The 9 Best Food TV Shows to Stream When You're Quarantined
When you're craving a break from the news, turn to these calming culinary series.
A 24/7 news cycle amidst a widespread pandemic can be a recipe for frazzled nerves. Been there, feeling that.
"Social isolation and loneliness can have an adverse impact on mental health and overall wellbeing," says Navya Singh, Psy.D., a psychologist and adjunct research scientist at Columbia University and founder of the personalized mental health support website wayForward. "So be sure to take time off between work and household tasks to relax. Don't read about or think about the coronavirus during that time."
Our favorite way to feed and soothe our souls — and often cure our wanderlust all at once? These nine food TV shows, and all are available to stream in the comfort of your home as you're social distancing.
Somebody Feed Phil
Let's get this out of the way: Phil Rosenthal, the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, is not an acclaimed chef. Like us, he simply loves to eat and loves to experience diverse cultures through food. Follow along as his infectiously goofy, excited personality guides us through the local specialties in Venice, Copenhagen, New York City, and more. Don't duck out early — each episode concludes with a recap via an adorable FaceTime with Rosenthal's parents back in New York
Stream it on Netflix and start with episode: Lisbon
Salt Fat Acid Heat
With a huge appetite for life and a passion for bringing new voices to the culinary conversation, food writer and former restaurant chef Samin Nosrat's Netflix series is a must-watch. While teaching the basic building blocks for acing any recipe (seasoning with salt, including enough fat and acid, and cooking with the just-right amount of heat), Nosrat brings us along in journeys behind the scenes of these elements. Tour an olive grove to learn how to make oil, visit the Yucatan to discover the magical powers of sour oranges, and travel to Japan to see how important salt can be. (P.S. These three sea salts will make you a better cook.)
Stream it on Netflix and start with episode: Fat
Chances are, we're going to be here for a while — and for good reason, to #flattenthecurve — so catch up on any of the 16 seasons of this Bravo competition cooking show now available online — and the new season is playing now on Bravo. Unlike some other competition shows, the competitors generally support each other and remain fairly drama-free, and the challenges really showcase their top-notch skills. You might even score some new flavor combinations to try out in your kitchen for dinner tonight.
Stream it on Hulu and start with episode: Restaurant Wars, any season
Stunning cinematography and some of the best epicureans across the globe will sweep you away to a new land — or at least a generously-appointed table. Each episode focuses on one acclaimed chef, from Christina Tosi and Dan Barber to Massimo Bottura and Grant Achatz, so you can learn more about their craft and who and what helped them become the masterchef they are today.
Stream it on Netflix and start with episode: Mashama Bailey
Momofoku empire creator and chef David Chang is on a mission to prove that some of the least Instagrammable foods are actually the most scrumptious. Hence the series name. He's also a master at proving that many of the underlying themes and techniques in our culinary repertoire are essentially the same from one corner of the globe to the other. Asian xiaolongbao (dumplings) and Italian tortellini are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from each other, for example.
Stream it on Netflix and start with episode: Home Cooking
The Great British Baking Show
We can't quite explain why, but this might just be one of the most soothing TV shows ever produced. Perhaps it's the hosts' British accents. Maybe it's the charming home baker competitors. Or quite possibly it's the calm, zen-like qualities of watching baked goods come to life. Regardless, the seven seasons of this U.K. show make for a stellar quarantine "feast." (Check out 10 more reasons to binge on The Great British Baking Show.)
Stream it on Netflix and start with episode: Cake; season 2, episode 1
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
As a tribute to the late explorer and restaurant chef, tune into season 7 and 8 of this Travel Channel series. While you take a break from traveling IRL, fly around the globe with the fiesty, sage host. Along the way, you'll "tour" 16 different locales each season, dissecting what the food, drink, and people can tell us about the human condition.
Stream it on Hulu and start with episode: Kurdistan
Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home
Party like it's 1999, when this PBS series was filmed, and giggle along with a dynamic duo of French culinary pros: Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. They both know how to find the joy — and the lessons — in food, and will teach you how to ace everything from chateaubriand to chocolate pots de creme to (you guessed it from those SNL skits with Dan Akroyd!) roast chicken.
Stream it on Amazon Prime and start with episode: Creamy Desserts
Who has the best college town eats? What's the home to the best pizza in the country? And what is the ultimate diner food? This Travel Channel series will take you along to introduce you to some contenders, then you and your family (or virtual video chat buddies) can debate the winner.
- Stream it on Hulu and start with episode: The Comfort Zone