Chef’s Table, Netflix’s excellent documentary series, is notable for how well-told it is. The series is remarked for how it maintains an air of believability and seriousness that you wouldn’t normally get from food shows. Unlike the fluffier fare on Food Network, Netflix’s show has some serious chops. It’s more akin to something like Parts Unknown than Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. What is the secret ingredient that makes Chef’s Table so delectable? Is it the top-notch production, or the excellent editing and camera work? According to Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi, it’s got a lot to do with the producers.
Tosi on Chef’s Table
Tosi, who was featured in the 4th season of the acclaimed series, had nothing but praise for the show’s (admittedly unusual) production. According to Tosi, the show isn’t made in the same way as most other food-centric shows. “They’re not food people at all, they’re storytellers,” Tosi said in an interview with Bon Appétit’s Christine Muhlke.
“They were really enamored with the idea of telling the story of something you could eat while you’re watching the show. They were really into the democratic approach! I think they did it justice.” Well, given the show’s forward-thinking vibe and openness, that’s not surprising. This comes amid an era that food-snob sentimentality is generally frowned upon, even in “elite” circles. As such, Chef’s Table is certainly ahead of some other, more slow-to-adapt cooking shows.
Tosi wasn’t originally sold on featuring Milk Bar on the show. She disclosed her fears about it during the interview with Muhlke. “At first … it was like, I don’t think you know what Milk Bar is. What you’re gonna get in Milk Bar is so different from all of the other ‘Chef’s Tables.’” However, after a bit of consideration, she was happy to open her doors for the crew to see her restaurant. It helped that they wanted her to represent the US!
“The one thing they would tell me was, ‘It’s a four-part pastry series. And it’s four different pastry chefs, one from each country and we want you to be the American pastry chef.’ For someone that lives in denim and eats blueberry, could not be more American of a baker in my pursuit and love of desserts … I felt like I was going to commit to it that it was my duty to tell the deep depth of my Middle America upbringing story.”
Tosi’s restaurant, Milk Bar, originally opened in 2008 in New York. Milk Bar now has 14 locations in the US, so you can drop in and try some of their delicious pastries for yourself! Like Tosi said, Chef’s Table seems pretty dedicated to highlighting food that anyone can try for themselves.