Over the past year, we have all learnt new skills and rediscovered old hobbies; and while some found a creative outlet in cooking, others found it much more soothing watching others cook from the comfort of their couch. These days, food programming has ballooned beyond instructional cooking videos to offer every form of escapism and endless entertainment: from travelogues to documentaries and everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure, reality cooking competitions.
As it turns out, after a long day at the stove, even top chefs enjoy unwinding with some high-definition culinary close-ups or a good old-fashioned kitchen showdown. If you are looking to add to your watchlist, take inspiration from our chefs’ favourite food shows below; after all, a weekend curled up on the couch with pizza delivery, fuzzy socks on your feet, and your favourite food show on streaming is never a bad idea.
Chef Palash Mitra, New Punjab Club
I really like Flavourful Origins: it gives an insight into the how and what of things. As someone who enjoys the journey as much as the destination, this show feeds my curious and inquiring nature. Salt Fat Acid Heat is another must-watch show—just real honest-to-goodness cooking with no fuss. Other favourites include: Food Wars!, Street Food Asia, and MasterChef India.
Chef Patricia Yeo, Head of Culinary
I have to confess watching competitive food shows like Top Chef and Iron Chef stresses me out, which is a little ironic. But I love watching movies about food such as: Eat, Drink, Man, Woman; Babette’s Feast; Tampopo; and any documentaries about food, food ways and food culture.
Chef Luca Marinelli, Osteria Marzia
I am hooked on MasterChef Italia. I worked with the chef that is now one of the three judges on the programme, so it is pretty fun to watch him on television now. When I knew him, it was 2003-2005 and we were working together at a two-MICHELIN-starred restaurant, so he was a little more serious than he is now, cracking jokes on TV!
Chef Josef Gallenberger, Buenos Aires Polo Club
It’s not a show, but I like to listen to the podcasts and watch the videos on Rolling Pin Black Book, a German magazine and media company for the hotel and catering industry. They produce a lot of inspirational content, cooking videos, and podcast interviews with some of the leading figures in the industry.
Tony Ferreira, Operations
Yan Can Cook. Martin Yan is such an iconic figure as one of the first Chinese-American hosts of a cooking show, I used to watch him all the time growing up and his energy and curiosity is still inspiring to this day. He’s also endlessly entertaining—who else can butcher a chicken in 8 seconds flat? Also Salt Fat Acid Heat; by far, one of the best food shows in recent years to explore the fundamentals of cooking in a light-hearted and completely fresh way.
Chef Joshua Stumbaugh, Associazione Chianti
I would highly recommend Chef’s Table: BBQ. It provides a lot of insight into the traditions surrounding American barbecue, which as a cooking style is not seen as very glamourous but takes endless dedication to perfect. Every day presents a new challenge dealing with the weather conditions, from wind to the humidity levels. These pitmasters have mastered the art of primal cooking with live fire and time.
Chef Kumaran Balaji, Rajasthan Rifles
My all-time favourite shows are How To Cook Like Heston and Best Ever Food Review Show on YouTube. Watching Heston makes you feel and understand that cooking is not just the mixing of ingredients, it’s an art form and as a chef we need to understand the science behind the cooking. This show inspires me to search for perfection. The Best Ever Food Review Show is a lot of fun but also informative, taking you on a journey around the world exploring and learning about new cuisines. I’m also re-watching episodes of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown!
Chef Billy Otis, Taqueria Super Macho
I really like the Chef’s Table series on Netflix and a number of their other documentaries about food and food history. Lately I’ve been watching Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy on CNN. It’s a cool little mini-series that looks at the different regions of Italy and how food has been instrumental in telling a story and defining the culture in that particular area.
Need a break from the screen? Curl up on the couch instead with our chefs’ favourite cookbooks here.
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