Netflix and chew

By Ruth Kinane
May 06, 2017 at 12:00 PM EDT
Credit: Netflix (2); PBS

Hungry? You’re about to be. Netflix has it covered when it comes to the kitchen. Not only does the streaming service whip up its own culinary delights such as Chef’s Table and Samurai Gourmet, it also streams a banquet of other food shows from all around the world. So whether you’re in it for some kitchen-spiration or just to give your salivary glands a workout, we’ve rounded up the most scrumptious food shows Netflix brings to the table. Because binge watching food is better for you than binge eating it. Bon appetite!

A Netflix original, each episode of this docu-series — now in its third season — follows a world-famous chef. Brought to your screen by the same director behind Jiro Dreams of Sushi,the series is exquisitely shot across a range of countries and explores the minds of the world’s most acclaimed chefs. This year’s season profiled culinary masters such as Nancy Silverton in L.A., Virgilio Martínez in Lima, Peru, and Tim Raue in Berlin, Germany. Tasty and cultured.

La version française of the above. Same gist, better accents, and beaucoup de fromage. What are you waiting for? Allons-y!

On the surface, this is a show about, well, cooking. But beyond that, it explores the ways in which baking, brewing, and braising shapes our culture and changes the world. If you’re thinking that sounds like a lofty goal for food, you’d be right. The show occasionally bites off more than it can chew, but food writer Michael Pollan generally handles topics such as health, environment, and poverty with the respect due.

Another one for the subtitle lover. This Netflix original dispels of all the normal tropes of competitive food television and instead focuses on warming your stomach and soul. Based on a Japanese manga by Masayuki Kusumi and Shigeru Tsuchiyama, the fictional comedy brushes aside the usual focal point of food shows: a chef. Instead, in a super relatable move, the series follows a hungry dude who has recently retired and now just wants to eat. There’s also a samurai who pops up occasionally as Kasumi’s dare devil alter-ego. Confused? Just watch and it’ll all make sense.

If you ever wondered what Japanese comfort food was like, this one’s for you. The scripted series set in a Tokyo diner that only opens after midnight serves up a different dish every episode with mouth-watering options such as fried rice omelets and Tan-men noodles. Totally makes you rethink that instant ramen you’ve been throwing together.

Time to head down under. Kiwi chef (no, nothing to do with the green furry fruit) Nic Watt serves up some classic New Zealand dishes with a Japanese twist. Having traveled the world, Watt uses all the culinary inspirations he’s picked up along the way and then unleashes them on his fellow countryman in Auckland to, you know, test the menu. Spoiler: Sometimes they just think he’s plain crazy.

Ooo, this one’s fancy! Michelin-star chef Éric Ripert takes you inside his masterful mind as he searches the globe for inspiration on this PBS-turned-Cooking Channel series. From Hudson River Valley to Australia and South Korea, it’s not just the places but the people he meets along the way that influence his cooking style. It’s fun avec Éric.

What’s better than a TV show about food? You guessed it: A TV show about food and travel! That’s exactly what you get when you tune into this docu-series that follows Israeli film and television star Ishai Golan on his travels as he samples food from street vendors, markets, and off-the-beaten path local restaurants, from Mexico to Mumbai. It’s a fun trip for sure.

Another acclaimed chef visits exotic countries in search of novel ingredients and flavor fusions. Sure, you’ve seen it before but this one brings “extreme cuisines” into the mix. From Russia to Scotland to Napa Valley, Bourdain’s hungry for a taste of everything and anything. Both seasons of this show are available on the streaming network.

As are seasons 1 through 6 of his more recent show. Again: foreign lands, unusual ingredients, shockingly delicious results.

If you Love Raymond, don’s miss this one. Brought to you by the creator and producer of the family sitcom (Everybody Loves Raymond), Phil Rosenthal jumps on the globe-trotting band wagon (probably just an airplane) in search of unusual ingredients and fun adventures. This culinary series is all about keeping traditions alive around the world, so A+ for valiant effort.

Um, is an explanation necessary for this one? Someone who has never even been in a kitchen before stays in their homeland and whips up some culinary delights. Kidding. Professional chefs try out different recipes as they travel the world. Maybe it sounds familiar, but this one is from the BBC so you know there’s an element of refined sophistication and wholesomeness. Plus: points for a great tagline. “Six cooks, six countries, six incredible journeys.” Indeed.

If you only watch one show on this list, this is the chosen one. Though, if you haven’t already watched it, you probably don’t own a television or computer or phone, so you’re certainly not reading this right now. A delightful show, with a delightful premise, hosted by a delightful comic duo, set in the delightful English countryside, and, most importantly, judged by the most delightful of all people, Mrs. Mary Berry — a British treasure if ever there was one. Oh, Paul Hollywood (yes, his real name) also judges. Lots of really lovely people from around the country gather to compete in a tented baking showdown, and they are all very well-mannered when they’re voted off. Like I said, DELIGHTFUL.

A spin-off where just the judges show up to talk you through some of the signature, technical, and show-stopping bakes from the season. It’s basically QT with Mary Berry. Also delightful.

Everyone’s favorite Italian daytime television regular, Giada De Laurentiis takes you inside her home, (not really though, the show isn’t shot in her real-life house) and cooks up a storm and plans a party for friends and family. Sometimes she goes to the beach too! What’s cool is, rather than stick to the Italian fare she knows so well, De Laurentiis (granddaughter of the late Silence of the Lambs producer Dino De Laurentiis, by the way) branches out and tries a variety of other cuisines as well.

Anyone who’s ever been to Australia will tell you one thing: The food is exquisite but don’t try the kangaroo pizza. Luckily, in this show from the land of Aussies, the chefs have far more refined palates. The three professionals bring the best of Australian cuisine to the table in an attempt to shatter that “throw another shrimp on the barbie” misconception the rest of the world has of food from down under. Mate, this one will have you salivating in no time.

Imagine someone showed up at your door and told you you had to prepare a meal with whatever was in your fridge at precisely that moment. Yup, hope you like eggs and wine, new friends. That’s pretty much the premise of this culinary romp. Chefs Aldo Lanzillotta and Jo Lusted show up at some random cottages and get down to preparing a three-course meal in just one hour. The poor contestants live in cottages so therefore don’t have teeth state of the art kitchen equipment, so it’s no easy feat. The food is then served to the cottage dwellers’ dog friends and family. Cottage folks then find new friends and family.

The word “wild” in the title may be a little misleading. No, chef Martin Picard isn’t some crazy man eating tree bark and armadillos (though, actually it’s not that far off) — he’s just grilling some game. Get it? WILD ANIMALS. Anyway, he journeys across Quebec in search of said game, including moose and muskrat. Yum, eh?