by Ayumi Davis / News Editor
In the recently released Netflix series “Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner,” renowned chef David Chang visits four different cities in four different countries with four different celebrities. Chang takes viewers on a cultural and delicious trip through the cities with his friends, leading to laughs, adventure, and an ungodly amount of food.
The series is four episodes long, the first starring comedian Seth Rogen in his hometown of Vancouver, Canada. Next, Chang visits the city of Marrakesh in Morocco with twitter expert Chrissy Teigen. He then visits Los Angeles to hang out with Lena Waithe. Finally, Change wraps up the season by visiting Phnom Penh, Vietnam with comedian Kate McKinnon.
Food featured in the series simply is to die for. While some of the places Chang visits are that of a refined and expensive palate, much of them consist of hole-in-the-walls, small, local businesses that are hidden gems in big cities. Chang and co. also try a variety of foods in each city, from Hawaiian garlic chicken to rösti to tagine (a North African mix of vegetables and meats slow-cooked and named after the dish it’s served in). Viewers see a myriad of representative meals from each city, providing a Thanksgiving feast for the eyes of the viewers and the stomachs of Chang and his friends.
He casually talks to his companions, making for a laidback interview akin to a conversation amongst friends. This laid back atmosphere that Chang provides allows for his counterparts, as well as the audience, to relax. While viewers learn about the culture and food that each city has to offer, they are also offered a look into the inner workings of the people Chang travels with. Seeing the celebrities in places they find familiar allows for facts, tidbits, and profound thoughts with each of Chang’s friends.
Background into the culture gives viewers the opportunity to learn about each city in general, how a particular aspect of culture shapes the food. This, in turn, provides viewers a thorough understanding of a dish beyond its taste and ingredients. Those watching are able to learn about how Cambodia’s violent past shaped its food, or how old cinema’s fondness of Morocco provided an outlet for tourism. These facts and findings give a more well-rounded trip to those watching.
The cinematography was surprisingly pleasing to the eyes. A nice aspect of the series was that there skits at the beginning of each episode, fun little scenes in which Chang would introduce the location, providing a chuckle, as well as a pretty good hook to get viewers’ eyes glued to their screens. Viewers are provided with gratuitous shots of everyday life in the cities, markets overflowing with people bustling about, kitchens filled with clangs and sizzling, ancient architectures away from the cities. Videos and pictures taken by Chang on his phone are intermingled into the episodes, adding an air of authenticity and emphasizing the casual approach to the filming, as well the genuine enjoyment from having these experiences from him that seeps through the screen.
Of course, being a food series, there are plenty of shots that consist of food, the process in which it is made, the serving of it, and rightly so, the indulgence of it. The close up, pans and zoom-ins are enough to make the mouth water, as if one could smell and taste the foods that he/she is watching so intently. The food and the way it’s presented through the screen is enough to make someone hungry right there and then, even if they had just eaten moments before.
“Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner” provides a vicarious way for foodies and wanderlusters alike to experience the cities of Vancouver, Marrakesh, Los Angeles, and Phnom Penh through the eyes (and mouths) of a chef and his famous friends. Chang and his friends bond and talk through the common medium of delicious food, eating and seeing their way through multiple cities to arrive to the belly-bursting, food coma-inducing end to a feast and entertaining journey.
9 out of 10 torches.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment