The Best Food Shows to Binge Watch

Words: Robyn Samuels

If you’re a foodie looking to expand your knowledge through TV food shows, here are a couple of gems for your playlist. From travel and food explorations to cooking competitions and insightful docuseries’, these are some of the best cooking shows to binge-watch.

Taco Chronicles

Indulge in the rich tapestry of Mexican culture and cuisine with Taco Chronicles. This mouthwatering docuseries takes viewers on a taste journey across Mexico, uncovering the diverse origins, regional variations and traditional recipes of this iconic dish.

The third volume, Cross the Border, dives into the taco culture in eight USA cities. Taco Chronicles is a must-watch!

Each episode delves into the heart and soul of taco culture, from bustling street vendors to family-run taquerías, celebrating the artistry and passion experienced in each bite.

Takeaway: if you think you know everything about tacos, think again.

School of Chocolate

Under the tutelage of renowned pastry chef, Amaury Guichon, contestants hone their skills in a series of challenging tasks, designed to push the boundaries of chocolate artistry.

Chocoholics will love School of Chocolate, a show where aspiring chocolatiers vie for the title of Master Confectioner.

Competitors craft masterful creations that showcase both technical precision and creative flair. From elegant sculptures to decadent desserts, School of Chocolate is a mesmerising exploration of one of the world’s most beloved treats.

Takeaway: crafting chocolate takes some serious skill. Warning: expect major chocolate cravings after watching this show.

Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones

Unlock the secrets to longevity and vitality with Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones. This captivating documentary series explores the lifestyles and dietary habits of the world’s longest-lived populations. From the sun-kissed shores of Sardinia to the lush valleys of Okinawa, each episode immerses viewers in the unique cultures and time-honoured traditions of these extraordinary communities.

This captivating documentary series explores the lifestyles and dietary habits of the world’s longest-lived populations.

With insights from experts in health, nutrition, and anthropology, the show reveals the common threads that contribute to longevity, offering practical tips and inspiration for viewers to adopt healthier habits and live life to the fullest.

Takeaway: knowledge is food for the soul.

Down to Earth with Zac Efron

Actor and adventurer, Zac Efron, embarks on a globe-trotting quest for sustainable living and holistic wellness. In this captivating travel series, Efron and wellness expert, Darin Olien, explore diverse cultures and communities around the world, uncovering innovative approaches to health, fitness and environmental sustainability.

Learn about food and local traditions and practices.

From the serene landscapes of Iceland to the bustling streets of Lima, each episode offers a fascinating blend of adventure, education, and inspiration as they learn about food and local traditions and practices.

Takeaway: explore the globe, connect with people and try to live sustainably.

I’ll Bring the Wine with Nederburg

Nederburg’s I’ll Bring the Wine, takes viewers on a journey of ‘South Africa’s cultures, people and tastes’ while reimagining local favourites. Legendary South African chef, food writer and restaurateur, Karen Dudley, hosts the show. Her spellbinding narration and effortless charm immediately draw you in; the ease of conversation and diverse range of topics explored by featured experts make this a riveting watch.

A journey of ‘South Africa’s cultures, people and tastes’.

The five-part YouTube series features some of the nation’s culinary pioneers, including acclaimed chef of Emazulwini Restaurant, Mmabatho Molefe, and molecular biologist/Afro ice cream extraordinaire, Tapiwa Guzha.

Takeaway: get to know local culinary pioneers.

Make one of these Nederburg wine-paired recipes before tucking into this show. 

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown will forever remain a gem. The documentary food and travel series provides a lens into diverse communities that are worlds apart. Bourdain’s love for travel and natural ability to connect with people over a couple of beers and candid conversations at hole-in-the-wall restaurants, gives rare human insight.

Each episode makes you fall in love with Bourdain’s wide-eyed curiosity and authenticity.

With his crass humour, curiosity and empathy, this series makes us challenge preconceived notions about cultures, people and food.

Takeaway: the late chef taught us many invaluable lessons about food and politics, and for that, we are ever grateful!


Cooked delves deep into the world of food and culture. Based on the book ‘Cooked’ by Michael Pollan, the show explores the four elements involved in cooking: fire, water, air, and earth. The four-part series provides unique insights into how different cultures and communities utilise these elements to create cuisines, while touching on culinary gender roles and how our relationship with food has evolved from our origins until today.

From the tradition of barbecue in the American South to the importance of fire in Australian Aboriginal communities, the thought-provoking series reminds us that food is at the heart of communion.

Takeaway: great insight into the history of food and the core elements involved.

Pressure Cooker

Home cooks and food show fans who have ever wondered ‘what would I have made’ will love Pressure Cooker. The cooking competition involves a series of challenges among eleven private and restaurant chefs placed under one roof. The plot twist –there are no judges; the chefs have to eliminate contestants among themselves.

Chefs are naturally competitive, and with rules thrown out the window, power dynamics and strategy come into play.

Think ‘Come Dine With Me’ meshed with ‘My Kitchen Rules’, but at pro-level.

Takeaway: as creative as food can be, you have to taste the love too.


best food shows

For those who prefer series over books, Salt Fat Acid Heat should be at the top of your list. Cook, teacher and author, Samin Nosrat, explores the four basic elements required in cooking: salt, fat, acid and heat. She explains how each element uniquely transforms the composition/texture and enhances the flavour of various foods. This docuseries has four episodes dedicated to each element and is explored in four different countries – Japan, Italy, Mexico, and the United States (California).

Nosrat steps into homes, villages, restaurants and factories to discover the best-kept secrets of each element.

Apart from the sheer brilliance of this docuseries, her gentle yet conversational approach to teaching, learning and cooking makes this food show captivating and wholesome.

Takeaway: super informative for budding chefs.


food shows

For many in the Western world, Chinese cuisine is limited to chow mein, fried rice and wontons, but it’s actually incredibly diverse and differs provincially. Flavourful Origins is a beautiful docuseries that shines the spotlight on regional produce and traditional Chinese cooking methods in the Yunnan and Guangdong province.

This docuseries may not be on your radar, but it’s definitely worth watching if you appreciate Chinese and Asian cuisine – not to mention, the cinematography is stunning!

It’s highly informative and the perfect choice if you’re not into lengthy series (each episode is less than fourteen minutes). To better grasp the authenticity of this docuseries, we suggest you watch it in the original audio, Mandarin, with English subtitles.

Takeaway: food is prepared for sustenance, not convenience.


best food shows

Let’s face it, as foodies, we have a bit of a tendency to be snobs. In this docuseries, author and founder of Momofuku restaurant, David Chang, tucks into what he calls ‘Ugly Delicious’ food. He visits restaurants and countries, and redefines the food that we love and know.

The beauty of food is that there are no boundaries to what’s considered ‘delicious’.

This food show also explores the political side of food in a conversational way, as the host invites celebrities from the entertainment industry to talk and explore all things ‘ugly delicious’ in modest settings.

Takeaway: the best spots are always hidden gems.


chef's table Netflix show

Chef’s Table is everything you want out of a cooking show – it’s educational, personal and touching. You get to find out what goes through the minds of some of the most famed chefs across the world. The up-close-and-personal nature of Chef’s Table oftentimes makes you believe you’re having a private conversation with the chefs at the very same table.

The chefs talk about their personal journeys in their respective careers, their relationship with food, and what inspires them to cook.

The directing and videography beautifully captures the essence of each chef and their love for cooking. Simply a must-see.

Takeaway: a visual feast, plus, you get to know the best in the biz.


best food shows

The title of this food show is the perfect synopsis. High on the Hog takes an in-depth look at the backbone of American food culture – African American cuisine. Food writer, Stephen Satterfield, traces the roots of some of the most popularised American dishes to African countries. He unearths the origins of fresh produce like yams, rice and okra brought from Benin to North America during the transatlantic slave trade.

Based on the award-winning book, High on the Hog by Dr Jessica B. Harris, this Netflix show is a must-watch!

Apart from the educational aspect, it’s more than just a food show. High on the Hog examines the relationship between food and people in the African diaspora.

Takeaway: makes you think about the gentrification of food, the cultural impacts and the ingenuity of African people.


best food shows

If you’ve ever been curious about the source of fresh produce and ingredients we consume, this show is worth indulging. Rotten is a highly educational, true crime docuseries that exposes the rotten apples in the global food trade industry.

It investigates and magnifies the corruption, illegal trade and inhumanity involved in farming and food production.

Warning, this food show is likely to induce some mild ethical overwhelm! While it’s not meant to scare you, it is meant to educate you and being armed with information can help you make better decisions. Thinking about what and how you consume and who is affected by it is sobering.

Takeaway: will make you question what you eat and where it came from.


best food shows

In this riveting food show, famed local Michelin-starred chef, Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, invites you into his culinary world. He takes viewers behind the scenes at his favourite spots, often set in the picturesque countryside of the south of France, along the coast of Italy and beyond. With captivating videography, this series meshes a bit of travel with some of Jan’s favourite places and people that he draws inspiration from.

Jan’s authenticity is his gift. His natural charm makes it feel as though you are right there, travelling along with him; just two buddies discovering a culinary landscape together.

Exquisitely shot and edited, this local Showmax production is well worth the watch. Season 3 brings things back to home soil and you learn more about his local projects.

Takeaway: besides Jan being completely dreamy to watch? It’s super inspirational and will encourage you to aspire big!

Check out our favourite food scenes in cinema.

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