What to watch on Netflix UK: 17 films and TV shows about food and cooking

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These foodie films and TV shows – all available to stream on Netflix – are deliciously good viewing for anyone in need of a little culinary inspiration…

The coronavirus lockdown has certainly inspired many of us to throw caution to the wind and unleash our inner Nigella Lawson. Don’t believe me? Take a scroll through Instagram and count all those amateur bakers who’ve been busily making their own bread over the past few weeks – or, y’know, try to find flour or eggs in any supermarket. We’ll wait.

If you’re in need of a little culinary inspiration of your own, though, we heartily recommend turning to Netflix. Because, nestled amongst all those gripping true crimes and emotionally-charged dramas, the streaming platform has plenty of films and TV shows about food, cooking and baking for you to enjoy. And no, we’re not just talking about Antoni Porowski’s dalliances with avocados in Queer Eye: oh no.

Instead, we’re talking biopics about famous chefs, documentaries about culinary techniques, cooking competitions, rom-coms about food, and many more besides.

Here are just a few of our favourites, if you need a little help deciding what to watch next:

Cooked With Cannabis

Cooked With Cannabis is… well, it’s a lot like The Great British Bake Off, albeit with far more recreational drugs. And, let’s face it, is there anything more intriguing than watching increasingly stoned people muddle their way through a high-stakes cooking show? 

In this Netflix show, the aim of the game is to cook the best dish with (you guessed it) cannabis in order to win the $10,000 (£8,000) prize. But, you know, as everyone gets more and more relaxed, people care less and less about the money… and that, in turn, makes us, the viewers, feel more relaxed, too.

Right now, we reckon we could all lose a little more R&R. So we’re in. We’re 100% in.

Here are just a few of our favourites, if you need a little help deciding what to watch next:

Big Night

Big Night – aka the great food movie starring Isabella Rossellini, Tony Shalhoub, and Stanley Tucci – is finally available to stream on Netflix, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Every bit as charming as it is mouth-watering, this foodie film sees two Italian brothers do whatever it takes to impress a famous American-Italian singer, all in a bid to save their failing restaurant. No wonder it’s one of Ruby Tandoh’s favourites, eh?

Barbecue

As the sun continues to shine here in the UK, and the sweet scent of charcoal fills the air, why not watch Barbecue? In this documentary, film-makers Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker explore the simple ritual of the great BBQ, taking us all over the world in the process. And, come the end of it, they learn that barbecues are about so much more than cooking meat over an open flame.

Watch the trailer below:

Let’s Eat

In this deliciously heartwarming TV series, a divorced woman learns to balance living alone and eating well – with a little help from friends and neighbours along the way.

Julie & Julia

Face facts, people: Nora Ephron makes the lightest, frothiest movies around, and Julie & Julia is yet another jewel in the filmmaker’s crown. Julie Powell (Amy Adams), a young blogger, is determined to emulate Julia Child (Meryl Streep)’s cooking techniques. Though separated by time, the two women share a common passion for food that intertwines their lives, and the film dances between their separate timelines as they tackle some seriously impressive dishes.

Salt Fat Acid Heat

In this Netflix series, which boasts a stellar 100% ‘fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, chef and food writer Samin Nosrat travels around the world to demystify and explore the central principles of what makes food delicious. And trust us when we say it is a guaranteed feast for the eyes.

Eat Pray Love

Julia Roberts stars as Elizabeth Gilbert in this adaptation of the book of the same name. When her perfect world comes shattering down after a divorce, our heroine embarks on a journey across the world in an attempt to rediscover her true self – and winds up eating some seriously beautiful meals (think the pizza of your dreams) along the way.

The Big Family Cooking Showdown

Bake Off fans should absolutely check out this lesser-known show, which sees 16 families compete for the top spot. The competition – hosted by Nadiya Hussain – takes place over eight heats, three semifinals, and one final, with each of the heats split into three categories: the £10 challenge, the home visits challenge, and the impress-the-neighbours challenge. Perfect for anyone in need of some frugal foodie inspiration.

Okja

Directed by Parasite’s Bong Joon-ho, this may not seem like a foodie film at first glance, but it is very much focused on our eating habits. All about a girl who raises a genetically modified superpig, only to have her beloved ‘Okja’ taken away from her, it challenges us to confront our feelings about genetically-modified food and the meat industry.

Ugly Delicious

Each episode of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious highlights one dish or concept, and explores how it is made. And, hosted by James Beard Award-winning chef David Chang, it takes us outside of the usual cooking show domain of a polished kitchen and out into the wider world. Essentially, it’s a travel show about cooking: what could be better when you’re stuck indoors, eh?

Melvin Goes To Dinner

Another 100% ‘fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, another delicious movie. This one takes place at Melvin (Michael Blieden)’s dinner party and, as the group sips wine and discusses the casual happenings of daily life, we are treated to a series of flashbacks and increasingly intimate conversations – not to mention a plethora of tasty dishes.

Nailed It

Can’t cook? Or, at least, can’t cook well? Take heart from Nailed It, which sees home bakers with a poor track record in the kitchen seek redemption by recreating edible masterpieces. Lots goes wrong. And comedian Nicole Byer, who hosts the show, is always quick to find the funny in every culinary disaster. But, come the end of the episode, one amateur baker will take home a $10,000 prize. And, as we all know, high stakes = high drama.

Always Be My Maybe

Reunited after 15 years, famous chef Sasha (Ali Wong) and hometown musician Marcus (Randall Park) feel the old sparks of attraction but struggle to adapt to each other’s worlds in Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe. But, while you may come for the romance, prepare to fall in love with the steamers of prawn dumplings, tureens of fiery kimchi jjigae and “big ass bowls” of salty soup

Cooked

Explored through the lenses of the four natural elements – fire, water, air and earth – Cooked examines the soul-soothing power of food. And, to do this, Michael Pollan takes a look back at the history of food preparation, long-lost cooking traditions and food’s universal ability to connect us all. 

Chef’s Table

In Chef’s Table, some of the world’s best-loved chefs share their deeply personal stories as they prepare an awe-inspiring foodie creation.

Rainbow Jelly

Mistreated by his cruel uncle, an imaginative orphan with autism sees hope when a fairy vows to change his life with a week of enchanted recipes.

Chocolate

In this sugary sweet series, a doctor and chef begin working together at a hospice ward, only to find themselves drawn together by meaningful meals in the past and present 

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Please be aware that this article was originally published on 7 April, but has been updated throughout to include new titles.

Image: Getty/Netflix

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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