We are back with Feast Your Eyes, our bi-weekly roundup of anything relevant from the realms of television, film, and food. After the excitement of the past month, which brought back Food TV gems such as Queer Eye and Chef’s Table, we have hit a bit of a dip. There are however, a number of interesting announcements and still binge-worthy programs out right now.
On TV Right Now
The Great Celebrity Bake Off for SU2C
Everybody loves the Great British Bake Off (/Baking Show for North Americans). Many of you probably like Nailed it! on Netflix. Who here doesn’t want to see celebrities fail? The Great Celebrity Bake Off for SU2C combines all of these passions. SU2C stands for Stand Up to Cancer and is a UK-wide campaign to raise funds for cancer research. The show works essentially like your normal Bake Off:
Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood are the judges, Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding remain as the hosts. The SU2C Bake Off, which concluded last night, has a new slate of (mostly British) celebrities from the realms of comedy, acting, sports and politics in every episode. This season, Russell Brand, John Lithgow, Big Narstie, and Jeremy Paxman among others, try their hand at baking in the tent. For viewers outside the UK, it is quite difficult to watch, but you’ll find suitable streaming links on Reddit. It is after all, comedic Food TV at its finest.
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The Calling is an Indian food and travel show, which Netflix made widely available on April 1. The concept is slightly reminiscent of The Amazing Race, but with much nicer contestants and the journey being confined to India. At every stop, the three contestants Preethi, Gaurav, and Atmaj compete in local challenges. The winner of a challenge wins 1000 miles (the shows equivalent of points) and a “curated experience”. The two losers each get to curate said experiences. At the end of each episode the winner chooses the preferred experience and the respective curator gains 900 miles. The loser wins 800 miles. Over the course of the season all the miles get tabulated and the winner at the end wins “India’s Best Job”: A food and travel scholarship.
With the American cable cooking shows mostly on hiatus, the Canadian Food Network has just kicked off its Spring Food TV slate:
- Top Chef Canada just premiered its 7th season
- Masterchef Canada will return later this week with season six.
- The Food Network just launched a new show revolving around Barbecue. Fire Masters airs Thursdays at 10pm.
Coming up in Food TV
The crew behind Netflix’s Chef’s Table is bringing a show about street food to the streaming giant. Not many details are public at this time. We know that season one will have nine episodes focussing on street food in Asia. From the only available promotional material we can deduce that one of the restaurants/food stalls is Raan Jay Fai. The Thai curbside eatery is the first food stall to be awarded a Michelin star in the 2018 edition. Street Food will give David Gelb and his team the chance to tell stories like the Chef’s Table episodes about South Philly Barbacoa and Caffe Sicilia – small eateries of well made local food. Netflix will publish the series on April 26. Keep an eye out for our episode breakdown.
Comfort Me With Apples
New York Times critic Ruth Reichl announced, that Netflix secured the rights to her best-selling memoir Comfort Me With Apples. The book focusses on Reichl’s early days as a food writer. The live-action series will consist of eight episodes. Netflix has not commented on further details at this stage. It is not the first time, that Ruth Reichl’s autobiographic writing was supposed to reach our screens. In 2011, her memoir Garlic and Sapphires was picked up by a Hollywood studio to turn into a feature film. Allegedly, Anne Hathaway was attached, but never confirmed to play the part of Reichl. The project subsequently never saw the light of day. Let’s hope that this new project doesn’t suffer the same fate.
Food Documentaries at Hot Docs 2019
The Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival is the biggest documentary festival this side of the pond. Every year hundreds of non-fiction works vie for the favour of the jury, distributors and audiences alike. An important component within the doc field are food documentaries. Some of the most famous culinary docs got their start or final push at the highly-regarded festival. This year is no exception:
Kings of Pastry
We are starting with a film that is 10 years old. In Kings of Pastry, 16 pastry chefs from around the world face three days of back-breaking competition at the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France. Hot Docs shows the film in its Food & Film series and the audience can enjoy delicious pastries before the film. Tickets can be purchased here.
The Wandering Chef
Jiho Im is a globally celebrated chef, known for travelling from one end of the Korean peninsula to the other, foraging for unique ingredients known for their medicinal properties and preparing delightful meals for unsuspecting locals. It is the heartwarming story of how food can bring people together in times of clarity, confusion and loss. Through Chef Jiho Im, we are meant to rediscover food as a sacred practice that can generate lifelong memories. Tickets
Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy
Master chef, teacher and environmental activist Diana Kennedy is living proof that size has nothing to do with strength. Now in her 90s and barely five feet tall, she’s a fierce jolt of energy that has become one of the most celebrated culinary legends of Mexican cuisine. Aware of her own mortality, she works tirelessly to solidify her legacy with the hope of turning her home into a foundation for culinary education in Mexico. Nothing Fancy is a charming homage to a culinary trailblazer and a true inspiration. Like Kings of Pastry, it also competes in Hot Docs’ Food & Film series. The corresponding food event however, is already sold out.
Charismatic food presenter Nicola Difino had a career that was taking off. His cooking series Breakfast Club, featuring vegan, vegetarian and traditional Italian dishes, had barely gone online when an unexpected diagnosis hit: cancer. Food had already inspired his motto, “Happiness can be found everywhere…It’s better if you find it at the table.” But his recipes now had to guide the shell-shocked Difino on a deeper search for meaning. Part interview, part cooking lesson, part road trip, Alla Salute seeks out Difino’s chef, poet and philosopher friends to share their thoughts about life’s greater purpose—and the dishes their dear friend craves, but can’t eat.
- Feast Your Eyes: Volume I – What Food TV to Watch Right Now
- Feast Your Eyes: Volume II – Antoni’s Recipes in Queer Eye Season 3
- Chef Flynn Documentary Premieres in Toronto