Food Tank is highlighting 18 feature-length documentaries and shows to excite and inspire eaters. Dig into the story behind some of your favorite chefs, learn about the importance of regenerative farming practices, or watch a series that takes a new look at culinary traditions. These films provide new perspectives on food that is both educational and entertaining. And with coverage of award-winning chefs, authors, filmmakers, and activists, there’s something for everyone.
André & His Olive Tree follows the famed Taiwan-born chef, André Chiang. In 2018 Chiang made the decision to close his esteemed restaurant, Restaurant André, shocking his staff, family, friends, and the greater culinary world. The film follows Chiang as he walks away from the Michelin-star restaurant he dedicated his life to and captures the chef’s perspective on what it means to be successful. Watch it on Netflix.
David Chang, the American chef, author, and food critic hosts a four-part documentary series exploring the food culture of cities from Los Angeles to Marrakesh. In each episode, a celebrity chef joins to experience the essence of these food metropoles. This series uncovers surprising aspects of global food while revealing the lives of the hosts themselves. Watch it on Netflix.
This documentary series takes viewers on a culinary journey across China. Each season highlights a different region of the country along with that region’s traditional cooking techniques and ingredients. With 12-minute episodes, each dedicated to a single food, the show strives to shed light on the nuances of Chinese cuisine. Watch it on Netflix.
Directed by the James Beard Award winning filmmaker Sanjay Rawal, “Gather” follows Native American individuals working to reclaim their spiritual, political, and cultural identities through food sovereignty. Stories include a chef working to reclaim his tribe’s ingredients and a high school student demonstrating the nutritional significance of buffalo. While the documentary outlines the destruction and historical trauma caused by centuries of genocide, it also tells a story of resilience and innovation. Watch it on Netflix.
Generation Growth tells the story of Bronx educator, Stephen Ritz, and his mission to transform the lives of low-income students across the United States through gardening. Originally launched in the Bronx, Ritz’s indoor gardening curriculum, Green Bronx Machine, expands around the country, teaching students how to grow vegetables in the classroom. Embraced by children of all ages, the program has helped create opportunities for youth, while teaching them about the power of food. Learn how to watch it here.
In this docuseries, chef and writer Stephen Satterfield tells the history of African Americans’ influence on American cuisine. This four-part series highlights the Black cooks and culinary traditions that have shaped American culture over the last few hundred years. This series is one of the first of its kind to celebrate and share the deep roots of Black culinary histories. Watch it on Netflix.
“Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent” tells the story of chef Jeremiah Tower and his influence on California cuisine in the 1970s. One of the United States’ first celebrity chefs, Tower rose made a name for himself at the legendary restaurant Chez Panisse. Featuring chefs from Martha Stewart to Anthony Bourdain, experts consider Tower’s life, career, and legacy in the culinary world. Watch it on Prime Video.
“Julia” follows the life of famed chef, cooking teacher, author, and TV personality Julia Child. Known for popularizing French cuisine in the United States with her cookbook and television programs, this documentary highlights Child’s influence on American culture, food, and women in the 20th century. Featuring never-before-seen footage and detailing Child’s rise to fame at the age of 50, the film tells the inspiring story of one of the country’s most beloved culinary stars. Watch it on Prime Video.
Follow the work of activists, scientists, politicians, and farmers as they strive to tackle the climate crisis through regenerative agriculture practices. This documentary, narrated by Woody Harrelson, looks at the growing interest in agricultural techniques that restore soil health and support the environment. The recipient of 42 awards, “Kiss The Ground” shares powerful insights into the promising potential of soil regeneration. Watch it on Netflix.
10. Last Man Fishing
Told through the lens of small-scale fishermen and experts around the United States, Last Man Fishing dives into today’s fishing practices and their effect on the planet. Highlighting the struggle between corporate giants and small family fishers, this documentary questions the ethics of the industrial fishing model. And ultimately, it underscores the importance of conservation and quality in the rapidly changing seafood system. Learn how to watch it here.
This documentary profiles the life and artwork of Jim Denevan, founder of Outstanding In The Field. Founded in 1999, Outstanding in the Field is a recurring outdoor dining event series where groups of people come together for a family-style meal on farms, vineyards, beaches, and more. “Man in the Field” offers an exciting account on Denevan’s creative and culinary pursuits through this multifaceted project. Learn how to watch it here.
In 2018, chef, writer, and television host Anthony Bourdain died by suicide at the age of 61, shocking the culinary world. The documentary film examines Bourdain’s life and career, and features chefs David Chang and Eric Ripert along with members of the production crew on Bourdain’s show “Parts Unknown.” Through interviews and archive footage, “Roadrunner” explores Bourdain’s rise to fame. Learn how to watch it here.
13. Street Food
This American documentary series highlights some of the world’s most revered street food along with the history behind each dish and the chefs who prepare it. Volume One focuses on cities across Asia, highlighting popular dishes including banh mi, potato chaat, and okonomiyaki. In Volume Two, the show moves to Latin America, taking viewers to Buenos Aires, Oaxaca, Lima, and more. Combining archival footage with a variety of inspiring face-to-face interviews, “Street Food” sheds light on the influence of street food culture across the globe. Watch it on Netflix.
14. Taco Chronicles
Taco Chronicles highlights the rich history and culture behind tacos. Each episode spotlights a different taco, the ingredients that comprise it, and the cultural significance of the dish. Featuring interviews with renowned food writers, food experts, and the chefs themselves, “Taco Chronicles” proves that not all tacos are created equal. Watch on Netflix.
Told through the eyes of Malawian local leader and activist, Anita Chitaya, “The Ants and the Grasshopper” is a documentary about one woman’s fight to save the planet. Making her way from Malawi to California to the White House, Chitaya works to persuade Americans that climate change is real, meeting with climate skeptics and struggling farmers along the way. An award-winning documentary by activist and bestselling writer Raj Patel, “The Ants and the Grasshopper” is a story about one woman’s fight to inspire change on both a local and global level. Learn how to watch it here.
16. The Last Harvest
The Last Harvest details the critical labor shortage that today’s farmers are facing in the United States. The film shares the stories of three family growers and their uncertain futures. Touching on immigration reform, food waste, and the current economic standing of the rapidly growing fresh produce industry in the U.S., this documentary offers a new perspective on the food system. Learn how to watch it here.
17. The Wild
Award-winning environmental documentary, “The Wild,” tells the story of Bristol Bay, Alaska’s fight to protect its wild sockeye salmon population. The film examines a mining corporation’s plan to build North America’s largest open-pit copper mine directly in the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon. A follow up to 2014’s “The Breach” documentary, filmmaker Mark Titus’ latest film is an urgent call to action to save a species and an ecosystem. Watch it here.
Released in 2021, “Wolfgang” tells the inspiring life story of celebrated chef Wolfgang Puck and his journey to success. Recounting the challenges Puck faced in his early life along with his successes along the way, this documentary film provides a detailed look into the life of one of the world’s most coveted chefs. Watch it on Disney Plus.
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Photo courtesy of Jane Smith, Unsplash