Chef's Table

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Chef's Table TV Poster Image
Documentary series on chefs and food is thoughtful, diverse.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Many of the chefs featured have philosophies that are centered around positive things such as eating healthy, the conservation of nature, and thinking creatively.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Chef's Table features an incredibly diverse range of subjects, all of whom are leaders in their field because of unique and progressive points of view, as well as a lifetime of hard work.

Violence

The only violence has to do with prepping animals for cooking. For example, one episode shows a chef snapping a bird's neck and slicing its carotid artery.

Sex
Language

The bad language used varies by episode, but many chefs curse frequently: "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole."

Consumerism

Aside from generally being PR for these chefs and their restaurants, featured dishes will occasionally use brand-name ingredients.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol is a major part of the culinary profession and shows up in many different forms. Smoking sometimes accompanies it. Drug use doesn't pop up in every episode, but sometimes it is featured prominently in chefs' stories.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Chef's Table is a documentary series that focuses on the stories behind world-renowned chefs' careers, dishes, and philosophies. The series goes to great lengths to present an incredibly diverse collection of subjects from all over the world. Though the focus is on food, Chef's Table doubles as a travelogue as it travels from continent to continent, from the streets of New York to the Amazon jungle to the Baegyangsa Temple in South Korea. However, because the subject matter changes with each episode, so does the age-appropriateness. Some chefs use profanity more frequently than others, for example. Chefs are often drinking and serving alcohol, and occasionally smoking, and some even talk about the benefits of using drugs. There are realistic depictions of animals being killed for food. On the other hand, the wide-ranging subject matter means that some episodes really stand out, especially when chefs use their culinary skills to promote things like conservation and healthy eating.

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What's the story?

Each episode of CHEF'S TABLE focuses on a single world-renowned chef. It interweaves stories of how each chef came to love food, learn how to cook, and become successful with depictions of the chef making the very dishes that made him or her famous. The subjects vary widely from episode to episode. For example, one focuses on a New York pastry chef known for using junk food to make luxurious desserts, and the next will travel to a temple in South Korea to learn how a Buddhist nun feeds her fellow nuns and monks. 

Is it any good?

As with any documentary series that changes its subject each episode, the quality varies throughout the series, but if you're a lover of food and food culture, this show will have something for you. Some episodes present a simple narrative where the chef cooks something, people like it, and they repeat this until they find success -- so there's no real struggle or insight into what it takes to be a capital-G great chef. But at its best, Chef's Table goes to great lengths to present unique and compelling points of view from all over the world. Chefs like Buddhist nun Jeong Kwon or Brazilian punk Alex Atala do so much more than cook; they present entire philosophies on how food can impact and improve people's lives.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the differences between the food they see on Chef's Table and the food they eat every day. What makes this food remarkable? How is it similar to the food we have at home? How is it different?

  • All of the chefs on Chef's Table have a unique story about how they came to love food and what food means to them. How does each chef's story inform his or her food? How does it affect how the chef thinks about food?

TV details

  • Premiere date: April 26, 2015
  • Network: Netflix
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-MA
  • Available on: Streaming

For kids who love food TV

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