If you love food and love people; if you love art and creative expression; if you love biographical documentations and big thinkers; then I definitely think you should check out this series.
Far from the Hell’s Kitchen or Top Chef gimmicks, David Gelb has created a set of stories that not only documents the best chefs in the world, but also enriches the viewer in lessons on passion, success, and expression. Each episode is like a chapter of an up-to-date hall of fame. The one-hour show focuses around one specific chef, with food critics commenting on their work, introspective monologues from the chef as well as their staff and family, beautifully shot sequences of the food and how it’s cooked, and really well chosen soundtracks.
As much as the editing does set a slower sort of pace, it is definitely not boring – it is like a fine dining experience: with pauses for certain sensations to be experienced to their full. Many cooking shows leave me hungry for food. But as much as you do leave Chef’s Table wanting to experience food, you definitely have more of a sense of inspiration, with a broader perspective on what life could be.
The reality is, to be a good chef requires a whole lot of backbreaking work. There is no easy way to the top. So the stories that are told of these amazing people are ones of hardship, frustration, innovation, creativity, and reflection. These episodes are an honest representation of life – which is probably more refreshing than anything else I have watched recently. Every “bell and whistle” is left for the table – the signature dishes of each chef jump out in vibrancy when contrasted with the pristine elegance of the filmography.
My favourite thing about this series is that it explains the big picture long before you see the kitchen. So the moment you actually see the food produced, you have already bought into the philosophy of the chef’s process. And from organically sourcing everything yourself, to preserving local food for the six months when nothing grows in the area; from the icy outdoors fire-pits through to the helium filled sugar balloons, there are definitely enough philosophies and processes that definitely will pique your interests!
If you want something more than surface-level banter, something that may just change the way you view the world, then watch this series! It is probably the closest thing to a coffee table masterpiece that a series could get.
So where can you find it? It’s on Netflix South Africa! Sign up and get the month free. Definitely worth it – even if just for this show!