Today, Netflix announces the full lineup of the next two seasons of its award-winning culinary documentary series Chef’s Table. Season 5, which is slated to premiere on September 28, will focus on “chefs and cuisines whose stories have for too long been hidden.” Season 6, meanwhile, has “the journey home” as its theme, and it’s going to land on Netflix at some point next year.
Filmmaker David Gelb and his crew will profile people who operate both high-end restaurants and more modest, local institutions. And while the show has received some criticism from several publications (including this one) for its gender disparity and lack of diversity, this new lineup thankfully bucks the trend.
Here’s who’s on deck for the next two seasons of Chef’s Table.
Season 5, premiering Friday, September 28
Cristina Martinez is the chef/co-proprietor of acclaimed Philadelphia Mexican restaurant South Philly Barbacoa. Over the last few years, she has become one of the leading voices in the Philly food scene, and an advocate for immigrant rights who uses her status as an undocumented worker to highlight the problems with immigration laws in America.
Martinez fled Mexico to escape her abusive ex-husband, and worked a series of jobs to send money back to her daughter. She eventually found her way to Philadelphia, where she met her future husband, Ben Miller. When Martinez was fired from a restaurant for not having immigration papers, she and Miller began selling lamb barbacoa — a dish that her family has cooked for generations — out of their apartment.
The home kitchen led to a food truck and later a free-standing restaurant, which has received numerous accolades, including placement on the Philadelphia Eater 38 and Bon Appetit’s 10 Best New Restaurants List. This year, Martinez appeared in both Ugly Delicious and Full Frontal With Samantha Bee discussing the role that undocumented immigrants play in America’s food system.
Bo Songvisava applies the principles of the slow food movement to Thai cuisine at her Bangkok restaurant Bo.Lan, which currently sits at No. 37 on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
A native of Thailand, Songvisava studied cooking in Adelaide, Australia, and eventually landed a job in London working at David Thompson’s acclaimed modern Thai restaurant Nahm. She met her future husband, Australian chef Dylan Jones, in that kitchen, and they eventually decided to move back to her home city to open their dream version of a Thai restaurant together.
At Bo.Lan, Songvisava and Jones serve dishes that highlight indigenous ingredients and techniques from Thailand’s culinary past. The chefs are vocal advocates of sustainable and ethical farming, and they use as many organic ingredients as possible. “Without nature, I can’t cook,” Songvisava recently told SlowFood.com. “And that’s my life.”
Musa Dağdeviren is the chef-proprietor of a small group of restaurants in Istanbul that celebrate traditional Turkish cuisine.
Dağdeviren has spent most of his life in the kitchen. He started helping out at his uncle’s bakery when he was just 5 years old, and at the age of 12, following the sudden death of his father, Dağdeviren began working in restaurants full-time to help support his family. After a stint in the army, where he worked at an officer’s club, the chef opened Ciya in Istanbul with three friends, and quickly became the sole owner of the restaurant.
As Turkish culture has started to absorb more European influences, Dağdeviren has sought to preserve the country’s traditional cuisine by meeting with elders in his homeland and documenting the dishes and techniques that they have loved throughout their lives. The chef describes his restaurant group as a “garden of lost cultures and forgotten tastes” and an “ethnographic museum.”
Albert Adrià is one of the leaders of Spain’s culinary avant-garde scene.
As a young chef, Albert worked with his brother Ferran at the groundbreaking, now-closed restaurant El Bulli. Although the elder Adrià got most of the media attention, Albert developed many of the innovations that made El Bulli the most acclaimed restaurant in the world. In 2013, Adrià struck out on his own with the opening of the tapas bar Tickets in Barcelona, and in recent years he has opened a handful of sister establishments — including 41º, Bodega 1900, and Pakta — exploring different sides of the Spanish culinary cannon.
The new season of Chef’s Table will include scenes from the opening of his latest project, the modernist tasting menu establishment Enigma, which debuted last year.
Season 6, premiering sometime in 2019
Mashama Bailey is the chef of the Grey in Savannah, Georgia. Her cooking is a blend of Southern, African, and New American cuisines, with several other global influences thrown into the mix and an emphasis on seasonality.
Prior to opening the Grey, the chef worked on the line at Gabrielle Hamilton’s Manhattan restaurant Prune. Hamilton helped connect Bailey with John O. Morisano, a venture capitalist who was planning to open a restaurant in an old Greyhound bus station in Savannah. After moving to Georgia to work with Morisano, Bailey began embracing the history of her new home and its community of local farmers and purveyors. The chef also cites the work of late chef and cookbook author Edna Lewis as a big inspiration on her cuisine.
Last November, Eater critic Bill Addison named the Grey the restaurant of the year, writing, “we all look for inspiration in our lives; few of us channel it as effectively as Bailey has.”
The chef pioneered a style of cuisine that emphasized the quality of local ingredients, and the culinary history of the American South. Eater Charleston editor Erin Perkins recently wrote that “Brock helped bring ‘home’ recipes into high-end restaurants.” After battling a rare autoimmune disease and getting sober, the chef recently shocked the dining world by announcing his departure from the restaurant group that made him a star.
Brock is currently working on some new projects in Nashville including, according to Netflix, “an Appalachian restaurant.”
Asma Khan is the chef-owner of Darjeeling Express, an acclaimed Indian restaurant in London that grew out of a popular supper club.
Khan was born into a royal family in Aligarh, India. She only became interested in cooking as an adult, when she was working as a constitutional law scholar in Cambridge, England, and realized that her husband was a bad cook. After working through her family’s recipes and also studying 1930s Royal Nawabi/Mughal cuisine, she decided to ditch her legal career and launch a supper club. That operation eventually morphed into a permanent restaurant, staffed entirely by female chefs, that’s now the toast of the town.
Since Khan and many of her kitchen team members are second daughters — a status that comes with its own baggage in Indian culture — the chef decided to donate proceeds from her restaurant to a foundation in India that helps other second daughters. Earlier this year, the chef told the Independent, “Through the charity I want the birth of second girls to be celebrated in the village and for second girls to have the same rights as boys: an education, an opportunity and a reminder that they are not a burden on their family.”
Dario Cecchini is a world-renowned butcher who operates a meat shop and a string of restaurants, including a steakhouse and a burger shop, in Panzano, Italy.
Although Cecchini comes from a long lineage of butchers, as a young man he had no interest in the family business and actually studied to be a veterinarian. But when his parents died, Dario took up the cleaver at his family’s shop and spent a decade mastering the trade. Over the last four decades, he’s taught a number of talented chefs — including Salt Fat Acid Heat author Samin Nosrat — the art of butchery, while also earning a reputation as an artisan/philosopher/showman.
A fan of both Shakespeare and Dante, Cecchini coined the catchphrase for himself: “To beef or not to beef? That is the question!”
Stay tuned for more updates on the next season of Chef’s Table as they become available.