The incredible Francis Mallman from Chef's Table | Image credit: Kathryn Gunderson
We love eating and we love Netflix, so it was inevitable that these two profound and scintillating pursuits would one day merge to bring us a compendium of food documentaries. *Cue running-through-a-field-of-daisies-towards-a-floating-Netlix-logo music.
These documentaries celebrate, uncover, investigate and showcase every conceivable facet of the food industry from three Michelin star restaurants to pig farms in the Deep South. There’s chest-heaving, heart fluttering majesty of pure food porn, but also some gnarly revelations that dig deep into the social conscience for those days when you’re looking for a cause to get behind.
And all conveniently available on glorious Netflix, the final destination of all the free time you thought you had. Here are six amazing Netflix food docos you need to check out:
In this series, famed food writer Michael Pollan takes his mission to change the way the we eat one step further and delves into the history of our culture of food worship. Pollan unpacks every element of food culture and practice with an analytical approach that reveals his sharp mind and warm persona. Cooked is a real cockle-warmer, I’ll tell you that, and it’s perfect for any ardent foodies out there who are just waiting for a revolution.
#2 The Mind of a Chef
Slightly grittier and a bit rough around the edges, The Mind of a Chef is an insight into what it’s like to be around actual chefs. It’s boyish (Momofuku chef David Chang is the focal point) and contains lots of real chat and a bit of science, which always comes in handy. This series is working its way through a compendium of components, ingredient by ingredient, to burrow into the theory and practice of what people eat. Case in point, the first episode is called simply ‘Noodle’. Fundamental AF.
#3 Chef’s Table
Finesse, refinement, snazzy plating – Chef’s Table’s got it all. Each of the six episodes map the trajectory of a different chef’s career from the vantage of the different philosophies underpinning their every move. One week it’s the preservation of the French provincial style within the modern market, the next it’s an exploration into sustainable farming. In short, the whole thing is an exercise in Michelin starred food porn and the whole thing comes together in a visual symphony of gastronomical splendour. Salivation imminent, viewer discretion is advised.
Every wondered how hard it is to enter the hallowed sect of master sommeliers? Somm follows four sommeliers in their preparation to ascend into this esteemed group and unpacks every gruelling detail of the trials that decide which hopeful experts make the cut. It’s an odd pleasure watching tensions hiss under the immense pressure of the exam but with wine and high-octane drama being two of our favourite things, we can’t get enough. And there’s a lot to learn about wine. Like, a whole lot.
#5 Food Matters
Good health makes sense, not dollars. Nutrition has in recent years been highlighted as we desperately search for solutions to the growing haul of health problems plighting the planet. Get ready for an eye-opening plunge into the significance of diet and the importance of eating local and unprocessed foods in combatting universally bad health. Caution: Food Matters is the kind of doco that will inspire you to quit your job, move to the country, and start an organic dairy farm.
#6 Food Inc.
There’s the food industry, and then there’s the industry of food. The former is the topic of most of the previous docos, but it’s the latter that comes under scrutiny in Food Inc. Without whipping out the tin foil hat, Food Inc. blows the lid on the industrial monopoly of agriculture and depicts the eating hazards it causes in the modern age. Where Food Matters showed us the intrinsic benefits of buying local produce, Food Inc. goes one step further in revealing the dangers of eating otherwise.
Love Netflix as much as we do? Check out our article 7 Netflix Docos You Need To See Now!