Humans have an interesting relationship with food. Many documentarians have chosen to document that relationship, both through our love of food and our problems with excess, money, and more.
Whether you're passionate about food, nutrition, or the food industry, here is our list of the 11 food documentaries you should be watching that will change how you think about food.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Jiro Dreams of Sushi follows 85-year-old Jiro, a renowned sushi chef. His restaurant was once a Michelin three-star and is peculiarly small in size. It can only seat ten customers at a time and is located in a Tokyo subway station.
In the documentary, it is revealed that Jiro has devoted his life to sushi. Indeed, his two sons have followed in his footsteps as sushi chefs. The film centers around the whole family, and shows the elder son getting ready to take over his father's restaurant.
Ever wondered how the food you buy at the grocery store got there? We have, so set out to watch Food, Inc. to see what revelations it had about the foods we eat that make their way from farm to table.
The film tackles one of the biggest issues facing the U.S. regarding food—the higher costs of eating healthy. Corn is one of only a few items subsidized by the Federal government. That makes products derived from it cheaper. According to studies, that could be leading to unhealthy habits.
The Biggest Little Farm
The Biggest Little Farm is a heartwarming story about documentary filmmaker John Chester and his wife Molly leaving their hectic lives in L.A. to develop a sustainable farm.
The film recounts their ups and downs over seven years as they struggle to make the farm work and is ultimately a triumph of the relationship between humans and their surroundings.
Salt Fat Acid Heat
In this documentary television series, chef and food writer Samin Nosrat travels the world exploring the four elements crucial to cooking good food: salt, fat, acid, and heat.
Each of the four episodes focuses on one element. Norsat learns about the history and importance of it while also cooking and giving sageful advice along the way.
Similar to Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, the documentary series Cooked explores four elements and their importance to food and humans. The show is presented by Michael Pollan, acclaimed writer of The Omnivore's Dilemma.
With each episode, Pollan delves into the history of each element and how it shaped history. He relates primitive and historical cooking to the present with an urge to return to our original, healthier relationship with food.
Super Size Me
In Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock puts his own health on the line to reveal what fast food culture is doing to Americans. He eats McDonald's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day for a month.
Throughout the film, Spurlock checks in with his doctor, allowing viewers to see precisely how the food impacts his health. His personality shifts as the film goes on, showing viewers just how much fast food affects us.
The Chef's Table
If you're looking for a documentary that's as mouth-watering as it is interesting, Chef's Table is the ideal documentary series to watch. Each episode follows an innovative chef or cook, telling their story and showing their groundbreaking creations.
A Tale of Two Kitchens
One of the sweetest (and shortest) food documentaries we enjoy is A Tale of Two Kitchens. It follows famous Mexican restaurateur Gabriela Cámara as she opens a new restaurant in San Francisco. The film is special because it provides a valuable insight into how the chefs and staff of a restaurant can become family. What’s more, it gives a more realistic vision of the food industry compared to other films featuring famous chefs.
The pass rate for the Master Sommelier test is 8%, making it the hardest test in the world. Somm depicts four sommeliers preparing to take the test and gives an inside look into the secret society of sommeliers.
If you've never given much thought to the wine you drink, this film will show you just how intricate the industry is and what sommeliers must do to pass the exam.
Childhood obesity is a major problem in the U.S., with 19% of kids classified as such. Bite Size tells the story of four kids who struggle with their weight. It's a great film to watch with kids and help them understand the importance of healthy living. The documentary focused on these kids as they build a more meaningful relationship with food while finding fun ways to stay active.
Barbecue is a style of cooking all its own. We found this film interesting because it gave us an insight into what it means to cultures around the world. Barbecue sets out to compare and contrast barbecue and its varying place in society. It ultimately shows us that our similarities far outnumber our differences.
Learning more about food can teach us about our cultures and ourselves. These 11 food documentaries you should be watching will have you thinking differently about what we eat and why we eat it.