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.
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.