From Table to Screen: ‘Chef’s Table’ pays homage to chefs around the world

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Combining aspects of travel, art and the heightened culinary experience, all five seasons of “Chef’s Table” are now out on Netflix, with the sixth season coming out this Friday. (screenshot/The Daily Campus)

Combining aspects of travel, art and the heightened culinary experience, all five seasons of “Chef’s Table” are now out on Netflix, with the sixth season coming out this Friday. (screenshot/The Daily Campus)

The growing trend of food shows centered around high-stakes competition offers an adrenaline rush and entertainment to the typical viewer, but the long-running Netflix Original series “Chef’s Table” offers an artistic and cinematographic behind-the-scenes look at some of the most sought-after dining experiences with the most qualified chefs around the world. Not only does the docu-series draw attention to the particular chef that serves as each episode’s focus, but it also highlights the surrounding culture and geographic area that has influenced their work. Combining aspects of travel, art and the heightened culinary experience, all five seasons of “Chef’s Table” are now out on Netflix, with the sixth season coming out this Friday.

For the ordinary diner, the restaurants featured on the show are not a casual destination, and so much of the appeal of the show lies in replicating an experience in the comfort of your own home. The series appreciates the craft, creativity and intimate process that a chef undergoes to reach their level of acclaim. By exploring each chef’s personal style, life stories and inspiration, “Chef’s Table” goes further than your average cooking show, as the features add depth and color to make for a well-rounded episode. With season five focusing only on pastries, you know that the series is the real deal when it comes to valuing the art of food and cooking.

With four to six episodes per season and each episode focusing on a specific chef, you can get a true feel for the thought and unique memories that have gone into each chef’s work. Sometimes, the cuisine featured is too lavish for my palate, yet “Chef’s Table” creates an atmosphere in which even I, the less-than-sophisticated diner, can admire the simple art of assembling food. Personally, my guilty pleasure is to see and learn more about extravagant and decadent experiences I may never get to enjoy, so “Chef’s Table” certainly satisfied that for me. At least, the show gives me something to aim for on the off-chance I somehow become rich.

These chefs break boundaries and may put people out of their comfort zones, such as Massimo Botura’s dishes that feature eels and snails, yet, seeing the work that goes into them make me almost willing to try them for myself. I expect nothing less from chefs awarded Michelin stars, but considering my love for sentimental culinary movies like “The Hundred-Foot Journey” and another Netflix food docu-series, “Salt Fat Acid Heat,” it makes sense that I would be drawn to the premise of “Chef’s Table.”

From my time watching “Chef’s Table,” I am reminded of Buzzfeed’s food series “Worth It,” in which the hosts try a certain dish at three different price points and determine which is worth it at its cost. However, besides trying the food, Steven Lim and Andrew Ilnyckyj interview the chefs behind the dishes and cull from their experiences to get a well-rounded look at what they will be trying. We all know that food brings to mind memories, and the feeling behind food is just as important as the taste. Basically, “Worth It” reminds me of a lower-scale “Chef’s Table,” but the sentiment that each focuses on is the same. Clearly there is a trend in the aspects of the shows that I appreciate, because the artist is just as important as the product, and that is what I enjoy so much about both shows.

You can feel the emotion that emanates from the screen as a chef takes pride in their work, and it inspires me, to say the least. Maybe not to specifically cook, but to also take part in an artistic pursuit. And also to eat. Make sure you have something to munch on, because you’ll probably get hungry after an hour of watching something that focuses on food. You really gain an appreciation of desserts and pastries after you’ve watched a whole season on them. So get ready to add some more places to your foodie bucket list, because after you watch “Chef’s Table,” you’re going to want to have your own taste of these chef’s creations.

Rating: 4.5/5


Hollie Lao is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at hollianne.lao@uconn.edu.

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