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From 'The Bear' to 'Sweetbitter' to 'Boiling Point' and beyond.

| By Erin Elizabeth | Journal

10 Foodie TV Dramas to Feast Your Eyes On

From 'The Bear' to 'Sweetbitter' to 'Boiling Point' and beyond.

It’s often advised to never go to the supermarket hungry, or risk returning home with enough food to feed your entire area code. But a similar warning should be given about watching the following shows on an empty stomach – or worse, with an empty fridge.

So stock up on your favourite recipe ingredients or keep your phone close for an urgent delivery order, because these series will leave you salivating. From The Bear to Sweetbitter to Boiling Point and beyond, here are 10 of the most delicious foodie dramas to feast your eyes on.

1. The Bear

Where can I watch it? Disney+

This time two years ago, Season 1 of The Bear took the world (and award circuit) by storm. What seemed like an unassuming story about reinventing a family restaurant in Chicago instead revealed itself to be a searingly honest and chaotic exploration of family dysfunction, friendship, regret, and the isolating pursuit of greatness. With its third season ready for service in just a few weeks, this flawless, propulsive series leaves little room for debate when it comes to crowning the best foodie drama ever cooked.

2. Sweetbitter

Where can I watch it? Stan

Before Ella Purnell was Jackie from Yellowjackets, she was Tess, a 22-year-old waitress in 2018’s Sweetbitter. A series adaptation of Stephanie Danler’s book of the same name, the two-season series is set in a swank Manhattan restaurant, staffed by an eclectic group of cooks, servers and sommeliers full of secrets. Things don’t just heat up in the kitchen, with the chemistry between Tess and her co-worker Jake (played by Tom Sturridge) so hot it threatens to burn a hole in your screen. Sultry meets spicey in this 14-episode series that’ll leave you hungry for a least another 14 more.

3. The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House

Where can I watch it? Netflix

This incredibly engaging series will have you speed dialling your favourite Japanese restaurant for a reservation, stat. Based on the manga, Kiyo in Kyoto, by Aiko Koyama, this nine episode series follows two teenage BFFs, Kiyo and Sumire, as they move to Kyoto’s Gion district to become geiko (Geisha). But after growing tired of takeout, Kiyo discovers her true passion is cooking, becoming the house’s Makanai (chef). What follows is frame after frame of mouth-watering meals, prepared with care and curiosity and devoured by her housemates.

4. Julia

Where can I watch it? Binge

Who thought a Californian woman could become one of the most renowned French cooks in the world? Julia Childs did. Though beginning her culinary career later in life, the iconic chef, author, and beloved TV cooking host never doubted herself, even when everyone else did. Over two flavourful seasons, HBO’s comedic drama Julia retraces the highs and lows of the pioneering American cook’s life, defying the odds to become the queen of European cuisine.

5. Nada

Where can I watch it? Apple TV+

This five-episode Argentinian drama starring Luis Brandoni and Robert De Niro dropped late last year without much fanfare, making this series somewhat of a hidden gem. It simmers along relatively slowly at first, following a grumpy and arrogant food critic named Manuel Prats whose every whim (and meal) is satisfied by his lifelong maid, Celsa, until he’s forced to hire a young Paraguayan immigrant who cooks from the heart, not recipe book. They form an unexpected friendship as Manuel becomes her mentor, imparting his love of food and Buenos Aires cuisine on to his new home chef.

6. Kitchen Confidential

Where can I watch it? Amazon

For those of us that like to indulge in a bit of guilty pleasure viewing every now and then, 2005’s Kitchen Confidential is the perfect treat. While reviews weren’t too kind at the time of its release, there’s something moreish about this comedic drama set in the chaotic kitchen of high-end restaurant Nolita that leaves you wanting another bite. Perhaps that ‘something’ is a young Bradley Cooper in chef’s whites, trying to manage a motley crew of kitchen staff while also seducing every customer that walks through the door.

7. Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Dubbed “the TV version of comfort food” this oddly addictive Japanese series serves up 24-minute episodes set inside a tiny late-night diner in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighbourhood. Every episode features both regulars and one-off customers, who often arrive drunk and hungry, requesting off menu items like hot dog sausages boiled into the shape of octopus. Though modest, each meal is cooked with care, wrapping each person perched at the counter in a warm nostalgic hug before they disappear back into the night.

8. Gentefied

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Set in LA’s rapidly changing neighbourhood of Boyle Heights, this two-season bilingual dramedy follows three Mexican-American cousins on a mission to save their family restaurant, Mama Fina’s Tacos, from becoming another casualty of gentrification. And my god, do these tacos look worth saving. While shining a spotlight on a very real issue facing LA’s Latinx population and paying homage to cultural heritage, every episode also leaves you pining for a paper plate of anything and everything on the menu – be it tacos, burritos, or tamales.

9. Let’s Eat!

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Another series never to watch on an empty stomach, Let’s Eat! Is a Korean drama wholly centred around food. Starring Lee Soo-kyung and Yoon Doo-joon, the sixteen episode series places a heavy emphasis on Korean cuisine, with its main characters always cooking, eating, or talking about food. Sure, there’s a plot too, but honestly it feels like a side dish when you see how well each meal is shot, with the camera doing its best to offer you a taste through the screen.

10. Boiling Point

Where can I watch it? SBS

Created by Philip Barantini, James Cummings and Stephen Graham, this four-episode British miniseries boasts a perfect Rotten Tomatoes score for good reason. A sequel to the anxiety-inducing 2021 film of the same name, this nail-biting drama offers a hyper-realistic portrayal of the high-pressure environment of a restaurant kitchen in London. Best watched with either a stress ball or wine glass in hand, each episode follows a brilliant script that reads like a love letter to food and a prescription for blood pressure pills at the same time.

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