaked out viewers with its anthropomorphic bakery, but the new iteration is just as delightful as you'll remember. The notoriously hard-to-impress Paul Hollywood is still around to put contestants through the ringer of three bakes that, aside from the secret technical challenge, they have plenty of time to prepare for. The bakers develop such camaraderie over the season that when one of their pals leaves, everyone else cries for that person. Imagine that!
Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman (2017)
A computer programmer ditches his well-paying job to get into the publishing sales biz, specifically to buy himself more time during his work week so he can stop off at Toyko's best dessert shops in between meetings to fuel his true passion: food blogging. Anyone can relate to the show's celebration of life's small indulgences in the face of a shitty job. Based on the manga Saboriman Ametani Kantarou, the series brought to life is goofy as hell depicting Kantaro's over-the-top inner monologues and cut scenes where his brain on dessert is allowed to wander.
Nailed It! (2018- )
Sure, culinary series that feature chef extraordinaires can be exciting to watch for those of us who aren't quite as talented in the kitchen, but throwing totally unqualified bakers into a dessert-decorating competition is extremely entertaining. That’s what the comedic baking competition series Nailed It! does, taking individuals who are very mediocre cooks and asking them to recreate beautiful sweets to win prize money (or some kitchen equipment). Leave your cupcake molds at home because these aren’t just any sweets -- they’re top-of-the-line novelties. Hosted by comedian Nicole Byer and pastry chef Jacques Torres, there’s the right amount of hilarity and serious appreciation for the craft, so even as the helpless contestants struggle to bake gourmet creations, the saccharine attitude is infectious.
Rotten is Netflix's alarmist series about the evils of food production, though it eschews the common pitfalls of this documentary genre by telling the stories of the people whose livelihoods are linked to Big Milk or Big Garlic (yes, it's a thing). Each hour-long episode faces its topic head-on, unafraid to show the nasty realities behind large-scale chicken or cod processing, sending a pressing reminder that there are usually larger forces at play than what we're led to believe.
Salt Fat Acid Heat (2018)
There are a few essential elements that make cooking both an incredible and universal experience, and according to author/chef Samin Nosrat, those four basics are salt, fat, acid, and heat. Nosrat built on those elements in her James Beard Award-winning cookbook, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, and now in the Netflix series, she travels the globe to explore how these principles fuel good food. The show comes from the creators of Cooked, and Nosrat is extremely charismatic, making her travels into the homes of families in Japan, Italy, Yucatán, and even Berkeley especially enlightening. While each episode focuses on one of the four keys to cooking, its simplicity allows it to alter the cooking show genre by breaking things down to the elementary level, infusing that with demonstrations, human conversation, and a whole lot of charm.
Samurai Gourmet (2017)
Samurai Gourmet is a show about eating, but in no way that you might expect. Hazy around the edges, the fictional series follows the culinary adventures of the newly retired businessman Takashi Kasumi, who often falls into daydreams motivated by the premise: What Would A Great Samurai Do? Often, that boils down to drinking a beer in the middle of the day or saying yes to another serving of rice. There's tranquil food porn aplenty in this mostly solitary journey inside the head of our guy Takashi.
Street Food (2019- )
While learning from esteemed celebrity chefs can give a behind-the-scenes look into the rarefied levels of the food and restaurant industry, some of the most talented, interesting cooks live and work on the streets serving food for everyone. Street Food offers a glimpse into the lives and craft of street food chefs and vendors, examining their inspired dishes and the even more compelling stories behind them. The first season of the series focuses on stories around different parts of Asia, from sweets sellers in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to seafood purveyors in Cebu, Philippines, while the most recent heads to Latin America to look at everything from food markets in Bogota, Colombia to raved about tortillas in Buenos Aires, Argentina. With Street Food, you get all of that plus so much more for a joyful, genuine adventure that most people with a Netflix account could actually afford (should they ever be lucky enough to travel to these places).
Sugar Rush (2018- )
Fans of beautiful sweet eats and competition cooking shows get their fix in this Netflix original. In Sugar Rush, pastry chefs are ruled by the pressures of time as teams compete in constructing a series of confections in just a matter of hours; finish in less than the allotted time, and you'll have rollover minutes for other rounds. The teams are judged by professional bakers Adriano Zumbo and Candace Nelson of Sprinkles fame, so if you have a taste for insane cupcakes and beautifully fondant-ified cakes that appear as if they couldn't possibly be cakes, this is the reality show for you.
Ugly Delicious (2018- )
In the absence of Lucky Peach, the spirit and vision of the shuttered food magazine lives on in the Netflix-produced Ugly Delicious, where David Chang and Peter Meehan, the magazine's editor in chief, offer their take on a food-travel show. Each single-topic episode -- pizza, home cooking, fried rice -- divvies up exploratory duties between Chang and Meehan, whether that means running around locales from Tokyo to Coney Island with famous pals or making a fool of themselves trying their hand at a cooking skill that takes a lifetime to master, to find the heart and soul of a dish, "authenticity" be damned. Ugly Delicious is imperfect, but in a space where there are enough Bourdain knock-offs to go around, it's a fresh perspective lifted straight from the pages of a dead magazine that's come back to life.
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