I am not much of a television viewer, but whilst visiting my son in the UK he introduced me to the Netflix series ‘Chef’s Table’, a series of episodes each focusing on a world-renowned chef and his/her restaurant from across the globe.
I am super impressed with the quality of storytelling, and the personal detail the chefs have shared with creator David Gelb. Chefs Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana in Modena and Ben Shewry of Attica in Melbourne spoke of their struggle of getting diners into their restaurants, when what they were preparing was so unusual that the locals did not want to support them. They were at the brink of giving up, and were motivated by partners to carry on…until the first favorable review changed their fame and fortune. Physical obstacles are described too, such as Chef Grant Achatz of Alinea in Chicago developing mouth cancer, and being unable to taste for a while.
The Filming quality is superb, and many of the signature dishes of the restaurants are explained, with the chef explaining the origin of a dish. Many dishes are cleverly named. Chef Massimo tells the story of one of two last lemon tarts for service falling and breaking. As they had no other option, they placed the smashed one on a plate, and smashed the second one too, changing the name of the dessert to ‘Honey, I dropped the lemon tart’! It is still on the menu! The memory of nearly drowning led Chef Ben Shewry to create a signature seafood dish.
Season 1 covers Chef Massimo of Osteria Francescana (now the world’s number one restaurant on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list), Dan Barber of Blue Hill Restaurant at Stone Barns and in New York, Francis Mallmann of El Restaurante Patagonia Sur in Buenos Aires, Niki Nakayama of N/Naka Restaurant in Los Angeles, Ben Shewry of Attica in Melbourne, and Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken in Järpen in Sweden
Season 2 features Grant Achatz of Alinea in Chicago, Alex Atala of D.O.M. in São Paulo in Brazil, Dominique Crenn (winner of Best Female Chef this year) of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, Enrique Olvera of Pujol in Mexico City, Ana Roš of Hiša Franko in Kobarid in Slovenia, and Gaggan Anand of Gaggan in Bangkok.
In September Season 3 will be launched, with a heavy French accent: Alain Passard (who received a Lifetime Achievement Award this year) of L’Arpège in Paris, Michel Troisgros of La Maison Troisgros in Roanne in France, Adeline Grattard of Yam’Tcha in Paris, and Alexandre Couillon of La Marine in Noirmoutier in France.
While a specific date has not been announced, Netflix will be launching Season 4 sometime next year, with a focus on Ivan Orkin of Ivan Ramen in New York, Jeong Kwan of Chunjinam Hermitage at the Baekyangsa Temple in South Korea, Nancy Silverton of Mozza in Los Angeles, Tim Raue of Restaurant Tim Raue in Berlin, Virgilio Martinez of Central in Lima, and Vladimir Mukhin of White Rabbit in Moscow.
There is no better way to get to know a collection of the world’s best chefs than by watching ‘Chef’s Table’, an-in depth insight into their heart and soul.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog. Cell +27 825511323 www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage Instagram: chris_ulmenstein