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Our Favorite Five Food Shows on Hulu

November 14th, 2011 by Hulu Blog

It’s almost Thanksgiving and we’re doing that thing where we eat considerably less and watch the Food Network all week to prepare for it. In an effort to commiserate with one another instead of killing each other out of sheer hunger, it’s Food Week here on the Hulu blog. We’ll be bringing some very good food-related videos to your attention. This is the best way to start.—Ed.

Three Sheets

For some reason, travel shows tend to have this very heavy haze of 90s all over it. I don’t know why, but I think you know what I’m talking about. In fact, here’s the standard checklist for a travel show:

1) Grab a host and immediately throw him into some shorts from your dad’s closet.

2) Take a camera that has that 90s filter I was talking about over the lens.

3) Include some advice that is only relevant to the host and leave it in the final edit. Ex: “Make sure to bring scorpion venom on your trip to Camp David.”

4) Talk about the natives like they are aliens.

Well, Three Sheets does none of this. It’s a guy (Zane Lampley) walking around countries and becoming very good friends with people with a decent camera and normal people jeans.

He covers a lot of ground, too, staggering around side-to-side like that.

Oh, sorry, forgot to mention: He does this by drinking whatever the locals drink at whatever city he visits. This obviously makes the show funnier, but it’s surprisingly informative. Did you know that beer was banned in Iceland until 1989? That’s true.

He also gets to bigger truths, like how people actually react. He gets locals in bars to relax somehow, to open up and say how they actually feel about where they’re from. I don’t know how he does it. It’s probably his personality.—Ben Collins

Kitchen Confidential

Loosely based on the best selling Anthony Bourdain novel of the same name, “Kitchen Confidential” follows the life of the prodigal chef Jack Bourdain, played superbly by a pre-“Hangover” Bradley Cooper. The show begins with Jack being asked to run a restaurant called Nolita using his old crew and new waiting staff, but without his old drunken habits such as misuse of company property (sex with girls in the refrigerator, using the kitchen for gambling purposes, etc.), and issues with time management (binge drinking, and sleeping with the owner’s daughter). He had hit rock bottom, but he is a new man, fresh out of rehab, and this is his shot to run a restaurant again, sober, and make it the way he has always wanted. Cooper plays Jack perfectly, creating his own “neurotic chef” image instead of mirroring the one portrayed in Anthony Bourdain’s book.

Every time I have asked a person if they have heard of “Kitchen Confidential” they immediately assume I am speaking of the book, if they even have a clue as to what I am speaking about in the first place. I try to explain when the show aired, or even what it ran in the schedule with, but sadly I am unable to do so. To be honest it wasn’t until Hulu came along that I even discovered that this show made more than two episodes (the show was cancelled after 4 episodes scattered amongst third season Arrested Development re-runs and the World Series).

Early critical reviews were mixed yet on the encouraging side, people saw it’s potential, and even Anthony Bourdain said he had liked what he saw so far. They were able to gather an excellent ensemble cast with Cooper as the lead, including the hilarious John Cho (Harold and Kumar) as the seafood chef Tommy, Jaime King (My Bloody Valentine 3D!) as the kooky, hot, yet not too annoying, waitress Tanya, John Francis Daily from Freaks and Geeks fame as the bumbling new chef Jim, Bonnie Sommerville (NYPD Blue, The OC) as the power hungry daughter of the owner and head waitress Mimi, and probably the most amazing part of the cast, the hard-nosed, no bullshit owner of Nolita, Oscar nominated Frank FREAKING Langella- AMAZING! Those are just to name a few as well. Everyone else definitely comes to the plate with their performances and delivers on every episode.

Thanks to the worldwide web and DVD this show, as well as many others that were cancelled too soon, live on. But if you have never watched the show, and you like food and hilarious situations, I definitely think you should at least watch the first few episodes. If you don’t get hooked, start quoting your favorite character, or at least get hungry, then watch it for me and tell yourself you did a good deed today.—Gabe Pasillas

Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

Food shows are awesome for making us hungry and suggesting what we need to eat someday, but have you ever stopped to think that some of the harm that they can cause? I used to go to this barbeque joint with the tastiest pulled pork sandwich that made it well worth the drive out of the city. I called it “destination food.” One day I pack up the car for my tasty journey only to find my beloved restaurant more congested than the freeway I had to endure to get there. “Why are all these people here?” I asked the neck of the man into whom I was being pressed due to the crowd. “They showcased this place on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives last week, so everybody probably came to check it out. I know I did!” he excitedly responded in a manner that made me hate him, and think Et tu, Guy Fieri? An hour later, satiated from my Q, my urge to create a fatwa against Guy and his bleached spikes subsided, as he was doing God’s work letting the good people of America know about all the epicurean delights that are theirs to explore. Just stay the heck away from my schwarma shop, OK, Fieri? Oh, and in case you’re wondering where the barbecue spot is, you’ll have to figure that out on your own. It’s takes long enough to get a sandwich as it is.—Martin Moakler

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

Where do chefs eat? The Best Thing I Ever Ate will tell you. It’s refreshing to hear the pros gush about other people’s food and their restaurant food finds — especially when they’re from almost-off-the-grid spots, like Tyler Florence discovering the best grilled cheese in a gift shop in the middle of the woods. Plus, the shameless close-up shots of food render it quintessential food porn.—Sheila Dichoso

Happy Endings

Happy Endings is not only an “am-eh-zing” show, it also deals with a subject very near and dear to our hearts here at Hulu: food trucks. When the lovable Dave gets left at the altar, he reevaluates his life and decides to follow his dreams of running his own gourmet food truck, “Steak Me Home Tonight,” on which he makes delicious steak sandwiches like the Steak-tanic, as seen below. Whereas the food trucks parked just outside the front door of Hulu HQ have definitely put a strain on my wallet and waistline at times, I appreciate that it reflects the ingenuity of our generation. Why do we have to go and sit down in some stuffy restaurant and spend a lot of money and tip when we can get the fusion flavors of the world in the fresh air for a couple of bucks? In a time when people lament the fewer opportunities we have in this countries, Steve’s food truck demonstrates that we have different opportunities available to us; it’s just up to us to figure out what they are.—Martin Moakler