Netflix is one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century, hands down. Even better than watching practically any show at the push of a button, is that they have a whole section devoted to food (and travel) – but more importantly, food.
In total, there are 44 films or TV shows that are food related, which may seem a bit overwhelming. Don’t fret, they easily break down into nine categories for each type of foodie out there.
Are you a wino, a dessert lover, or a vegetarian/nurtitionist? How about a food advocate or someone who is obsessed with food history, or considers themselves to be an epicurean? Whether you are someone who is addicted to Food Network (guilty as charged), consider yourself to be an adventurous eater, or love to travel and eat, Netflix has something for the foodie in everyone.
For the Wino
A Year in Champagne
For those who love poppin’ bottles, this is the documentary to watch. Martine Saunier tours six Champagne facilities to see how they make this beloved drink. From small champagne makers with processes done by hand to larger automated facilities, this film doesn’t disappoint.
A Year in Burgundy
Make it a marathon, and watch another film with Martine Saunier as your guide. Travel through the four seasons of wine with seven winemakers. Along with the four seasons of the year come spring showers, drought, heat wave, hail and storms, harvest moons and the damp cold of winter.
Being a sommelier may seem like a fun and easy job, but it is way harder than it looks. This documentary follows four wine stewards prepping for the grueling Master Sommelier exam. This is one of the most difficult tests overseen by the secretive Court of Master Sommeliers. Somm gives the viewer a look into the unknown world of wine.
For the Dessert Lover
Kings of Pastry
For all who love pastries this is the show for you. 16 French pastry chefs gather in France for three days; the goal: to be named one of the best by President Nicolas Sarkozy. The winner receives the red, white and blue stripes on their collar – the ultimate sign of pastry recognition. This competition had never been filmed before this must-see documentary.
Ace of Cakes
Used to love this show and you’re sad it is no longer on the air? No need to worry, Netflix, as usual, has got you covered. Following Charm City Cakes, you’ll never be bored with these one of a kind cake designs. One of the first edible art shows, turn to Ace of Cakes for nostalgia’s sake.
Competition and cupcakes, a beautiful union. Four cupcake artists compete to win $10k and the chance to be featured at an upcoming event. The show stopped taping new episodes in 2013, but Netflix has them all so you can watch them on repeat.
The Great British Baking Show
10 amateur bakers compete in three challenges each week. The competition culminates in one lucky contestant being named Britain’s Best Amateur Baker. If you’re tired of American food competitions and love baking, this show brings not only beautiful dessert, but British accents. What’s not to love?
For the Vegetarians and Nutritionists
Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
This documentary follows the journey of a 310 lb man with a rare medical condition. A cheeseburger away from death, quite literally, he decides to turn his life around. He trades in burgers for juice drinking only fresh fruits and vegetables for 60 days. He meets someone else with the same condition along the way and this journey becomes truly inspiring. There’s also a Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2 so clear your evening, it’ll be a long, emotional journey.
Forks Over Knives
If you are thinking about becoming a vegetarian or have been recently diagnosed with an illness such as diabetes, this is a must see. Researchers explore the idea that changing from an animal-based to plant-based diet can help to improve diseases and overall health.
For those who love veggies and science, you can’t miss this film. This story follows three people who are on a mission to prove that there is a scientific reason to eat a plant-based diet. This film has a little bit of everything, including how lobbyists have supported the beef and dairy industry by making people skeptic of a vegetarian diet.
If you are considering going vegan you should probably watch this documentary first. It follows six New Yorkers, who love meat and cheese, in their attempt to go vegan over the course of six weeks. We all know New Yorkers love food – if they can do it, so can you.
This is for the nutritionist in us all, especially those who love learning from experts. This film has interviews with several health experts about the best natural healing paths you can take to improve your health. Your diet is more influential than you’d think, so you better get to eating right.
If you haven’t heard of this film, you must be living under a rock. People who weren’t forced to watch this in high school health class should definitely check it out. You may want to have some fast food before hand, particularly McDonald’s, because you might not have the appetite for it afterwards.
Soul Food Junkies
Soul Food is the quintessential cuisine of the African American community. This film explores the cultural and historical aspects of this cuisine and its impact on the identity of the African American. It discusses limited access to higher quality food in African American communities as well as a way to redefine the cuisine to include healthier options.
For the Food Advocates
If you grew up around small, local farmers, this film will make you appreciate your upbringing. Many of these farmers were forced to stop providing healthy food by government bureaucracies. Access to fresh and healthy food is under attack in America, starting with the American farmer.
Focusing on tomato farmers who are revolutionizing farm labor in Florida, Food Chains hopes to inspire a transparent food system that improves the lives of farmers. What is the true human cost in the food chain? Watch to find out.
Fed Up (FU)
A personal favorite of mine, and half the reason I decided to go into food policy, Fed Up – or FU for short – is a documentary made by Katie Couric. It illuminates the flaws and corruption in the American food system, and how it has contributed to the obesity epidemic in this country.
Food Inc is another classic that everyone should see. Make sure you’re not eating during the documentary though, it’s a little graphic. If you want to learn about the truth of who controls the food industry, look no further than Food Inc.
One of the most life changing food documentaries. Have a huge steak dinner with all of the fixins, because you may not be returning to meat for a while. The environmental impact of the agriculture industry, particularly the production of meat and seafood is insane. It will have you converting to vegetarianism, if not veganism, in no time.
Hungry For Change
You may not know this, but advertising is a powerful tool and the food industry is using it to influence what consumers eat. The choice does not truly lie with the shopper. What secrets are the diet, weight loss and food industries keeping from us? Tune in to find out.
For the Epicurean
If you love fine dining, you’ll love this documentary. The opening of any restaurant is challenging, especially one hoping to receive Michelin Stars. This emotional rollercoaster will give you a greater appreciation for all that goes in to fine dining.
Nine Michelin-starred chefs, three countries, one film. It explores the business behind fine dining at the highest level with exclusive interviews with some of the top chefs in the world.
Another personal favorite of mine, this series follows six chefs who run the best restaurants in the world. They exude perfection of both innovation and cooking and will have you booking tickets to Argentina, Italy and Norway in no time.
With a recent push for sustainability comes a change for the beef industry. What does this mean for high quality steak? An across the world documentary has chefs, farmers, butchers, journalists and other experts weigh in on how this revolution impacts the industry and the challenges it brings.
For the Food Historian
Ever wondered how hotdogs became an American icon? Lloyd Handwerker, grandson to the man who started Nathan’s Famous on Coney Island sets out to tell share its story with the rest of the world. They interview old employees and family friends to give it a very authentic feel.
The Search for General Tso
Who was General Tso and why is there a Chinese chicken dish named after him? This film traces its interesting history including an interview with its originator. Turns out this seeming Chinese dish is just as all-American as a milkshake and burger.
Sushi the Global Catch
Sushi has become a common meal world wide in the past 30 years, but how did it get there? Spanning five countries, this documentary explored the traditions, growth and future of sushi. If you love sushi and sashimi, this is a must see.
Ken Burns: Prohibition
Another of Ken Burn’s epic documentaries follows the implementation of the 18th Amendment. It explores the role of government in its citizen’s lives through an exploration of the Prohibition. Grab some moonshine and settle in for an amazing three part documentary.
Wind. Earth. Fire. Air. Though these four elements, the history of food and its ability to connect people is explored over four episodes. If you are looking to reclaim the lost culinary traditions of our ancestors, look no further than Cooked.
For the Food Travelers
I’ll Have What Phil’s Having
Love to travel but don’t have the time? Now is your chance to explore all the culinary delights major cities and countries have to offer. From Barcelona to Hong Kong, travel the world without leaving your bed.
Street Food Around the World
Some of the best food I’ve ever had has been on the streets of Europe. Local street food is where the true cuisine of a country or city lies. Follow Ishai Golan as he explores alleyways and side streets across the world in the search for the best food.
Diners, Drive-ins and Dives
Quite possibly one of the best shows on television. Want to know what the best places to eat are in practically every city across America? Look no further. It also doesn’t hurt that watching Guy Fieri eat is some how incredibly entertaining.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Dreaming of sushi? If you don’t have the time and money to go to Tokyo this documentary is the next best thing. This the story of 85-year-old Jiro Ono, the world’s best sushi chef. He owns a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant in a Tokyo subway station that is the first of its kind to get three Michelin stars.
For the Adventurous Eater
Man v. Food
If you think you’re an adventurous eater, think again. Taking on some of the most insane food challenges, Adam Richman travels around America eating 13lb pizzas and atomic hot wings. If you think you have what it takes, check out where he’s been near you.
Girl Eat World
Willing to try anything? Kaman Pather will. At the mercy of Instagram food gods and local bloggers, she eats whatever they show her in ten major cities across the world. She’ll have you wanting to travel the world to try these dishes in no time.
For the Self-Proclaimed Chef
America’s Test Kitchen
Learn how to cook the basics all the way through to master dishes with America’s Test Kitchen. Cooking tips, recipes and advice from Christopher Kimball. Each episode has a theme and three recipes to guide you along in a culinary adventure from Chinese dishes to comfort food, and everything in between.
Learn about the origins of ingredients and culinary customs with Alton Brown. He also discusses new equipment and trends in the cooking industry, so get ready to learn. Perfect for a person who has just starting to cook or interested in a the scientific aspect of cooking.
For the Food Network Addict
Great Food Truck Race
If you haven’t eaten at a food truck, have you really lived? Follow as food trucks compete across the country to be the best and most profitable food truck. Each city presents a new challenge, only one will finish the race victorious.
Food Network Star
12 chefs, three judges, one mentor and one winner. The winner gets the chance to star in their own series on Food Network. Watch as they compete for the title over a series of challenges and eliminations.
Gordon Ramsay visits restaurants across the US to help them fix their problems and run proper restaurants. From unsanitary conditions to incompetent staff there’s nothing you won’t see on Kitchen Nightmares.
Worst Cooks in America
You’ll think you are the next master chef after watching these wanna be chefs fumble around in the kitchen. There are two teams each led by a culinary master. In the end, the one left standing will be the best worst cook in America – some would say that’s an accomplishment.
Iron Chef America
Watch the best of the best go head to head for the title. One Iron chef competes against with a chef who is the master of a particular cuisine. They face off in a competition that has a different secret ingredient each episode chosen by the host Chairman Kaga.
Watch as four chefs compete in three elimination rounds. Each chef has $25,000 that they can use to sabotage their competitors. From cooking blindfolded to digging through melted cheese for their ingredients – each sabotage is crazier than the last.
Ever looked in the fridge and the ingredients you have couldn’t make a real meal if you tried? Well, four chefs compete to make meals out of mystery basket ingredients and they do it seamlessly. To make it even more fun to watch, check out this Chopped drinking game.