Updated: Apr 24, 2019
It's anything but ugly.
The mind and master chef behind Momofuku has done it again with his new creation, Ugly Delicious. Chef David Chang hosts an eight-part documentary series on Netflix that delves deeper into the implications of and meaning behind food. Translation: not your average food porn show (@Chef's Table).
Each episode focuses on a single food item—pizza, barbecue, and fried rice, to name a few. The visuals are stunning, as one might expect from Netflix. We are drawn in by camera shots of sauces being poured all over the place and Korean barbecue feasts. Ugly Delicious is far less overly-glamorous than many other food-centric shows tend to be, and this has a lot to do with the host. Chang mouths off, slinging f-bomb after f-bomb in his reactions to how good the food is. There are no fronts being put on—the food is unapologetically what it is and the host unapologetically who he is. In other words, it's real.
Deal Me The Real: All About The Food
Often joined by celebrity guests such as Jimmy Kimmel or Ali Wong, Chang globe-trots to find the best of each food category, but also the most random and unique (i.e. pizza in Japan, also known as raw fish on a pizza). In the mouth-watering fried chicken episode, Chang travels to Nashville, Seattle, New Orleans, and even a KFC in Beijing to explore how various chefs put their own spin on an American classic.
I think the show is so savvy in not discounting the cultural and political aspects of food and the culinary industry. In his many conversations with chefs, restaurateurs, and diners, Chang discusses the importance of authenticity in ethnic cuisines and certain racist and stereotypical sentiments held toward some cultural foods. Chang attempts to bridge gaps with the universality of food, yet another way in which the show distinguishes itself from other food documentaries that have piqued our hunger.
This is not David Chang's first swing at television, since The Mind of a Chef debuted on Netflix in 2012. Ugly Delicious, however, is by far the more successful of the two. It taps into deeper meaning and culture behind food and the way we eat, which for us aficionados has been a long time coming.
Originally published by Spoon University.