Netflix is one of the best and most popular time-wasters in college. However; next time you go on Netflix, you will waste no time with the dreaded what-do-we-watch. You can finally combine two great things: food and Netflix.
These food shows display a wide variety of jaw-dropping dishes, adventurous travel, and fun personalities. Warning: I would eat beforehand, because these shows will definitely leave you hungry for more.
1. The Great British Baking Show
I swear, this is one of the funniest shows I have ever seen. To start off, it legitimately takes place in a big white tent on the lawn of a castle and there are actual goats grazing around. It is all very scenic and proper for a cooking show.
The adorably decorated mini-kitchens inside the tent are probably nicer than the castle’s. The whole opening sequence, in fact, is actually pretty breathtaking — when followed with jaw-dropping desserts and delicious-looking baked goods, what could be more addicting?
The concept of this show is to find the UK’s next great amateur baker. The contestants come from all over and span from ages 16 to well over 60, making for some interesting interactions. They compete for 10 weeks, and contestants get voted off by the judges.
Each week focuses on one type of baked good, however, it’s not always a dessert — they do bread and savory pastries as well. The contestants begin with the signature challenge, where they get to show their personality and background through creating that week’s dessert anyway they please.
Next is a technical challenge, where they must perfectly recreate one of the judges signature dessert to a tee. Finally, there is a showstopper challenge where they must create a display and multiple creations.
Basically, you get to learn how delicious pastries and extravagant baked goods get made while hearing thick accents say absurd and questionable things like “Keep your biscuits erect” and “The terror of a soggy bottom has been keeping me up all night” — in fact the show is known for accidentally making very strange sexual innuendoes.
Another one of the consistently hysterical aspects of this show are the judges: Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry (yes, those are real names). Their dramatic tones, surprisingly blunt sassiness, and oddly hilarious personalities are a good contrast to Mel and Sue, the overly hyper co-host duo.
You’ll get some good laughs from a show meant to be semi-serious. After watching it, you may feel like you personally know how to bake a perfect swiss roll and how to dote out sassy British advice.
2. Mind Of A Chef
Anthony Bourdain honestly has the voice of an angel, and he actually narrates as well as travels the world. Mind of a Chef, narrated by Bourdain, follows fellow famous chefs around. The first season focuses on Momofuku (as in Momofuku Milk Bar and more) creator and chef David Chang.
The show combines travel, cooking, history, science and humor in order to actually learn and experience everything about a certain food or dish. One of the episodes is solely focused on ramen, AKA the savior of all college kids, and it is pretty eye-opening. Chang recreates ramen as a fancy Italian dish, and you get to see how ramen is really treated in Japanese culture (hint: it’s not made in a microwave).
Another cool aspect of this show is that they have a food scientist, which is a man who legitimately explains via cartoons what is happening in the food and the complicated science behind something that may seem so simple.
The laid back personalities of all the chefs on screen, as well as the narration with it’s sarcasm and joking, is intermixed with fantastic real life food videos that are mouth-watering. Also, the intermittent cartoon scenes and funny graphics really make this show all together pretty fast-paced and enticing.
With this show, I gained a new respect for the culinary world and enjoyed the “kid in a candy store” mentality the hosts bring to every new adventure. In addition, Chang speaks so casually and simply that all parts of the cooking process are broken down, and for once all those crazy culinary terms are explained and translated to terms to can get.
3. I’ll Have What Phil’s Having
Imagine a thick New York-accented dad bravely traveling the world in search a great food — that is Phil Rosenberg. If you’ve ever seen An Idiot Abroad on Netflix, you’re sure to appreciate this show as well. Though he’s much less of an idiot, Phil deals with being put outside of his cultural comfort zone and it’s fun to watch.
He’s not a culinary genius in any way — in fact, he’s fairly clueless. He even says “eel is just fish without the fin.”
The mundanity of the show is what’s give it its authenticity, and the world-renowned restaurants and chefs that welcome him into their kitchens is what makes it extravagant. Some of the food Phil gets to discover would actually blow your mind.
For example, there’s this nature-themed restaurant where everything is made to look like it’s from a forest. The food there is purposely made to resemble dirt and the butter is made of moss. There’s even a speaker on the plate playing a live feed from a forest.
Phil also gets beef only cooked by drizzling hot oil over it for a half an hour ….he eats things so cutting edge you are shocked they are real. Basically, Phil is your typical tourist dad keeping it fancy AF while exploring the food of other cultures.
4. Chef’s Table
Very much a documentary fully about each chef. Each one brings their own story to the table, quite literally. This show also focuses on showing us what food really is and should be, which is an art.
You get to see so many types of cuisine and the lives of the masterminds behind them. One chef saved his town’s economy by creating risotto made with a certain type of cheese to help the town sell their 360,000 wheels of damaged cheese, which could’ve otherwise caused a disaster.
The cooking part of this show focuses on exquisite restaurants, where each plate looks like an actual piece of art. Each dish is complex with a whole story behind its conception and creation.
Many of the dishes are so classy that they have their own creative titles. One place has a dish called “A Hare in the Wood,” and it is just a plate covered in what looks like moss (but is somehow an edible food). Another restaurant has a plate with what looks like a piece of edible gold foil, but is actually so much more.
The filming of this whole story is so crystal clear that you can see the food like it is in front of you, and what you are seeing is something you have never seen before. Prepare for the slow-mo scenes of the food, as they are mind-numbing perfection and an art of their own.
5. Street Food Around the World
For starters, the very first episode opens with a soapy naked man speaking to the camera ….and it only gets weirder. Each episode starts with the host engaging in some odd and blatantly stereotypical scene of the place he is going.
The idea is that he is trying to get you to figure out where he is before the destination is revealed. The places range from confusing to very questionable, but it just demonstrates how with this show, you ever know what they’re gonna do next.
The National Geographic show follows quirky Israeli host Ishai Golan as he travels from international city to city finding out about the best street food. He gets 24 hours in each city to explore all the street food and local culture he desires.
As you see on the show, one can get Mexican food in NYC, but you cannot get Mexican street food in its truly engulfing glory anywhere other than Mexico City, which boasts 500,000 different food stands.
The host is genuinely interested and curious about the lives of the people he meets and the cultures in which they live. He’s a little goofy, and it doesn’t seem like he’s already a food know-it-all. It is like the host is learning about all these amazing cultures with you as he travels on the show.
The host even takes selfies with a handheld camcorder like it is 2006 or something, but lucky for you the actual filming of the food is very professionally done and so high-quality that you can almost smell it.