Taking a hot, sticky trip down the bustling streets of Mexico, The Taco Chronicles is a stylish and educational documentary series about tacos. Split across 6 episodes, this food documentary series breaks down the origins, prep work and subsequent public reaction to different restaurants and style of taco across the country. Utilizing all the usual tropes you’d expect from Netflix’s other documentaries in this category, The Taco Chronicles adds a unique Mexican flavour to proceedings.
Each episode follows a somewhat similar structure, beginning with an introduction to the specific style of taco or restaurant being examined before diving into the heart of the episode’s content. Armed with a mix of interviews with the public and chefs, The Taco Chronicles features some nicely worked segments involving historical origins of each dish. From carnitas’ first steps dating back to Aztec times to the surprisingly informative episode looking at tortillas, The Taco Chronicles leaves no stone unturned on its quest to delivering a comprehensive guide to all things taco.
Stylistically, the documentary does well and takes inspiration from a few different sources. The slow motion shots featuring chefs cooking to the rich sound of classical music takes inspiration from Chef’s Table whilst the mariachi bands and distinct brass score helps geographically set the series in the heart of Mexico. There’s some beautiful establishing shots of the different areas in this country too, with the hustle and bustle of markets shown through hand-held cameras whilst sweeping, aerial shots help to give a sense of grandeur. It’s a pretty impressive balance that, for the most part, works really well.
The educational segments of each episode are really nicely placed too, adding just the right amount of humour to keep things feeling lighthearted. The idea of tacos narrating what’s happening is a little bizarre if I’m honest and at times this does work at odds against the classical music and shots of chefs working. It’s not enough to offset the tone though, which remains informative and enjoyable throughout, but it is enough to make it noticeable.
Having said all that, The Taco Chronicles is another sure-fire winner for Netflix. Acting as Mexico’s answer to The Chef’s Table, The Taco Chronicles is a comprehensive guide to the world of Mexican cuisine, combining educational facts and cut-outs with all the usual staples you’d expect from these food documentaries. This one is well worth the time to chew through though and when you’re done, you’ll no doubt be hungry for more.