Netflix’s flagship food show Chef’s Table is finally getting the parody it deserves with Gods of Food, a new series that’s premiering on College Humor’s online streaming service Dropout next month.
Just like its inspiration, each episode will tell one chef’s life story with plenty of slow-mo shots of food being plated and classical music cues, plus commentary from culinary experts. While the chefs themselves are all fictional characters played by up-and-coming actors and comedians, some of the talking heads are actual famous chefs playing themselves. Hugh Acheson, Jet Tila, Alison Roman, and Richard Blais all appear throughout the show’s six episodes, offering context on the lives and careers of these fictional temperamental geniuses. Some episodes skewer specific Chef’s Table sagas — the second installment is a direct riff on the Jeong Kwan episode — while others take looser inspiration from Netflix’s show.
Judging by the new trailer, creator Rekha Shankar and her team absolutely nailed the look and tone of Chef’s Table. “I thought it was pretty ripe for parody,” Shankar tells Eater. “It was almost already just there. And I do love all these shows too, and I love some of the things they have to say about creating something from nothing and innovating in a space where all the ideas have already happened.” Shankar, a writer and comedian based in LA, is a huge food TV fan and says the idea was initially born out of conversations she had with a co-worker who hated these types of series. While other TV shows have poked fun at Chef’s Table and its precursor Jiro Dreams of Sushi — most notable Documentary Now! and Ugly Delicious — the world of high-end cuisine has never received a full-blown parody like Gods of Food before.
“We’re not a great community of making fun of ourselves and I don’t know why that is,” Acheson remarks. “I’ve always been someone who’s more than happy to shed light on it, [because] it can be very humorous how seriously people take themselves.” Although Roman is not a die hard Chef’s Table watcher, she, like Acheson, also saw the appeal of poking fun at this world. “I think that most humans should probably lighten up and have more fun with themselves, but definitely people in the food world, and that level of chef,” Roman says. Tila, meanwhile, is a big comedy fan who was drawn to the idea of doing a glossy send-up of the Chef’s Table genre. “I don’t think the food world has a problem making fun of itself, I just don’t think anyone’s come up with a smart way to do it,” the Food Network star explains. “I’ve seen a few bits on certain shows, but nothing shot this beautifully and this well thought through.”
Gods of Food shares a name with a Time magazine cover story from 2013 that drew immediate backlash for excluding female chefs from the history of modern fine dining. Considering that Chef’s Table has also been criticized for focusing on white guys working in in European-style kitchens — especially during its earlier seasons — the name works as a reference back to the controversy, but Shankar says the connection was entirely accidental. “We tried to think of the stupidest, most pretentious title for something, and then it turned out to be that,” she explains.
Gods of Food premieres on Dropout Thursday, August 8. One episode will be released each Thursday on the subscription channel through September 12.
• Dropout [Official]
• All Chef’s Table Coverage [E]
• All Food TV Coverage [E]