When Chef’s Table came out on Netflix, it was the favourite food porn of every wannabe chef and couch gastronaut. And then, as happens with these things, everyone was suddenly absolutely and totally over it. Too contrived, too much soft focus, too pretentious, was the new decision. The latest big thing from Netflix – Salt Fat Acid Heat, based on the best-selling, award winning cook-book by Iranian-American chef Samit Nosrat - is apparently an antidote to that. Or so some have opined.
Nosrat is cooking royalty: she cheffed at Chez Panisse (and has been lauded by Alice Waters herself), has taught Michael Pollan many cooking tricks, writes for the New York Times, and more besides. But that’s not what has everyone talking. Rather, the chatter is around how ‘real’ she is.
The combination of Nosrat’s comical style, her huge warmth (peppered with much laughter and talking-with-mouth-full moments) and yes, the fact that looks-wise, she’s really doesn’t fit the 'domestic goddess' mould, have all played a part in this. That we should make so much of the fact that a female presenter (also exec-producer of the show) doesn’t fit the usual visual mould, is in itself, fraught and problematic, but there you are.