From Nailed It to Chef’s Table to The Great British Baking Show, Netflix has plenty of cooking shows to keep you entertained.
Netflix’s plan to be the one-stop shop for entertainment lovers was seen as an absurd fantasy only five years ago, but nowadays it seems to be an attainable dream for the streaming service giant. The platform has come to completely dominate the world of television in both critical and commercial terms thanks to hits like Stranger Things, The Crown and Orange Is the New Black, yet these prestigious series represent only a fraction of what encompasses the television medium. While it’s drama and comedy where Netflix has made its name, it’s with a decidedly more mainstream slate where they’ve proven themselves truly dominant.
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Television isn’t just about prestige dramas and easy to marathon comedies: It’s about reality shows, lifestyle programming, documentaries, experimental fare, and much more. In the sub-genre of cooking shows, Netflix has further established itself as the go-to platform, and for good reason. Netflix’s near mythic levels of funding for original programming allows them opportunities to invest in high-level projects that wouldn’t make it past pre-production at a traditional network. Cooking shows are beloved by mass audiences, easy to marathon, relatively inexpensive to make, and have appeal beyond domestic demographics.
Netflix has invested wisely in an array of cooking shows across a variety of styles and approaches, but they’ve also become the go-to platform for fans of some of the genre’s most popular series. Warning: these shows are best not watched on an empty stomach.
Chef and founder of the iconic Momofuku brand David Chang's series focuses on not only the best of food but the cultural and historical issues surrounding it: What makes an "authentic" Italian pizza? When does food become cultural appropriation? What is the complicated racial history behind fried chicken and Soul food? Ugly Delicious is part of the ever-popular cooking show trend that seeks to show food as the great equalizer. Chang may get to try handmade pizzas in Naples but he’s not too ashamed to admit he loves to order from Domino’s too. The series has fun with its format and introduces genre-bending elements like talking heads, animated segments, parodies of political debates, and much more, as well as numerous celebrity guests like Steven Yeun from The Walking Dead.
There are many cooking competition shows on television where contestants battle one another to prove their culinary prowess, but there’s only one show where the objective is to be the least worst. Nailed It is inspired by the is inspired by the many memes of people trying and failing to recreate the effortlessly elaborate cakes found across the internet. The premise is simple: Three amateur bakers are given ridiculously complicated baked goods to recreate and whoever's is the most okay wins $10,000. Nailed It's charm lies in how game everyone is for the silliness of the concept. Everyone is willing to laugh at one another and host Nicole Byer’s uncontrollable giggles over some of the contestants’ crazed creations – including one infamous episode where contestants had to make a cake shaped like a bust of Donald Trump – is utterly infectious. Nailed It may be the single most hilarious cooking show on television.
The Great British Baking Show
The Great British Baking Show has become a full-on cultural phenomenon, both in its native UK (where it's called The Great British Bake Off) and abroad. Oft-described as one of the nicest shows on television, the competition to find Britain’s best amateur baker has sparked countless rip-offs and many a meme (soggy bottoms, anyone?) While the show’s move from BBC to Channel 4 caused much controversy in its homeland, Netflix has been the series’ main hub for Americans for a while now. Indeed, it’s never been more globally popular since it became the ultimate cooking competition binge-watch.
Now called The Great British Baking Show in America due to copyright issues, the series is ideal for your next marathon and Netflix knows it. It’s an undeniably pleasant show free of much of the petty drama that seems to plague reality television: There are no catfights, no obviously manufactured scandals, and everyone seems to genuinely like one another. It may be a thoroughly British show but its appeal has become universal, and its Netflix presence has made it more beloved than ever.