After ten season of the brilliant Masterchef Australia, one failed season of Masterchef SA, and five confusing minutes of Masterchef UK, one can easily feel like you’re a bit – excuse the pun – fed up with the cooking show scene. And then we’re not even getting into the Come Dine With Me and Kokkedoor situation! However, recently I was delighted to discover a cornucopia of cooking shows on Netflix.
The food series scene on Netflix is changing the game, practically offering a show for everyone’s taste – even those who usually hate cooking shows might find something of interest. The list is endless; from the most magical desserts, to the science behind cooking and the chefs that inspire us. No foodie can ever be bored on Netflix.
We’ve been watching Netflix for weeks now to bring you our favourite shows and we’ll keep adding to the list as the year progresses, so be sure to bookmark it for later. We’d also love to hear about your favourites so please pop any recommendations in the comments section down below.
Flair for the bizarre
Arguably the most fun you’ll have while watching people bake, is the over-the-top batshit crazy ensemble that is Nailed It. The entire show is inspired by Pinterest baking fails and therefore celebrates the most delicious of all human errors.
The show, now in its second season, has incredible energy thanks to host Nicole Byer. Her role is not limited to the introductions either. At any given time you’ll see her distracting contestants, dropping a pun or yelling a sassy ‘Nailed It’ across the room.
This show is honestly the comedic cooking mashup that you’ve been waiting for.
There’s no I in Team
Anyone that’s ever worked with me, will tell you that I’m not a fan of teamwork, but in this sugar-rush-to-the-clock it is teamwork that makes the dream work. The premise of Sugar Rush is easy: You and your partner have three hours to complete two baking challenges and any time left over will be used towards your third challenge, which is the baking one of the most spectacular cakes you’ve ever seen.
In the end, it is actually the team dynamics that make this show worth the watch. The teams are made up of business partners, siblings, mother-daughters, husbands and wives, you name it. As the pressure builds, the series manages to keep things light-hearted and fun between these cooks.
Judges for this series include Adriano Zumbo (more about him later) and the lady attributed with starting the worldwide cupcake craze, Candace Nelson. Guest judges also include other celebs like Betsey Johnson, Michael Showalter (from Wet Hot American Summer fame) and other influencers from the food industry.
It’s 4:20 somewhere
The moment you read the summary of this show, you pause… hesitate… and reread. In the end it’s true, Cooked On High is a show about cooking with cannabis.
Before this show appeared on my line-up, I had no idea that weed cuisine was a thing but as many countries across the globe are moving towards legalising the use of cannabis, I guess it was only a matter of time.
Professionals from the weed cuisine industry go up against each other in a cook-off judged by a couple of cannabis enthusiasts. The show boasts its own weed expert, Ngaio Bealum, who personally delivers the stash each episode and elaborates on its origins, flavour profile and more. The show is hosted by popular Youtube vlogger, Josh Leyva.
The chefs are not only judged on the flavour of the dish that they put together, but also on the high the judges get from eating the dish. One-on-one interviews with each judge after the tasting give viewers an exact idea of how effective this cannabis cooking really is.
Watching too many episodes in a row made me feel a bit like arriving sober at a birthday party at 11:30pm in your twenties, but for an episode here and there, the show is quite enjoyable.
For the inspired
For years we’ve stepped into the kitchens of Jamie Oliver, Barefoot Contessa or Nigella Lawson, but with Netflix’ Chef’s Table they took it that one step further.
Through stunning cinematography, insightful interviews and a look inside the realities of some of the biggest chefs on the planets, Netflix achieves a true cinematic experience through the course of a single episode.
Every episode is testament to the chef’s intimate love affair with food; how they creatively rethink our everyday food challenges and go beyond what our untrained palettes are capable of conceptualising. We see the chefs in their hometowns, their family kitchens, we hear about their first job, about what inspires them and what their hopes for the future are.
The show, now in its fourth season or volume, recently added Chef’s Table: Pastry to the stable, which takes a look at chefs who enjoys the sweeter side of things. In my opinion, this show has brought a turning point to the cooking show industry as it swops the thrill of a cook-off for intricate, nostalgic storytelling – a winning recipe!
*Expert tip: Chef’s Table: Pastry episode on Christina Tosi is one of the most inspiring things you’ll see on television this year.
The Willy Wonka down under
Remember Adriano Zumbo I mentioned as judge in the Sugar Rush series? Before he joined that show as resident macaron expert, he released the first season of his own Zumbo’s Just Desserts. Zumbo is a world-renowned pastry chef from Australia famous for his almost impossible dessert challenges on Masterchef Australia.
From the first glimpse of his so-called ‘dessert factory’, this series transports you to a place where desserts are religion and sugar is more essential than water. Contestant in this series are pushed to their dessert-making limits in challenges producing the most beautiful sugary masterpieces. And if you don’t perform as desired, you have to enter a Zumbo Test where you have to recreate an Adriano Zumbo creation. It is the stuff of dreams.
What makes this show so special, is not only Zumbo himself, but the incredibly designed set. It has the look of a factory, with thousands of colours, switches, lights and more. It is exactly what you would imagine Willy Wonka’s kitchen to look like. As with any of these shows, healthy competition abounds and we are treated to contestant politics and competitiveness.
Look out for the episode featuring a floating chocolate hat, a Snow White cake, the mini V8 vanilla cake and more.
What’s your favourite cooking show on Netflix? Pop your recommendations in the comments section below.