Back for a sixth season, Chef’s Table returns for four more episodes of culinary excellence. Despite not featuring any world class chefs or Michelin star restaurants, the four unique chefs depicted here are empathetic and likable, full of tumultuous issues affecting their paths into the catering industry. Although some may construe these issues as bordering on the politically charged spectrum, for the most part this sixth season does well to keep the focus on the chefs and food rather than the socially impacted issues.
Much like previous seasons, the four episodes follow a very similar format. For those unaware, each episode begins with a brief introduction to the chef as they talk about what cooking means to them. From here, a classical music-inspired intro follows before diving into the journey each chef took to get to where they are today. Whether it be Mashama’s racially charged past in the deep-south of America or Asma’s home supper parties that threatened to destroy her family, these painful past events are explored in detail as the chefs reflect on their tumultuous pasts.
From here, we then see various culinary techniques with the returning use of slow motion cameras. This eventually culminates in a showcase of dishes at the end of each episode including some of the signature dishes from that specific restaurant. Nestled between these moments are chosen food critics or other chefs that give us an inside-look at the make-up of each dish and just why they are as appealing or outstanding as many make them out to be. Given the format of each episode, it’s easy to dip in and out of these but for me, the final two episodes were definitely the strongest.
Going into this season there will be a fair few people who see these chefs as being deliberately picked for their politically relevant backgrounds that reflect the bigger issues in the world today. Whether it be Asma Khan’s all-female cooking staff challenging the ideology of male-dominated kitchens or Mashama Bailey’s play on race relations in the American deep south, there’s a fair amount of material to chew over here that certainly bring up these themes.
Thankfully, it doesn’t detract too much from the series though and on the whole, Chef’s Table continues to live up to its excellent reputation. It does feel like a shadow of the show it once was though, especially given some of the amazing chefs shown back in the first few seasons. Despite this, there’s enough here that fine dining fans and food enthusiasts alike will enjoy.