Still. Season 2, Episode 1: Grant Achatz
Aside from by obsessive love for home makeover shows, I have an odd appreciation for food and cooking series (probably because my talent in the kitchen is lackluster). Inspiring, artful, and addicting, Netflix’s documentary series Chef’s Table is a surprising balance of personal story, talent, history, and taste.
The show offers a sneak peek into the restaurants and lives of some of the world’s most exceptional chefs from around the world. With emphasis on genius and craft, the camera plays on the chef’s personal creativity with intriguing angles and compositions to expose the details of the cuisine and the interiority of the subject.
Still from Season 2, Episode 1: Grant Achatz
In comparison to popular competitive cooking shows on the Food Network, Netflix’s series calls on the tropes of documentary film to reveal more about the life and love of a chef. As Christina Chaey notes in her article for Bon Appetit, Chef’s Table offers renowned chefs a chance to reach a global audience; a path that isn’t dependent on “selling your soul” to a network or relying on a tasteless cookbook deal. Moving in a refreshing direction, Chef’s Table focuses on strong character-driven narratives and design-oriented visuals.
Still from Season 2, Episode 2: Dominique Crenn
Season two begins on a high note with American chef Grant Achatz; a progressive gastronomist whose nontraditional restaurant in Chicago focuses on the art of deception and the beauty of science. In this episode, Achatz opens up about his struggle with tongue cancer and finding himself after losing his sense of taste for a prolonged period of time. In the spirit of piggybacking off of Hugo Munsterberg, I think it’s important to consider how the development of storytelling through film has allowed for new visual possibilities. Experimenting with, and pushing the boundaries of, traditional twenty-first century television genres creates new and meaningful narratives, and I think Netflix’s Chef’s Table does just that.
- By Lydia Geisel