The Mind of a Chef stands out as a rather unusual method for food television. It’s less about scripted, choreographed moments designed to entertain in easily consumed bites, and more about deep-diving into a chef’s life. And deep-dive it does into each chef’s motivation, their influences outside the realm of food, and more importantly, what it takes to be a chef at that level. It’s a celebration of food and culture, with the guest chef also acting as the host.
Now into its 6th season, each season follows one or two chefs, and devotes a great deal of time to different subjects in a way that feels compelling. At the end of each season, you feel as if you have been on an intellectual biography, one where you not only explore an entire creative process, but also the anatomy of a specific style of cooking.
Take the first episode of Season 1 that follows David Chang.The journey begins with ramen, the Japanese noodle dish on which Mr. Chang built his reputation at Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village, New York. His raw-ramen munching illustrates an anecdote about his childhood tastes — from eating uncooked noodles to eating uncooked noodles sprinkled with the contents of the spice packet — and leads into a demonstration of making unusual versions of Western pasta dishes like Gnocchi using instant ramen.
This kind of inside view should appeal to anyone interested in food culture. But Mind of a Chef is unique in its fascinating document of a creative mind at work. It offers up information that even professional chefs would find themselves hungry for. As we accompany each chef on their singular journeys, we learn not only how food is made, but also how each chef came into their own being.
Watch it: for a laid-back, brainier, and almost therapeutically soothing approach to food, and to cultivate closer familiarity with a specific taste and cooking style.
Where to watch it: Netflix.
Chefs featured till date: David Chang, Sean Brock, April Bloomfield, Edward Lee, Magnus Nilsson, Gabrielle Hamilton, David Kinch, and Ludo Lefebvre. Season 6 features Chef Danny Bowien.
You can catch live streaming of Season 6 here: