10 Food Movies and Shows to Stream on Netflix Right Now
Someday, spring will come, and we can all leave the house again. Until then, here are 10 things to watch to eat up your time. Admittedly, this batch is mostly docs, but if you’ve got a craving for features, our previous lists have got you covered.
(Also, Babette’s Feast is still not on Netflix. I know. I’m sorry.)
1. Woman on Top
Penelope Cruz plays Isabella, a renowned Brazilian chef who needs to be in control at all times, on account of her severe motion sickness. When she finds her husband (Murilo Benicio) in bed with another woman, Isabella flees to San Francisco, where she makes it big as the host of a nightly cooking show, “Passion Food.” It’s quirky, it’s charming, it’s formulaic, and while it’s definitely not a masterpiece, Penelope Cruz is a delight.
2. Sweet Bean
This 2015 Japanese film about a lonely baker who hires a 76-year-old woman to be his assistant is slow and achingly sincere, with stellar performances from Kirin Kiki and Masatoshi Nagase. Plus, as the Christian Science Monitor points out, it may be the only movie that “provides what amounts to a tutorial in how to make the perfect dorayaki.” (They look incredible.)
I did not think I had any particular interest in saké, but I was wrong. Erik Shirai’s documentary follows a season at the family owned Yoshida Brewery, which has been making artisanal saké for more than 140 years. But while the (gorgeously shot) movie is “about” saké, at least as much is about about a fading way of life.
4. Eat with Me
An appealing indie flick that flew mostly under the radar when it was released in 2014, the feel-good romantic dramedy from writer/director David Au is about a mother, a son, and the power of food. Elliot (Teddy Chen Culver) is a chef whose Chinese restaurant is failing; his mother, Emma, comes to live with him after her marriage falls apart. Food is the bridge between them. Also, George Takei is in it.
Based on Michael Pollan’s 2013 book of the same name, Cooked is a fascinating history lesson not just about what we eat, but about how we live. Delivered in four, one-hour installments — Fire, Earth, Air, and Water — the show explores everything from baking bread to the art of fermentation.
6. Three Stars
Director Lutz Hachmeister interviewed nine culinary luminaries (some more famous than others) for this sprawling doc, which examines the art and business of haute cuisine through the lens of the Michelin star system. The AV Club argued the film “works best as straight-up food-porn,” and frankly, we don’t disagree.
Aziz Ansari’s highly binge-able series is about love and family and identity and all that, but also, it’s about eating — the show features so many bars and restaurants and home-cooked meals that Eater named it “the best television program about food in recent memory.” The show also doubles as an intoxicating tour of New York restaurants.
With his followup to A Year in Burgundy (no longer streaming), filmmaker David Kennard turns his attention to a different region: Champagne. Leading us through six different Champagne houses, from the small and family run up through Bollinger, Kennard explores the many nuances of what may be the world’s most festive beverage.
This Swedish-Dutch documentary investigates the bizarre and intriguing phenomenon of high-end food bloggers. As a motley crew waxes rhapsodic (and sometimes less so) about their personal food philosophies, we’re treated to a visual feast of eating experiences, from the undeniably exquisite to the patently absurd.
10. For Grace
After years working his way up in Chicago’s top restaurants, chef Chris Duffy — unflappable, meticulous, and brilliant— strikes out on his own to open his new venture, Grace. But as the documentary progresses, Duffy reveals more of himself, delving into a gut-wrenching trauma from his childhood and his fraught adult relationships, and it becomes a moving character study that’s about so much more than food.
Did we miss anything? What are you streaming on Netflix this winter?