Evan Minniti staff writer
Get ready to be hungry and to read subtitles! In Netflix’s “Chef’s Table: France”, David Gelb takes us on a cinematic and culinary odyssey with four French chefs who are off to reinvent the cuisine at each of their Michelin-starred restaurants.
Each of the four episodes is fantastic. At the beginning of each episode, the audience is stupefied by the marvelous food that the chefs make. It seems closer to watching master artists at work than watching a chef prepare food. Their food is literal art, almost too sacred and beautiful to eat, even though the audience often wants to!
However, as each episode goes on and we learn more about the chefs, their loves, their lives, their struggles, their families and their businesses, consequently, the food is demystified. The chefs’ personalities are revealed to completely change the way they shape their dishes. The chefs and the food they create are transformed from being cold, distant and seemingly-impossible to understand, to becoming humanized and vibrant. We can finally appreciate the chefs as not only culinary vanguards but also as human beings.
Much like what the chefs are doing to French food, Gelb has frankly revolutionized food-related documentaries. Unfortunately, culinary-related TV was relegated for far too long in the public’s mind to cheesy (pun intended) Guy Fieri-hosted Food Network garbage and overly dramatic “Iron Chef” ripoffs. However, in 2011, Gelb directed the critically acclaimed “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” which finally brought art to the genre. His “Chef’s Table” series now airs on Netflix and is changing the way people see this genre.
In short, “Chef’s Table: France” is an absolutely fantastic journey through the cutting edge world of French cuisine. There is never a dull moment in the season, full of wondrous, funny and even moving scenes and montages that show just how qualified these chefs are at what they do.