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A Perfect Marriage of the Two Greatest Arts

The common misconception about Chef’s Table is that it’s a “food show”. I see how it’s easy to come to that conclusion. The word “Chef” is in the title and there’s food on the cover. We all know the idiom Don’t judge a book by its cover. I would argue that Chef’s Table is as much about food as Star Trek is about space. It’s there, and without it you wouldn’t have the show, but it’s not what’s at the core. Chef’s Table is a show about people and their stories. About life and art. About perseverance… The subjects just happen to be some of the best Chefs in the world.

Walking into Chef’s Table: BBQ I was excited about watching more Chef’s Table but, in my experience, the spinoff series’ have not been as good as the original, so I wasn’t over the moon just yet. Aside from that, BBQ just didn’t seem as thoughtful or “beautiful” as fine dining. I was dead wrong! The team came back to their roots and once again painted, with picture and sound, the inspiring stories of some of the greatest pit masters known anywhere in the world.

CHEFS TABLE – BBQ, VOLUME 1 – ROSALIA CHAY CHUC in episode 4 of CHEFS TABLE – BBQ. CR. Courtesy of Netflix/NETFLIX © 2020

The brilliance of the creator, David Gelb, and the people behind this docu-series is their ability to tell captivating stories. Prior to 2015, when the first season dropped, I had watched MAYBE four documentaries in my 27 years of life. They just didn’t capture my interest. To me, documentaries were talking heads discussing something I was, likely, not interested in, intercut with pictures and recycled footage. Oh, and dates… many dates up on screen… and newspaper clippings. Can’t forget those!

Honestly, I watched Chef’s Table because I thought IT WAS about food. I was fooled. Like I said before, the brilliance behind the show is how incredibly captivating the stories and the people are. Stories of adversity, diversity, perseverance, tragedy, passion, & love, among others. Knowing that in this
day and age great stories isn’t enough, the team sets a new standard for docs, combining deep narratives with hypnotizing visuals and music, all artfully crafted to draw the audience in and, I believe, change them for the better.

CHEFS TABLE – BBQ, VOLUME 1 – LENNOX HASTIE in episode 2 of CHEFS TABLE – BBQ. CR. Courtesy of Netflix/NETFLIX © 2020

A quick note about “space”: the food presented is some of the best in the world but that’s not why it’s on display. It’s because; One, it’s the medium through which these artists express themselves. Two, in more ways than one, it’s what saved them. Three, Food brings people together.

In one sentence; Chef’s Table: BBQ is a perfect marriage of visual storytelling and culinary arts, both on display at their very best!

Prepare to have your heart broken and mended by Tootsie Tomanetz and your preconceptions of fine dining challenged by Lennox Hastie. You’ll also be inspired by Rodney Scott and moved by Rosalia Chay Chuc and her passion for preserving her culture and heritage.

CHEFS TABLE – BBQ, VOLUME 1 – TOOTSIE TOMANETZ in episode 1 of CHEFS TABLE – BBQ. CR. Courtesy of Netflix/NETFLIX © 2020

David Gelb, much like the people depicted here, is a master in his own right. He and his team’s ability to move us through someone’s story, keeping us engaged and choosing images that beautifully compliment what the subjects are feeling is something every docu-series should aspire to. I’ve said it before, no one does docs better than Netflix.

Chef’s Table paved the way and Chef’s Table: BBQ keeps it moving!

Since 2015 Chef’s Table has been my favorite show on any platform because it introduced me to the possibilities of the genre that is documentaries, it gave me a new perspective on people, and it inspired me to work hard and fight for my passions because, if these stories are any indication, with
enough drive humans are capable of anything no matter what life throws at them.

Chef’s Table: BBQ hits on every note the original does and I couldn’t be happier. It drops on Netflix on Sept. 2nd so make sure to give it a shot!

Just don’t watch it on an empty stomach because, after all, there is food in it.

CHEFS TABLE – BBQ, VOLUME – RODNEY SCOTT in episode 3 of CHEFS TABLE – BBQ. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix/NETFLIX © 2020
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By Raul Navedo

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