A new foodie documentary on Netflix offers up some prime viewing for food lovers.
David Gelb’s look at haute cuisine in France, Chef’s Table, allows a glimpse at the kind of food most could never afford.
New Season Commission
Chef’s Table first debuted in 2015, but two new seasons have already been commissioned as the show was so popular. The second debuted recently, with four new episodes available immediately to stream on the platform.
David Gelb’s direction takes us to France to focus on the chefs there. Alain Passard is one of the chefs featured: head chef at the restaurant L’Arpege, he has the kind of food job most chefs would kill for. His kitchen is also ranked 19th in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Passard has a passion for food, and this comes across in his piece, in which he excitedly talks about beetroot and carrots with personifying adjectives. The depth of field is shallow in this show and it struggles to keep him in focus as he leaps around in excitement. This artistic choice, of course, shows of the food in a such a beautiful way that gifs are already doing the rounds on Tumblr cut from the most gorgeous creations.
Haute and Heavy
When it comes down to it, viewers will be most interested in taking a look behind the scenes at one of the most famous dishes to come out of L’Arpege. The chef takes a chicken and a duck and sews them together with string, then bakes them in hay. It’s the kind of dish that most food chef jobs don’t call for, but here, the unusual is the usual.
Passard may have become the Dr Frankenstein of the roasting world, but back in 1998, he decided to rebrand his restaurant as mostly focusing on vegetables. His produce is fresh and served with as much style and vigour as the meat once was, thanks to the fact that it comes direct from his very own garden. The fact that he has such a small source is also responsible for an ever-changing menu, directly influenced by whatever harvest he might make that week.
Some viewers may balk, however, at the price of his creations: the dinner tasting menu at L’Arpege comes in at €380. Most viewers, then, will have to make do with watching Chef’s Table and enjoying a small dish of their own.
Training and Learning
Anyone who is looking for international food jobs should certainly consider watching the documentary series, which could be a good source of inspiration. Though the recipes may not be shown in exact detail, it is the methods as well as the finished product, and the passion, which are important here.
Having intimate knowledge of the food industry and the chefs who have made their name within it is an impressive facet for any chef candidate. If you feel that you have the skills, attempting to recreate some of these haute dishes could well be the kind of training that prepares you for working with such ingredients at a later stage of your career.
For a truly gifted chef, however, the emphasis must be on creation. Just as Passard is known for his masterpiece of the chicken sewn to the duck, so any chef must try to carve his own niche with unique signature dishes. Come up with one of your own which turns heads in the same way, and who knows – it could be you featuring in a Netflix foodie documentary episode one of these days.
You can watch Chef’s Table now with any Netflix subscription.