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Lockdown streaming & food shows



Right now I am going through a lot of hard work, frustration and struggles to set up Zymologists; things costing a lot more than anticipated, some nasty surprises during refurbishments, some physical injuries, the irritation of constant sales phone calls. And that was before lockdown.


There have been a great number of times when I have wondered: What the hell I am doing? Why I am I doing this? Is there even any point? There have been many times where I have feared that I am sick of the place before I have even really opened, or even that I have fallen out of love with baking. When you are working so hard, with so much investment and risk, without any pay off in sight, and a lot of doubts, it is really easy to lose your motivation.

Like most people nowadays I watch a lot of streaming services. In fact, given that all my favourite sports are not free-to-air, I don’t watch anything on “real” TV anymore. I am, or have been, addicted to so many series. Thankfully, there have been a few series about food that have been so good in inspiring and encouraging me to keep on fighting, to help me recapture my love of cooking and food and reminding me exactly why this has always been a dream of mine.


Here are some of my favourites:

Somebody Feed Phil

The fun loving and friendly Phil Rosenthal travels world trying everything he can get his hands on, from gourmet to junk food, and infecting everyone he meets with his laughter and love of life. This is such a wholesome, feel good show, comfort food for the eyes.


Rotten

This is such a Millennial show. It is so woke’, so tortured, so guilt ridden, so mired in moral dilemmas. Each episode focuses on a foodstuff that has been corrupted, or is destroying the planet, or killing us, or exploiting someone, and its absolutely devastating to watch. I hate this show, it makes me miserable and crushes so much of the hope out of me. But I think its so important, now more than ever, to know where our food comes from, what impact it is having on us and the world around us. Watch, learn, cry. and maybe make better choices.


Ugly Delicious

David Chang, of Momofuku fame, examines a variety of foods to determine what makes the “true”, traditional version and then how to mess with those “rules” to make it even better. The show is warm and funny, respectful and rebellious in equal measure, and has shown me some of the most delicious looking food I have ever seen. In fact, the Crawfish episode nearly made me book flights to Houston, China and Vietnam right then and there. Coronavirus be damned!


Chef Show

Actor/Director Jon Favreau and Chef Roy Choi cook with a number of celebrities, of both the culinary and film worlds. they try some great food and share some interesting experiences with some stars in a very casual and intimate way. Highlight episodes include a visit to George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch, a seafood feast with The Avengers and (of course) baking Sourdough bread with “Evil Dead” creator Sam Raimi.


Street Food

The stories of many people around the world who have opened up tiny little carts and stalls, often against great adversity, to continue making some of the oldest standing dishes in their country, sometimes keeping the dying techniques alive. So many of these stories have really put my own troubles into perspective and realised that I need to cowboy up and stop being such a little priss.


Restaurants on the Edge

This is basically an American rip off of Gordons Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares – a team goes into struggling restaurants, this time with fantastic views, and gives them a make over. They revamp the menu, redecorate and reinvigorate beleaguered owners who have fallen out of love with their businesses because financial pressures have killed the joy of the food itself. I relate so much to these people right now, because they have been ground down by all the struggles, but also its fantastic to see the wonder being put back into them!


Anthony Bourdain - Parts Unknown

This is the daddy of them all; the best, most interesting, most inspiring food travelogue show out there. This show is about food in the same way Top Gear is about cars - it definitely is, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Bourdain’s uncompromising yet unjudgmental, opinionated yet open-minded style is educational, entertaining and emotional. He goes further, both geographically and journalistically, than any of the others. Watching the show you feel his loss very keenly.

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