What we eat and where our food comes from are topics that are hotter now more so than ever.
Social media whizz Beth and top techy Myles can’t contain their excitement.
Kicked-off by 2004’s Supersize Me, there’s a lot to digest in the world of food and health as stories such as the horse-meat scandal, supermarket fake farms and the ongoing wars on sugar and food waste continue to hit headlines. As the nights draw in, it’s time to get cosy, get inspired and tuck into a film, podcast or documentary (or three). Here are our team’s top picks to get you started:
1. Chef’s Table, Netflix Documentary Series
Julien, our Head of Marketing who hails from France, is in awe of this ultimate foodie documentary.
Chef’s Table gives a unique opportunity to see the behind the scenes of some of the world’s best restaurants. Having always secretly dreamed of being a chef myself, I was mesmerised and hypnotised from the first episode. In Chef’s Table you’ll discover a patchwork of characters with very different backgrounds and life stories who all share a true fascination for incredible food and elevate cooking to an art form. I highly recommend eating beforehand though as it’s an incredibly mouthwatering watch!
2. Mondovino, Documentary
As a wine-lover too, Julien absolutely loved this humorous exploration of global winemaking.
This documentary has made quite a lot of noise in France when it came out 12 years ago. Not only because we Frenchies are obsessed with our wine, but because this documentary actually tells the story of how the whole agricultural world is being impacted by globalisation through the lens of wine production. With interviews from small independent producers to massive industrialised vineyards, the very witty Director Jonathan Nossiter shows how the standardisation in taste required by globalised brands is killing the magic of winemaking. Always told with a great sense of humour, you can see a genuine love for wine and the people who care about it.
3. Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Documentary
Also a lover of sushi (what can we say, he enjoys the good stuff), Julien was on a roll, watching all the docs on the digestible things he loves.
If you love a delicious attention to detail and all things Japanese, this is the film for you. Jiro Dreams of Sushi follows Jiro Ono, the first sushi chef to have gained 3 Michelin stars, and it’s the quintessential description of Japanese craftsmanship. It’s a story about pure dedication to one’s craft and painstaking obsession with quality. It was really incredible to discover how much care and skill is required to cook the simplest elements on the menu (omelette or rice), to the point where an apprentice cook can only cook elements for years before even laying a hand on fish. What makes this documentary exceptional is its exploration of the interesting relationship between Jiro and his sons, who both are sushi chefs but chose two distinctive ways to thrive in the shadow of their legendary father.
4. Cooked by Michael Pollan, Netflix Documentary Series
Customer Experience Director, Lucy, can’t get enough of this eye-opening doc.
A kind of cooking-meets-anthropology documentary series, acclaimed writer and journalist Michael Pollan explores the origins of cooking through the lens of the four elements: fire, water, air and earth. Informative but never preachy, it highlights the importance of cooking as a way to connect with family and friends and enrich your life. Michael Pollan is now top of my ‘if I could invite one guest to a dinner party’ list - what a guy!
5. Addicted to Sheep, Documentary
This warmed the heart of Content Manager Susan.
Touching and enchanting, if sometimes a little sobering, Addicted to Sheep is a beautifully intimate insight into a year in the life of a sheep farming family in the North Pennines. It’s fascinating to watch tenant small-scale hill farmers Tom and Kay Hutchinson do their best to breed the perfect sheep in the stunning, yet unforgiving, rural landscape of North East England along with their three children who are happily immersed in all the ups and downs of farming life. You witness it all - from growing and preparing their own turkey at Christmas to the hardships of lambing in the sleet of spring - and what’s heart-warmingly clear is that the family wouldn’t swap their life for anything (well, maybe just a prize-winning ram).
6. The Food Chain, BBC World Service, Radio Programme and Podcast
Social Media Manager Beth’s brain is filling up with investigative journalism at its tastiest.
BBC World Service’s The Food Chain answers all those questions you’ve ever wondered about the food you eat and what it takes to put that food on your plate, covering topics such as: ‘Is Junk Food the New Smoking?’ and ‘Animals on Antibiotics: Could Pigs on Pills Make Us Ill?’ to ‘Food Waste: How Low Can It Go?’. Journalists go deep into the heart of an issue, consulting scientists, economists and experts to try and reveal answers (some of which you might just not be expecting to hear). Catch it live on the BBC World Service on Saturdays or Mondays or listen again to the podcast!
7. Stir the pot by Edd Kimber, Podcast
Still hungry for more, Beth tunes into this laid-back podcast for scrumptious seconds.
Looking for a foodie podcast that’ll give you inspiration for that next cookbook to buy or recipe to try? This one’s for you. Edd Kimber was the first ever winner of The Great British Bake Off (god rest its soul!) and in his new podcast series Stir The Pot he chats about food with people who are absolutely obsessed with it (writers, chefs, cooks, and celebrities) over a relaxing cup of tea at their kitchen table. Our favourite is his informal interview with Georgina Hayden, author of the latest comfort food bible Stirring Slowly, where they discuss the roots of her love of good food, how she ended up working with Jamie Oliver and the inspiration for her new book. Edd finishes each podcast with a ‘quick round’ to learn a bit more about his guest’s food loves and hates. Avocado or butter? Pasta or potatoes? These are just a few of the tough questions he puts to his guests (no, we can’t decide either!).
Special mention also goes to the brilliant The Food Programme on BBC Radio 4. Tune in on Sunday mornings to hear entertaining and intelligent brain-feeding fodder on every aspect of the food we eat - from the expert culinary panel show The Kitchen Cabinet, packed with tasty titbits that might change the way you think about food, cooking and eating, to reports on the world’s most endangered foods, there’s lots to get your teeth into.
Dim the lights and get your popcorn ready as we’re delighted to announce the arrival of our brand new Farmdrop film! Sit back, relax and press play to your see your producers doing what they do best on screen.