I cannot think of another TV show with more beautiful visuals than Netflix’s Chef’s Table. Masterminded by Jiro Dreams Of Sushi director David Gelb, Chef’s Table covers artsy silhouettes of the world’s notorious gastronomic artists.
The concept behind Chef’s Table
Since its inception in 2015, Chef’s Table has changed food television. The show has transformed the genre from food porn to food romance as it takes the viewers on an intimate touching journey. Not to mention the quality of the cinematography. The cameras move and spin, grasping every viewpoint of a dish. Every aspect from freshly cut vegetables to plating setup is extremely close-up.
Chef’s Table is offering viewers the opportunity to enter the lives and kitchens of some of the most known culinary talents. The show is story-driven, aiming to show the people behind the plates. Every narrative goes deep into the chef’s early years to discover their influence on the dishes. The way sadness or breakups can create beautiful music, so the battles of a young and a creative chef can revolutionise gastronomy.
It’s a different kind of cooking show
What makes Chef’s Table different from other cooking show is the context. “I like to say that it’s food romance,” Gelb says. “There’s emotional context between the chefs and the food, between the audience and the food. It’s different than showing a bunch of close-up shots of a delicious piece of chicken. We want you to know how much the chef toiled away at that chicken and what it meant to them.”
I like to say that it’s food romance
In its first two seasons — plus a French-language offshoot, Chef’s Table: France — the Netflix series has presented famous and award-winning chefs such as Gaggan Anand, Grant Achatz, Magnus Nilsson and Massimo Bottura. Each of them, Gelb says, is deserving of their own feature film. “We want to give a portrait [of these chefs] and take the audience on a journey of their lives to answer the question about not what they cook, but why they do it.”
Each episode delivers exciting, provocative content at an impressive level of cinematic excellence. Here are my favourite episodes:
My favourite Chef’s Table episodes: Season One
Massimo Bottura with Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy
“Every time I open a cheese like this, I get emotional. In my blood, there’s balsamic vinegar. My muscles are made by Parmigiano.” Meet Massimo Bottura.
Francis Mallmann with El Restaurante Patagonia Sur in Buenos Aires, Argentina
“I use cooking to send this message about a way of living,” says Mallman, the off-the-grid chef from Patagonia. “I’m always cooking in these remote places with wild fires. So my message is get off your office chair or your sofa and go out.”
My favourite Chef’s Table episodes: Season Two
Grant Achatz with Alinea in Chicago, United States
“I want guests to expect the unexpected. We start with a fantastic product and twist it along the way. It is a kind of a mind game,” Achatz says as he deconstructs a tomato and turns it into a strawberry.
My favourite Chef’s Table episodes: Season Three
Virgilio Martinez with Central in Lima, Peru
“Since I came up with the idea of the altitude menu, we’ve been discovering these new things. And after four years, I realise that we know nothing — we know a little, that’s it. I’m still learning a lot. This is a work in progress. This is just the beginning.”
For foodies, this series is a delight. For everyone else, it is a mesmerising, exploration of how these chefs cook.
The only shortcoming to binge watch an entire season in one day is that you will be hungry. You’ll be left craving to experience at least one in your lifetime a tasting menu from one of these chefs.