Like many of you, I’ve been trying to find new ways to pass the time, given our current situation. As someone who works in digital, this often involves spending more time in front of my computer (I know no one’s chaining me to my laptop—it’s just the easiest option for entertainment right now).
I’ve been a fan of mukbangs for a couple of years now. Some of my favorites to watch on YouTube are Stephanie Soo, Kim Thai, Keemi, Hyunee, Dorothy, and Zach Choi. But they all have their own upload schedules, and I’ve been looking for food content I could binge-watch and learn from. Here are some of the ones I’ve gotten hooked on.
The Chef Show
The Chef Show, a spin-off of the 2014 film Chef (probably your basis for a beautiful grilled cheese sandwich), stars Jon Favreau and Roy Choi. They have big names in the food and entertainment industry as guests, including the cast members of Avengers.
Why I love it: It’s real. In one episode, Jon convinced Roy to make beignets out of a box because it’s something he does with his daughter often. Well, he forgot to check the date on the box, the beignets turned out stale. Roy took a bite, stayed quiet, chucked it in the trash and then admitted that he was just trying to figure out how to say it sucked without actually saying it. LOL!
My favorite episode: Volume 1, episode 4, Remembering Jonathan Gold. Jonathan Gold was a respected food critic who passed away in 2018. Jon and Roy invited two of Jonathan’s good friends, including Jazz Singsanong, the owner of a famous Thai restaurant in LA called Jitlada. I have a special place in my heart for Thai food, so I had laser focus when she made her Green Curry.
Ugly Delicious is sort of a travelogue starring David Chang, who up until this show, I only really knew from BuzzFeed videos (I really hope I don’t get massacred for this confession). As a chef, food is the main topic of this show, but he also invites a lot of chefs, artists, and writers who help connect it to history and culture.
Why I love it: I’ve always known that food is rich in history, but I never thought I’d enjoy learning about it in such great detail. Each episode is dedicated to one food or concept, and I couldn’t believe how much I learned about Mexico in their episode about tacos.
My favorite episode: Like many mukbang fans, it’s hard for me to look away when they have seafood boil. In Ugly Delicious, season 1, episode 4 features buckets and buckets of shrimp and crawfish! Also, it was the first time I ever heard the term “Viet-Cajun” crawfish, and it was immediately added to my food bucket list.
As the name suggests, this Netflix documentary gives us a glimpse into the personal lives of some of the world’s most renowned chefs.
Why I love it: So, so many reasons—the first being, every episode makes me feel like I’m watching someone who’s willing to go to the ends of the Earth for their craft. It’s difficult for me to be passionate every day, but I’m starting to think it might actually be possible. Plus, the food shots are stunning. Food is art.
My favorite episode: It’s a tie between the very first one featuring Massimo Bottura, because I also have a deep love for parmigiano, and the episode about Ivan Orkin, who describes ramen perfectly: “Ramen isn’t dainty. It’s salty and fatty and explosively flavorful. It’s full of umami. It’s high caloric, and it’s messy. So you’re kind of like, ‘Fuck it, I’m gonna eat ramen.’”
Let me know if you have any recos!
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