All eight episodes of David Chang’s new food/travel show Ugly Delicious are now streaming on Netflix. For his first major TV project in five years, the Momofuku chef/restaurateur teamed up with Academy Award-winning producer/director Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom, The Music of Strangers) on a show that uses food as a prism for exploring cultural identity.
Unlike Chang’s first TV endeavor, The Mind of a Chef, this new show does not include a lot of cooking demonstrations from the acclaimed chef, but you do see him learning how other talented people around the world make their signature dishes. Many of the best scenes are group meals where Chang and his friends and colleagues talk about the prejudices and stereotypes that are linked to foods that people love.
“It just so happens that when you’re open to an idea and you’re eating something, maybe someone has a story,” Chang recently remarked, “and once they tell us something behind that, maybe we can go a little bit further as well.”
With an energetic visual style and omnivorous approach to the world of food, Ugly Delicious might remind some viewers a bit of Lucky Peach, the now-folded magazine that Chang helped launch nearly six years ago. His partner in that endeavor, Peter Meehan, is on-board as a producer and co-star of Ugly Delicious, and some of the other people who worked on that magazine — both writers and chefs — make appearances along the way. “I know we wanted to make it educational,” Chang recently told Eater about the production. “We almost thought of it more as a variety show sometimes.”
Each episode of Ugly Delicious — which range from 50 to 60 minutes long — focuses on one dish or culinary theme. Here are complete guides to the episodes that make up Season 1:
Episode 1: “Pizza”
Episode 2: “Tacos”
Episode 3: “Home Cooking”
Episode 4: “Shrimp & Crawfish”
Episode 5: “Barbecue”
Episode 6: “Fried Chicken”
Episode 7: “Fried Rice”
Episode 8: “Stuffed”
Since this is not an episodic show, there’s no wrong way to dive in — you can start from the beginning, or pick and choose your favorites as you go. And if you do decide to take Ugly Delicious for a spin tonight, please join Eater’s new Eat, Drink, Watch Facebook Group to discuss the show with other viewers when you’re finished.
• Ugly Delicious [Netflix]
• All Ugly Delicious Coverage [E]