Netflix’s Ugly Delicious: A must-watch for foodies and cinephiles

Written by Anvita Singh
| New Delhi |

Published: June 9, 2020 2:50:49 pm

Popular chef and food writer David Chang in a still from his show Ugly Delicious.

A critical appreciation of food, a social commentary, a travel documentary – Netflix’s Ugly Delicious is all these things rolled into one visual treat. Featuring the renowned chef David Chang, the series consists of two seasons. The first season had eight episodes and the second one, which premiered in March this year, has only four. These episodes have a runtime of around an hour each.

David Chang

I had always been a foodie and would frequently watch anything featuring Gordon Ramsay. At one point, I was quite taken with the English food writer and chef Nigella Lawson. Jamie Oliver was another chef I was fond of watching on TV. And while growing up, my mother would often sit and watch multiple episodes of The Tarla Dalal Show. But David Chang is young (he’s only 42) and while I would sometimes see his name in several articles, I never bothered to look him up. Not until I binge-watched his Netflix series, Ugly Delicious.

At a fairly young age, he has become one of the most renowned names of the culinary world. He has numerous awards to his credit and owns a path-breaking two-Michelin star restaurant by the name of Momofuku Ko in New York. Chang has several other fine dining restaurants spread across Australia, America and Canada. Not only this, the man is a food writer and a curious, inquisitive, knowledge-hungry individual, which only makes him that much more attractive. A Korean-American, Chang demonstrates, through the several hours of Ugly Delicious, how open he is to new ideas and cultures, and I don’t mean that only in terms of food.

Hilarious and soft-spoken (but loud and firm when he needs to be), Chang comes across as a grounded, humble man who is aware of and takes pride in his traditions. And this very traditionalism takes a backseat when he is talking to someone whose rich history and past he knows nothing of. And when that happens, he becomes this liberal, questioning figure of the food world. It is this dichotomy of his personality that the show brings out wonderfully.

How it works

Every episode focuses on one dish or cuisine from a specific culture. From thereon, experts and other writers, including a few well-known artistes, discuss and dissect the possibilities of a potential food revolution. The result is an immersive, one-of-a-kind visual experience.

The filmmaking

By now, it must have become clear that Ugly Delicious is not your average food show. Because experiencing the delicacies through film and still making it seem so stunning is a difficult act to balance. However, the makers did an excellent job of hiring a talented cinematographer and editor. Each episode tells its own story with compelling graphics and lovely visuals of cities across the world — China, Japan, India, Italy. The list is endless.

Ugly Delicious is currently streaming on Netflix.

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