Gravity-defying dessert, $195 macncheese and Beyoncs guacamole: the tastiest food TV


Theres plenty to satisfy your food-based telly cravings in the week between Great British Bake Off episodes. Heres our pick …

Anthony Bourdain

While everyone was busy being distracted by all the prestige drama, streaming services have quietly built up a giant stockpile of food shows. With CNNs Anthony Bourdain documentary not out for at least another year, and the next episode of the Great British Bake Off almost a whole week away, heres a list of all the food shows you should be watching instead.

Light bites

Somebody Feed Phil Netflix
Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal isnt a travel expert or a food expert. However, he has a food-based travelogue on Netflix, which is probably down to his general enthusiam for both. Over the course of 10 episodes, he travels the world, from Copenhagen to Ho Chi Minh City, sampling the food and saying Wow a lot. This is as undemanding as food shows get, and that is saying something.

Worth It Amazon Prime
Buzzfeeds Steven Lim, Andrew Ilnyckyj and Adam Bianchi eat differently priced versions of the same meal. Is a $3 macncheese as good as one that costs $195? Is a $1,000 wine as good as cheap plonk? How much should you spend on bacon? Sushi? Cake? Pasta? Pizza? It is all covered during four seasons on Amazon. It is cheaply made, but fun.

Main course

Ugly Delicious Netflix
David Chang has inserted himself as Netflixs official food ambassador and Ugly Delicious is the centrepiece of his empire. Every episode, Chang and his friends go deep on a different type of junk food, exploring issues such as the links between fried chicken and racism or the USs bastardisation of fried rice. Ugly Delicious can get a little up itself at times, but the pizza episode where Chang nearly gets into a fistfight with an artisanal chef for declaring his love for Dominos makes great TV.

Ugly Delicious. Photograph: Netflix/PR Company Handout

Eat the World With Emeril Lagasse Amazon
Yes, another food travelogue. But what separates Eat the World from something like Somebody Feed Phil is Emeril Lagasses wealth of access. He meets acclaimed Korean nuns and gets a rare look at Albert Adris Enigma. Watch the Shanghai soup dumpling episode first, just for the giddy schoolboy glee on show.

Zumbos Just Desserts Netflix
A sort of Australian Bake Off, Zumbos Just Desserts tasks contestants with making a new sweet treat per episode a foot-high pudding, a gravity-defying dessert, something called a Franken-dessert and it is just as fluffy and fun as you would expect. Plus, Rachel Khoo is in it so thats what she has been up to lately.

Rachel Khoo (second left) on Zumbos Just Desserts.

Cordon bleu

Chefs Table Netflix
Netflix food shows are easy to spot, because they are the ones that treat food with a hysterical awestruck reverence that borders on religious. Chefs Table is the epicentre of this approach. Each episode meets a new chef from around the world and basically lies prostrate before them while classical music plays in the background. Some of the episodes are great Christina Tosis is a standout but any more than three in a row and you will want to gorge on a Big Mac out of spite.

The Mind of a Chef Netflix
PBSs The Mind of a Chef is slightly more playful than Chefs Table the chefs tend to get an entire series to themselves, so they are free to wander off down knotty little cul-de-sacs but it is still relatively polite. April Bloomfield, the star of series two, is an absolute delight. In a world of celebrity chefs, her palpable awkwardness in front of camera is refreshing.

Cooked Netflix
Episodes are titled Fire, Water, Air and Earth, which might suggest that Cooked is unbearably pretentious. And, to be fair, it is. It is food writer Michael Pollan exploring the evolution of our relationship with food in all manner of hifalutin ways. However, it is also an absolute work of art to look at. The Air episode, all about bread, is like visual ASMR.

Cooked. Photograph: Phil Bray/Netflix


Chef Tips Amazon
Amazon Prime is brilliant for very shortform cookery programmes. Chef Tips takes one dish sometimes even one technique and gets a great chef to demonstrate it in roughly a minute. So, for instance, Bruce Kalman will teach you how to peel and chop garlic. Or Jamie Bissonnette will teach you how to fillet a fish. Or Kris Morningstar will show you how to make bechamel. Public service broadcasting, brought to you by Playboy Studios.

Celebrity Snackdown Amazon
Two celebrities, two recipes. An unseen chef cooks them both and members of the public decide which is best. Are Jamie Olivers scrambled eggs better than Gordon Ramsays? Does Beyonc make better guacamole than Eva Longoria? Who is better at waffles: Rachel Ray or Jackie Kennedy? This isnt very scientific or even very clever but it passes the time.

Celebrity Snackdown Barack Obama v Tyler Florence. Photograph: Amazon Prime Video

Midnight takeaway

Last Call Food Brawl Netflix
Despite its culinary loftiness, Netflix isnt above indulging in the sort of dirty gluttony that made Man v Food such a success. Last Call Food Brawl has a loud host, aggressive music and tons of hipsters shouting at pork. This is either your sort of show or it isnt.

The Pizza Show Now TV
Vicelands The Pizza Show goes absurdly deep on a single dish. Frank Pinello travels the world in a quest for the perfect pizza. In one episode, he tries the high-end pizza of Spago in Los Angeles; and in another he goes to Naples and gets repeatedly reminded all of the citys purist pizza rules. Catch it now before the acid reflux catches up with him.

Fuck, Thats Delicious Now TV
One of my favourites. The host, Action Bronson, used to be a chef, and he now travels a lot for his day job as a rapper, so this show instantly feels more authentic than Somebody Feed Phil, and less stuffy than Chefs Table. It is part cookery, part documentary and part weird state-of-the-world poetry. If anyone in the world will replace Anthony Bourdain, it will be Bronson.

Second helpings

Rick Steins Seafood Odyssey iPlayer
Shows dont tend to stick around on iPlayer for more than a month. However, some of its classic food shows are now permanent fixtures. This 1999 series, where Rick Stein developed his skill for going to new countries and complaining that Britain isnt more like them, is one of them. It is probably Steins best.

Rick Steins Seafood Odyssey. Photograph: BBC

Floyd on France (iPlayer)
Over the years, Keith Floyd developed a reputation for being drunk and uncooperative. But in this 1987 series, hes on fine form; curious and observant, regaling viewers with all manner of charmingly rambling anecdotes. Food is almost an afterthought, which is possibly for the best, since a lot of it looks grey and boiled. The series, however, is tremendous.

Fanny Cradock Cooks For Christmas iPlayer
A 1975 series that feels as if it has been beamed in from a different universe. Cradock is in her prime, covered in massive brooches and with eyebrows painted halfway up her forehead. She shouts at her audience as if she can barely stand to be in the same room. Nothing looks appetising and it is all very stressful. We have come so far since Cradocks day, but have lost so much.


Nailed It! Netflix
Nailed It! doesnt bill itself as the anti-Bake Off, but that is what it is. Contestants try to replicate cake recipes they have found on the internet and almost always bodge them beyond all recognition. It is a brilliant premise, let down only by airless, edited-to-death American presentation.

Nailed It. Photograph: Netflix

Kantaro the Sweet-Toothed Salaryman Netflix
This takes some explaining. Kantaro is a Japanese drama about a man with a near-sexual fetish for puddings. Every day, he sneaks out from work, samples a new Japanese dessert, explains what makes it unique, eats it and has what appears to be an orgasm that brings about hallucinations. It is brilliant and stupid in equal measure, although the episode about Kantaros mum probably crosses the line of decency.

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