The Food List: The best culinary shows and cookbooks to binge on

Netflix shows

Ugly Delicious

Join Chef David Chang as he travels to culinary hotspots around the world as a step towards eradicating the cultural misinformation that perpetuates discrimination. Chang is joined by other chefs, writers, activists, artists and public figures, including talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel, comedian Nick Kroll and writer Peter Meehan. Throughout the show, food is used as a tool to address misconceptions and stereotypes while breaking down barriers between different cultural groups. 

Million Pound Menu 

Budding restaurateurs are given the opportunity to make their eatery dreams come true. Contestants set up a pop-up restaurant and a jury of potential investors visits to judge its viability. It’s like Shark Tank for food and a must-watch if you’re a fan of British culinary shows. 

Cooked with Cannabis


Starring pop-star-turned-gourmand Kelis, this cooking show has contestants compete by preparing three-course meals for a cash prize. The only catch is every dish must include a cannabis-infused ingredient. There being just six episodes, each 35 minutes long, making Cooked with Cannabis, not only fun to watch but also easy to binge on. If you’ve run out under lockdown, live vicariously through the judges who get to devour the contestants’ edibles, episode after episode. 

Salt Fat Acid Heat: Before it was a show, Samim Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat was a New York Times bestseller. Watch as the author, teacher and cook travels around the world in a bid to get to the bottom of the cooking principles that make food taste good. Armed with a smile and laid-back nature, Nosrat makes impossible skills look attainable and fun. If you enjoy the series, you may consider getting a hold of the playful but comprehensively illustrated cookbook that crawled so that the Netflix show could walk.  

Books 

Sh*t’s real, Let’s Heal by Khanya Mzongwana (Undignified) 

Sometime last year we profiled food-stylist, recipe-developer and pop-up-restaurateur Khanya Mzongwana. Well, she recently self-published an ebook in response to the global pandemic that has everyone at home and back in their kitchens. Like Mzongwana, the book is quirky, colourful, easy-going and candid. The author even shares some anecdotes about the therapeutic element that cooking has had for her while she navigates living with mood disorders. To order your copy email [email protected] 

Everything is Under Control: A Memoir With Recipes by Phyllis Grant (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) 

In addition to having a comforting name, Everything is Under Control is a two in one. Journey with cook and author Phyllis Grant and as she takes you through her challenging and noteworthy milestones like adulting, marriage, motherhood and her encounters with Vicodin. It’s not a cookbook, but this memoir with recipes will get you cooking. 

Foodies to follow online

Tabitha Brown: Now, Tabitha isn’t a chef or a cook. However this actress and accidental TikTok star spends a lot of time in her kitchen. Her anecdotes about ingredients are hilarious, comforting and insightful. 

Lebo Lukewarm, aka The Disaster Chef 

Again, he is not a chef. Lebo is a photographer with a lot of downtime now that we’re all confined to our homes. To make the time pass, he documents his culinary attempts and makes sure to include the mistakes he makes. You may or may not learn from his mistakes, but Lebo’s worth the mention for creating sometimes embarrassingly relatable content for foodies who don’t do too much cooking. 

Podcasts

The Sporkful 

The first standout is the podcast’s tagline: “It’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters”. To make the various aspects of food  — namely science, history, identity, economics and recipes — approachable, the hosts use humour to dissect the things that we eat and what they mean beyond their caloric features.

Gastropod

If you’re interested in understanding the world through the things that we put on our plate, this podcast is for you. Get into the technicalities of the food by listening to hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley as they dive deep into food and farming topics by interviewing experts, visiting labs and going on archaeological digs. 

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