Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (Season 1, 2019)
Host: David Chang
Guests: Seth Rogen, Chrissy Teigen, Lena Waithe, Kate McKinnon
Chang accompanied by a different celebrity guest exploring a single city, its culture and its cuisine. As the pair travels through each city, they will also uncover new and surprising things about themselves. – IMDB
Hosted by David Chang, Breakfast Lunch & Dinner is a new Netflix docuseries, much like Ugly Delicious, exploring food and culture. The structure of this series is different in this 4-episode series. Each episode sees David Chang going to one city accompanied by one celebrity that may or may not be from the area to explore the food offered there. In some places, its about authenticity and in others, its about reflecting the place itself. The episodes span over Vancouver, Los Angeles, Morocco and Phnom Penh where the pair will go for a day out in the city eating the different meals throughout the day and talking about the city, the culture and of course, the cuisine which eventually goes to talking about their own lifestyle and more.
Four episode seasons are always a quick binge. It almost feels like this one should have been paired up with Ugly Delicious Season 2’s four episodes to create a full season. However, there is nothing to complain about. This new structure is very refreshing. To a certain extent, this one is more lighthearted to watch. Its less about those societal issues that are often linked in Ugly Delicious but takes a more entertaining level as they talk about the celebrities career and living in the city or other more casual friends hangout topics. It does touch on the societal topics every once in a while but overall, its a rather fun discussion most of the time to see the dynamic of David Chang and his guest celebrity and each one of them brings something new to the table.
Its really hard to expand too much on this show since it is not only short but also with a rather straightforward concept. Breakfast Lunch & Dinner is a pretty fun show. It would definitely be nice to see where they can take this and what other guests will join David Chang as he explores a city in one day and all the food that he tries (especially since I have some foodie friends that I’ve travelled with where our trips are like that as well). Its a nice snapshot of a city experience and in some ways, its almost like a casual hangout or interview that gives space to discuss a wide range of topics. There’s a lot to love about this show and is much more focused on one place and culture and cuisine that gives its a lot of substance as well. Its a different approach to a food docuseries and while I like both this structure and Ugly Delicious’ structure, it would be nice to see this one have more episodes if they manage to get a Season 2.
If you haven’t seen the reviews for Ugly Delicious, you can find it below:
Check out the TV binge for the first season HERE.
Ugly Delicious (Season 2, 2020)
With only half the length of the first season, Ugly Delicious is a quick binge to say the least. That being said, it still lives up to what it has built in its first season, bringing food and culture and views together. Its a bit more of a personal journey as David Chang sets out in the first episode looking at kids menu in anticipation of his child. Its a good look at exploring the kids menu at schools around the world and finding the balance of being a chef and family. In the following three episodes, David Chang and friends reunite to look at curry, steak and the turning meat.
While each of these episodes have a lot to offer and to learn, the best episode would be the steak episode which has amazing structure as it divides its discussion into a four course meal and having this central discussion on the different doneness of steaks and why (or why not) its a big deal to ask for a well-done steak. It leads to how steaks are done from fine dining to chain restaurants to little restaurant concepts as well as the different types of steaks including some that I’ve never heard about. Its quite the eye-opening episode especially as it uses this to go into politics, society, etc.
As usual, David Chang is really a great host for this. The guests he invites on each of these episodes or friends that go to the different locations to explore the food all have their own rapport and knowledge that it adds a lot to the series itself. However, carrying forward from the previous season, David Choe has to be one of the most hilarious additions to the friends. A little odd and does a lot of unexpected things but its why it makes it so entertaining. That being said, there are some fantastic travels here as they head to different locations as well like Mumbai and Instanbul just for starters.
Four episodes might seem like something of a short season and it definitely is, but each of these episodes do pack their own punch. Each having their own journey, whether its a journey to understand a cuisine better (Curry) or its a look at the different variations and how people view how certain foods are cooked and its impact on society itself and even expanding to feminism (steak) and finally how immigrants and people moving from one place to the next has brought over their food culture to a new place and the variety that its given (turning meat). Ugly Delicious is much more than just a food docuseries but rather one of the things I like the most about the show is how it manages to tie some societal elements using food as the bridge to talk about these issues.
Ugly Delicious (Season 1, 2018)
Cast: David Chang, Peter Meehan, Aziz Ansari, David Choe, Jonathan Gold
Chef David Chang travels around the world tasting food from different cultures. – IMDB
Ugly Delicious is an eight episode documentary series that follows David Chang and company as he explores a different type of food and hunts down for the best ones while at the same time, using the different views and approaches to make food to look at the narrow or open mindedness and the cultural prejudices and views that are linked with it. It pulls in a social commentary about how different societal themes like politics and such can also be pulled into the various discussions.
Ugly Delicious requires its audience to have an open mind because a lot of this refers to food brought over by immigrants and how its changed as its traversed the world into different cultures, challenging sometimes what you might think of certain things one way but how they may be viewed a completely different way. Its not only seeing great food that is a draw but also the depth that the series brings. It manages to talk about the origins of that sort of food and the meaning behind it and then look at how different countries have their own interpretations.
Over the eight episodes, they take the audience through pizza, tacos, homecooking, shrimp & crawfish, BBQ, Fried Chicken, Fried Rice and finally a battle of the stuffed pasta vs. dumplings. There’s much to learn throughout the series while seeing some wonderful takes on food. That was the initial draw for me before I started it but to be honest, the whole history and origins and the extension of how food in America and how its viewed by the world actually became something that make it a very thought-provoking experience. Its not in whether you agree or not but sometimes to see a certain way of how food can bring together the world to understand each other better and see other cultures through a different way. For that, I love a lot of the episodes: BBQ had one of the most hilarious bits while the first and final episode made me think a lot about the similarities and seeing things in a different way while obviously, the dive into Fried Rice and Chinese cuisine as well as the homecooking one hit home a little more for myself and I connected with that a lot whereas some of the most creative episodes went to Fried Chicken but turned around to see the value of traditional cooking versus the more modern twists on Shrimp and Crawfish and BBQ.
Ugly Delicious is a thought-provoking docuseries that is done very well. A lot of it has to do with the food and culture that they dive into and the guests invited there. While David Chang might seem a little pretentious in some thoughts, I really liked how in his own ways, he managed to keep things very honest and still show his passion for different cuisines. Its going to be great to see what they do in Season 2, (which has been confirmed but no date announced yet).