We are currently living in the Golden Age of Food Entertainment. Every month, the major streaming services get a handful of new shows and documentaries about chefs, restaurants, and the ways people eat around the world. Here’s a look at what’s new to stream in March:
Samurai Gourmet (Netflix, available March 17)
Fans of Japanese manga will want to tune into Samurai Gourmet. Adapted from actor Masayumi Kasuki’s essay and comic of the same name, this 12-episode series follows a newly retired Kasuki as he “discovers the joys of daytime drinking and the realization that he is now free to eat and drink what he wants, when he wants.” Who can’t relate to that? This gluttonous awakening allows Kasuki to delve into the world of fantasy and reimagine himself as a samurai warrior in the time of Japan’s civil wars.
Food Chains (Hulu, available March 5)
This documentary boasts actor Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser, whose previous work includes Food Inc. and Fast Food Nation, as producers. Farm workers serve as the backbone of America’s food industry. Many deal with awful working conditions, wherein they face physical abuse, sexual harassment, and menial wages. The creators of Food Chains hope their exposé will raise enough awareness to improve the lives of these workers.
Sustainable (Netflix, Now available)
Winner of the 2016 Accolade Global Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Achievement, Sustainable investigates the multitude of environmental and agricultural issues that threaten America’s food supply. At the center of the documentary is seventh-generation farmer Marty Travis, who is fighting the corporate farming industry by leading a sustainable food movement in Chicago.
The Mind of a Chef, Seasons 1-4 (Netflix, Now available)
After ditching the streaming service in 2015, The Mind of a Chef is back on Netflix. Seasons 1 through 4 feature superstars David Chang, Sean Brock, Ed Lee, and Gabrielle Hamilton, respectively. Each episode is narrated by globe-trotting gourmand Anthony Bourdain’s silky-smooth voice.
Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (Netflix, Now available)
Late-night people watching at a greasy spoon is a pastime around the world. This scripted series spans 10 episodes and gives viewers a glimpse into the existence of a Tokyo diner open only after midnight (Kaoru Kobayashi plays the nameless owner, who characters simply refer to as “Master”). Each installment focuses on a different sort of Japanese comfort food, such as tanmen noodles, fried rice omelets, and pickled plums, and details how specific dishes emotionally resonate with the diner’s cast of regulars. Although it’s not new to Netflix as of this month, this recent arrival is starting to generate a cult following here in the states, because it’s great.
#FACTS Anthony Bourdain was enjoying success as host of Food Network’s A Cook’s Tour, and wanted to travel to Spain in order to spend an episode highlighting the works of elBulli’s head chef, Ferran Adrià. The network refused, citing budgetary concerns and higher ratings for domestic shows, so Bourdain left the network and his producers formed their own production company, Zero Point Zero Productions, who filmed it anyway. It became the pilot for his most successful show, No Reservations.