As much as aspiring chef Mao of anime series “True Cooking Master Boy” and grill-cooking boxer George Foreman used to impart culinary wisdom to many millennials via cable TV, Netflix is doing the same today with more options to offer. The streaming content platform’s role might be more felt with the quarantine still in place and more people back to spending most of their time at home.
Last year, at the start of the still-ongoing lockdown, we listed 25 Smell-O-Vision-worthy Netflix food shows mostly inclined toward reality TV and documentaries. This time, we’re putting together F&B-based Netflix series and films that will not only entertain but also clue people in on the inner workings of any food business.
Director and writer: Jon Favreau
Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) quits his head chef post at a restaurant after publicly confronting a food critic. This happens just when he is hitting an artistic dip in his career. His next plan: To fix up an old truck where he could finally serve all the dishes of his heart’s desires.
Genre: Comedy, drama
Director: John Wells
Writers: Steven Knight (screenplay), Michael Kalesniko (story)
At the center of this second movie about rebuilding a chipped culinary career is Adam Jones, a two-star Michelin chef seeking to rise from his bad behavior-riddled past. Helping him nab that third star in London are his former maître d’ (Daniel Brühl) and new staff (Sienna Miller, Omar Sy).
“Food Wars” (2015)
Genre: Anime, comedy, drama, fantasy
Soma is bent on saving his father’s small eatery as the latter leaves for another job. Lucky for the family, Soma has a natural aptitude for cooking—so he enrolls at the top-rated Totsuki Culinary Academy to further sharpen his skills.
“The Founder” (2016)
Director: John Lee Hancock
Writer: Robert Siegel
“Ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness” have become the traits most associated with Ray Kroc, the American salesman responsible for expanding the San Bernardino, California-built restaurant McDonald’s after purchasing it in 1961. Michael Keaton portrays the lead role in this biography.
“Midnight Diner” (2009-2014, 3 seasons)
Director: Joji Matsuoka
Based on Yarō Abe’s manga, the series watches drama unfold among customers frequenting a shinya shokudo (late-night eatery) in Japan. Amid these overlapping storylines is Master (Kaoru Kobayashi), the man in the kitchen who finds himself helping his sukis and their personal troubles.
“Izakaya Bottakuri” (2018)
Director: Kuma Shinji
Writers: Kuma Shinji, Aso Kumiko
Similar to the previous anthology, this one-season series stars two sisters (Moemi Katayama and Sara Takatsuki) inheriting their parents’ quaint bar in downtown Tokyo. If not their signature food and sake, they serve patrons with much-needed life lessons.
“Wok of Love” (2018)
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Directors: Park Seon-ho, Ham Joon-Ho
Writer: Seo Sook-Hyang
In this K-drama, hotel restaurant chef Seo Poong (Lee Jun-ho of K-pop group 2PM) finds himself heartbroken after his fiancée (Cha Joo-young) cheats on him with his boss, the hotel CEO (Kim Sa-kwon). Bitter and vengeful, Seo Poong takes to the neglected Chinese restaurant across the street and gives it a major makeover in an effort to eclipse his former employer.
Director and writer: Prentice Penny
Elijah (Mamoudou Athie) is expected to take over the family barbecue business in Memphis, Texas but opts to chase his sommelier dreams instead. His decision soon causes conflict between him and his disapproving father (Courtney B. Vance).
Creators: Marvin Lemus, Linda Yvette Chávez
The Netflix series revolves around Mexican-American cousins (J.J. Soria, Karrie Martin, and Carlos Santos) working together to keep their grandfather’s taco shop amid the threat of gentrification to their heritage and community. It’s based on a digital series released in 2017, tackling the same themes of bi-cultural identities.
“Cooking with Paris” (2021)
Genre: Reality TV
Creator: Paris Hilton
Admittedly a sore thumb on this list, everyone might as well agree that wherever reality TV star Paris Hilton goes, there’s “drama.” Released in July this year, the socialite-hotel heiress, who had revealed her real, counter-dumb blonde persona last year, slips back into Barbie glamor for a star-studded show on her Netflix-exclusive kitchen misadventures. Hilton’s mom Kathy and celebrity friends Kim Kardashian-West, Demi Lovato, and Saweetie among others make hilarious appearances.