If you aren’t completely obsessed with cooking shows, are you like, okay? Because nothing compares to a
front row seat screen full of food. We, the human race, are not worthy of this indulgence of culinary eye candy.
Humans associate meals and treats with memories. Take cake, for example. You probs have cake for special occasions and celebrations, so now whenever you see cake, you’re flooded with all those happy feelings. I’m not saying food = happiness, but sometimes it can come pretty freakin’ close.
So if you’re in the mood for a food-filled show featuring international travel, fierce competition, and in-depth cultural explorations, queue up one of the best cooking shows on Netflix. They’ll satisfy any craving, guaranteed.
If watching chefs from around the world battle it out in a global cook-off tickles your fancy: The Final Table
Professional chefs compete for a seat at a table with the top chefs in the world. Each round the chefs “visit” a different country, where they must master the national dish. Only the chefs with the best versions of the authentic dish can pack their bags (knives) and move onto the next country (round). Which chef has what it takes to make it all around the world and claim international praise in the process? A worldwide culinary journey awaits you.
The cooking show that’s just as thrilling as it is sweet: Sugar Rush
TBH, there may have been a bit of a drool situation going on when I watched this show, but with all the cupcakes, confections, and cake, you really can’t blame me! If you weren’t craving sweets before, then you 100% will after watching this dessert-a-licious (yup, I just came up with that word) bake-off.
The show that mixes fantasy and magic with food: Crazy Delicious
Experience a magical world where everything you touch is edible, and there are floating unicorns and talking trees. Okay, fine, maybe not that last part, but this show is kinda like if you had a cook-off in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
If you want the inside scoop on famous chefs with a side of witty commentary: The Chef Show
Remember that delicious movie Chef with John Favreau and the most incredible looking Cubano sandwiches??? If you don’t, I highly suggest you turn it on ASAP because it is an all-around great movie with many aesthetically-pleasing, mouth-watering shots of gorgeous food. The Chef Show is a spin-off of the film, where Jon Favreau takes us into the kitchen of world-renowned chefs where the magic happens.
The show that proves food unites communities around the world: Restaurants on the Edge
Three experts in the food industry travel to restaurants with breathtaking views that are in need of a little TLC. By saving restaurants teetering on the brink of collapse, they also end up helping the surrounding neighborhood. Restaurants on the Edge is a must-watch show that reveals the power of food to not only feed, but also uplift local communities.
The show that teaches you how to make yummy meals fast: Nadiya’s Time to Eat
You know when you’re watching a cooking show and these chefs are just casually whipping up some elaborate and difficult dish while you’re sitting there eating buttered pasta for the tenth night in a row thinking I could never??? That’s when Nadiya’s Time to Eat comes in. The bright and cheerful Nadiya Hussain will teach you how to make a delish meal even if you aren’t a master in the kitchen.
The show that follows your fave comedians on food adventures around the world: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
If you can’t get enough of David Chang (like, c’mon, watching him interact with food is like watching Beyoncé sing), check out Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. Follow Chang as he meets up with the celebs we all wish were friends with and together they explore the very best and most authentic cuisine in foodie spots across the globe. The show’s unfiltered and casual spirit makes it feel like grabbing a bite with Seth Rogen or Chrissy Teigen is actually within reach. (Reminder: It isn’t.)
If you think Taco Tuesday is the best day of the week: Taco Chronicles
Taco lovers rejoice! You can’t claim to be a true taco lover if you haven’t seen Taco Chronicles. I mean, an entire show dedicated to tacos? Am I dreaming or is this real life?
The mouth-watering show that will make you want to plan a trip to Asia: Street Food Asia
In case you need an extra push to book the vacay across Asia that you’ve been dreaming about forever, turn on Street Food Asia and commit to those plane tickets! Each episode in the series highlights a different country and explores not only the local street food scene, but also the stories and histories of the cuisine. Travel to India and Japan—in the same day!
The show that turns your dessert dreams into a reality: Zumbo’s Just Desserts
Adriano Zumbo, *the* dessert expert in Australia, hosts a cooking competition with amateur chefs dedicated to, you guessed it, desserts. Personally, if there’s any sort of cake, cookie, chocolate, or ice cream, I’m sold. Recommended to watch with a generous supply of sugar within reach.
The show that’s basically food porn—and that’s a good thing: Chef’s Table
It’s pretty much guaranteed that if you hit pause at any second of Chef’s Table, it’s probably a shot worth framing. From picturesque views of fields and cityscapes to stunning close-ups of a dish that’s getting its finishing touches (think flower petals or several precise dots of sauce), the series will make you feel all sorts of things (aka hunger pangs) while learning the deeply personal stories of some of the world’s most famous chefs. By the time you get to Los Angeles-based baker and grilled-cheese extraordinaire Nancy Silverton’s episode (season three), you’ll want to sign up for culinary school.
The binge-worthy show that you need to stop ignoring: The Great British Baking Show
Don’t fight it, it’s time to embrace GBBO (otherwise known as The Great British Bake Off in the UK). In each episode, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry (who was replaced by Prue Leith beginning on Collection 5) judge a group of extremely nice and good-hearted amateur bakers who are tasked with making everything from complicated meat pies (no soggy bottoms, please) to frangipane tarts. The ultimate star baker (aka winner) is named at the end of every season, but let’s be real: the real winner is whoever’s responsible for cueing up the quaint piano music every time someone leaves the show. Note: The Great British Baking Show: The Beginnings, The Great British Baking Show: Holidays, and The Great British Baking Show: Masterclass (in which Paul and Mary demonstrate some of the major recipes) are also worth a binge. All are best enjoyed on the weekends, when your to-do lists are nowhere to be seen and time seems to slow down.
The cooking competition that eases your homesickness just a lil bit: The Big Family Cooking Showdown
There’s no better cure for the heart than food. If your heart is also aching because your family is in a different time zone, The Big Family Cooking Show will feel like a warm hug. Like GBBO, this series isn’t a mean-spirited competition. Rather, it’s more about families working together, cooking together, and learning from each other. Plus, season one is hosted by a familiar face—GBBO winner Nadiya Hussain, so it’s almost like you’re with family.
For the Shark Tank fan in your life: Million Pound Menu
What happens when you bring together powerful people with money to spend and a bunch of aspiring restauranteurs with big, often unrealistic ideas? Yes, this show will make you a tad nervous, but there’s always someone to root for, if your idea of a successful business involves vegan junk food, raw cookie dough, or burgers. And because it’s a product of Netflix and BBC Two, there’s barely any drama and everyone is just so nice to each other!
The show that’s part of a well-balanced meal: Nailed It!
With a running time of about 30 minutes per episode, Nailed It! is the perfect show to wind down to, and eating a bag of chips (or a full meal) while watching is highly encouraged. Like GBBO, this show features amateur bakers. Unlike GBBO, the contestants are mostly terrible at their challenge, which is often replicating sweet things like a unicorn cake, a cake of Trump, and an upside-down Santa Clause in a chimney design. (Seriously, things get pretty bad.) The best part about Nailed It! is real-life angel Nicole Byer, who has the most fabulous outfits, the best flirting game in town, and naturally compliments her co-host and co-judge, chocolatier Jacques Torres.
Note: Nailed It! Holiday, the Queer Eye bonus episode, and Nailed It! Mexico are equally entertaining.
The “OMG I need to be BFFs with the host” show: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
The opening minutes of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat’s first episode (“Fat”) feature chef and food writer Samin Nosrat sampling different kinds of gelato as her voice tells you something about how Italians are masters at making food taste incredible with the use of fat. If you gasped because that, too, is the face you make when you eat gelato, congrats, you’ve found your dream BFF and host of four magical episodes of a show that will teach you everything there is to know about focaccia, soy sauce, sour oranges, and her mother’s famous crispy rice. FYI: Samin makes the same face when she eats parmesan that’s been aged 40 months as she confirms that you really can’t get better than a diet of butter and cheese. IT ME 1000 percent.
If Chef’s Table and Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat made a baby: Cooked
You can thank documentary film director Alex Gibney (perhaps best known for Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief) for the meticulously shot food porn of Cooked, based on celebrated food writer Michael Pollan’s book of the same name. Through four episodes, Pollan looks at how fire, water, air, and earth influence the way we cook.
The award-winning series that makes you feel smarter and worldly without leaving your couch: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Anthony Bourdain’s recipe for Parts Unknown was usually as follows: travel to a unique, perhaps overlooked part of the world, find locals with extraordinary stories, eat good food. Through 12 seasons, the late Bourdain taught viewers how to truly see the world while offering his poetic reflections.
The show that makes you crave Momofuku and start a debate: Ugly Delicious
With guests like the late Jonathan Gold, actor Steven Yeun, and Sean Brock, one of the leading figures of the great hot chicken renaissance, Ugly Delicious tackles headfirst some of the most uncomfortable topics found at the intersection of food and culture. Why is Viet-Cajun crawfish only popular in some parts of the South? Is MSG really bad for you? (No.) Is Italian stuffed pasta better than Asian dumplings? Let David Chang, founder of the Momofuku empire, guide your way.
The docu-series that makes you question EVERYTHING: Rotten
Do you actually know where your garlic comes from and who the journey actually impacts? What about your milk? Or your chicken and fish? Food corruption never looked so good.
If you take comfort in watching someone else eat: Ainsley Eats the Streets
Ainsley Harriott, a chef who used to be a pop star in the duo, the Calypso Twins, is the delightful host of this show that puts the spotlight on the street food around the world (think hawker centers in Malaysia and the grill masters of Osaka). The best part about each episode isn’t how hungry you get after just a few minutes, it’s when Ainsley takes to the kitchen himself to whip up a local dish he’s just fallen in love with.
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