1. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Who is the world's greatest sushi chef? He doesn't work in a fancy restaurant in Japan, and he isn't some young gun. His name is Jiro Ono, he's 85 years old, and his tiny sushi place is inside one of Tokyo's subway stations. The beautifully shot documentary not only tracks Jiro's journey to becoming one of "Japan's national treasures," but also, more importantly, celebrates his discipline and constant striving for perfection.
2. Chef's Table
Did you watch the first two seasons of Chef's Table? If not, now is the perfect time to start. The third season is a stunning visual journey through France and its best restaurants as well as profiles the stellar chefs behind them. (Spoiler alert: chef Alexandre Couillon's love for his home island of Noirmoutier is heartwarming.)
Celebrated author Michael Pollan presents a compelling exploration of food and its history by delving into the four elements of nature. It's a dense deep-dive into the past but never dusty or boring. In the episode "Air," for example, he explores the origins of flour and bread. One thing all the episodes have in common? Pollan consistently introduces us to some of the most extraordinary characters in the food world.
4. Spinning Plates
This award-winning documentary tells the stories of three restaurants and the personal and professional sacrifices it takes for their owners to "make it." It takes on heavy questions about life and legacy and shows how food brings people together even during the toughest of times. This one's a tearjerker, so we recommend having a box of tissues on hand.
5. Three Stars
"Cuisine has to seem unsettling to be properly appreciated. You have to take risks," says chef Yannick Alléno. Is this enough to garner the coveted three Michelin stars? This extraordinary documentary goes behind the scenes of the world's best restaurants to answer that question. And of course the short answer is that it's not just about the food. Every detail, from what the waiters wear and say to the music and the plates, matters in this rarefied world.