Chef’s Table Season 3 Goes to Korea, Peru, & Russia!

By Mann Bijlani February 20, 2017
Jong Kwan is a Korean nun who cooks better than most chefs. Image: Esquire.com

Chef’s Table, like every other original show produced by Netflix, is taking a part of the world by storm. The culinary documentary series released its 3rd season recently, with this captivating trailer first releasing on the 8th of February.

 

 

Following a mouth-watering Chef’s Table, France with the likes of legends like Alain Passard, this season has arrived at the peak of our anticipation. Over the last 2 days, Instagram stories of peeps in the culinary world are blowing up with the new season. Here’s a quick look at the chefs and what the episodes tell us about them.

 

The formal monastery meal, Baru Gongyang is vegan, simple, and stunning. Image: Netflix

The formal monastery meal, called Baru Gongyang prepared by Jeong Kwan is vegan, simple, and stunning. Image: Netflix

Episode 1 of Chef’s Table, Season 3, begins with Jeong Kwan, a Buddhist nun, who isn’t really a chef. The episode follows her cooking at Baekyangsa Temple, a South Korean monastery. The dreamy, surreal imagery reflects the serenity of the space and the ripples Jeong created from there.

Jeong believes that through her cooking, which is completely vegan, FYI, she pursues the path of enlightenment. She talks about the relation of ego to creativity, and proves hers at a dinner at Le Bernardin, where her philosophy of simple food translates into dishes worthy of being served at Michelin starred restaurants. An inspiration to chef Eric Ripert himself, this episode takes you through spirituality expressed through food.

 

Chef Vladimir Mukhin uses Moose Lips in Dumplings, something modern eateries shy away from. Image: Netflix

Chef Vladimir Mukhin uses Moose Lips in Dumplings, something modern eateries shy away from. Image: Netflix

Most people’s idea of Russia’s food is limited to vodka. Even historically, the dominating cooking waves have come from Italy, France, an emergence of American and Basque cuisine, followed by Nordic reinvention and Japanese discovery. It’s rare to have a diner travel the world for food and make a pitstop in chilly Russia. Vladimir Mukhin has changed that. Episode 2 focuses on the chef’s rediscovery and reinvention of Russian cuisine. By fusing the old styles and ingredients with new techniques and showcasing them together, he builds more bridges than he blows up at White Rabbit, his restaurant in Moscow.

Vladimir talks about honey and its importance to Russian cuisine, before using parts of a Moose that his ancestors cooked with, even if it makes current diners cringe a little. His ambition to be the best chef in the world is expressed through his intensity and creativity, making for a captivating episode.

 

A pizza with egg, bacon, yukon gold potatoes, and Bermuda onions at LA's Osteria Mozza by Chef Nancy Silverton

A pizza with egg, bacon, yukon gold potatoes, and Bermuda onions at LA’s Osteria Mozza by Chef Nancy Silverton. Image: Netflix

Nancy Silverton is baker, chef, and owner of Osteria Mozza, a 1-star Michelin restaurant in LA. She didn’t grow up wanting to be a chef, and yet, it happened. Nancy has made a mark for bringing fresh Italian food into America, and baking artisanal bread when ever popular sliced, packaged bread lasted 2 weeks. Inspired by interaction with Julia Child, she goes on to discuss differences between handmade and artisanal bread in the third episode of Chef’s Table. At 62, she’s an absolute workaholic, due to her obsessive nature as a baker. Even though she remains humble, her dishes featured in the episode elevate it to bread-porn.

Chef Ivan Orkin's Ramen is a global phenomena.

Chef Ivan Orkin’s Ramen is a global phenomena. Image: Netflix

Episode 4 follows Ivan Orkin, a name that resonates around Japan, and a chef I also personally follow. He’s unique for being “a white, Jewish guy from New York” who moved to Japan with the aim of opening his own restaurant – a Ramen shop. Featuring the food and streets of Tokyo from an immigrant’s perspective and Peter Meehan, along with a guy who’s famous for having eaten over 22,000 bowls of Ramen), this episode shows a person in a foreign land, cooking foreign food, and facing repeated rejection until acceptance finds him. Ivan is now a Ramen God of Tokyo, with Ivan Ramen famous the world over. The episode is a classic underdog story and an inspiration to those attempting something extraordinary.

 

Asian and French flavours get a German twist in this Wasabi Langoustine by Chef Tim Raue. Image: Netflix

Asian and French flavours get a German twist in this Wasabi Langoustine by Chef Tim Raue. Image: Netflix

Tim Raue is a chef and a true Berliner, raised in a risky neighborhood of the city. The 5th episode touches upon the aftermath of the Berlin wall collapse, and the pleasant changes like Tim Raue that came along. The episode opens with him saying- “It’s better to provoke and overdo it than to be average,” which becomes a guideline for the episode that follows. Egocentric and provocative, he creates his own universe at Restaurant Tim Raue, re-inventing classic Asian recipes with unexpected twists. In the form of a Cinderella story, Tim goes from street kid and gang member in Berlin to the best chef in Germany, even providing a major turning point in Germany’s culinary history.

 

Spiders on a Rock, like every dish at Central in Peru represents an ecosystem of the country's ecology.

Spiders on a Rock, like every dish at Central in Peru represents an ecosystem of the country’s ecology.

Central, Virgilio Martinez’s restaurant in Lima, Peru is aptly named as we discover in the 6th and final episode of Chef’s Table, S3. A central part of the Peruvian culinary revolution, Central also bagged the 4th prize in the world’s top 50 restaurants list in Virgilio explores Peru, a sort of self-discovery for him as well. We see a plethora of dishes and ingredients that are new to us, justifying Peru’s importance to the culinary world. Central serves up 17 ecosystems in one tasting menu arranged by altitude, each dish representing one. The philosophy applied, is the Andean one; which views the world in a vertical way and not horizontally. They certainly saved the best episode for last with this one.

Chef’s Table is has an IMDb rating of 8.8, making it one of the best food documentaries around. The show is cinematic in shot taking, and also explores philosophy, life arcs, and tells intense stories of the chefs in the episode, unafraid to get personal. The vast amounts of salivating dishes and new ingredients, cuisines and cultures are a delightful icing atop a cake that’s really as dramatically fulfilling as any of your favourite TV shows.

Watch Season 3 of Chef’s Table on Netflix and tell us your thoughts in a comment!