I Can't Stop Laughing at This Parody of 'Chef's Table'

March  2, 2017

If you’ve ever seen an episode of Chef’s Table, the David Gelb-helmed Netflix show that's now on its third season, you’ll recognize that it's got certain, unmistakable aesthetic flourishes. There are languid, handsome interstitial shots of plaintive chefs, ambling through mossy settings and picking at their naturalistic surroundings; a violin-heavy soundtrack that swells and crescendos in moments of dramatic tension (and nearly drowns the narration); a cogent narrative arc of triumph amidst circumstantial adversity. The production values are enviously high. The episodes are usually reverential of their subject, and more than a little self-serious.

In other words, though I love Chef's Table as much as the next Netflix-watching dude, there's a lot to make fun of.

I’ve been giggling at my desk all morning watching this Portlandia sketch parody the show's stylistic tendencies in under two minutes. Fred Armisen plays Francis Kuko, a man with a vision; he's the proprietor of an “airport-style sushi” restaurant. What follows is a send-up of Chef's Table that's no longer than a minute and a half, and, well, it’s perfect. Have a look. Happy Thursday.

How much do you love Chef's Table? Let us know in the comments.

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.


Kate Z. March 26, 2017
Really enjoyed this. Note to the poster, though, you mean "enviably," not "enviously."
tamater S. March 24, 2017
kattykathy March 5, 2017
I love this as I never get the high end anymore (though I love watching it). It allows me to at least be on the HILARIOUS end and remember the REAL end.
Alisha March 5, 2017
This is absolutely hilarious! Bonus: the word "kuko" means "airport" in Japanese.
Kelley C. March 3, 2017
As someone who lives in Portland this is a double whammy of satire! @mer you're right......where are the tweezers?!?!
mer March 3, 2017
Brilliant! THe only thing missing is a close up shot of the chef cooking with tweezers :-)
tamater S. March 24, 2017
Hahaha, yes, and with those tweezers, bent way over, hovering intently, while laying down one strand of chive for garnish. :-)
JanieMac March 3, 2017
love it! My local supermarket in Dublin has nailed it too, but without the proper soundtrack.
Alexandra S. March 2, 2017
This is the best ever. Can't stop giggling either. Thanks for sharing!
Liz March 2, 2017
I do like Chef's table for exactly the things you are making fun of. And this video nails the concept!!!!
Whiteantlers March 2, 2017
Fantastic! Chef's Table is one of my pre-bedtime soothers when I am full up on bloody, violent European cop/detective series. I think Trader Joe's has the equivalent of 'airport sushi.'
Alex W. March 2, 2017
I love chefs table and this is a genius mockery of it! Hats off to whoever made it!