A Cut Above: David Gelb's "Chef's Table"

© Martin B. Meyer

A Netflix documentary series from the director of the acclaimed Jiro Dreams of Sushi follows the stories of the world's best and most inventive chefs.

“I believe strongly that good cooking is physical—it demands a kind of conditioning,” says New York chef Dan Barber as he runs past a stone wall in the New York countryside in an episode of Chef’s Table, David Gelb’s lavish, just-released six-part documentary series on Netflix. A rousing rendition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons cues the opening credits. It’s a typical poetic start to an episode. The program—far more refined than the current slew of roughly chopped, food-fetishizing TV shows—is a follow-up to Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the young filmmaker’s award-winning feature debut. Each episode tells the story of a visionary chef, from Argentina’s Francis Mallmann to Italy’s Massimo Bottura. Gelb grew up in a food-obsessed home: His mom developed recipes for cookbooks; his dad, as director of the Metropolitan Opera, took him around the world to great restaurants. “I love shooting the beauty footage of food,” Gelb says. “As soon as the take is over, I get to eat.”