Let’s be honest, everyone is a foodie. One way or another, you have a certain obsession or appreciation for a particular kind of food. It could be because of the smell, the way it looks, the unlimited amount of ways you can transform an ingredient into something completely different, or just that specific flavour that excites your mouth and makes you feel a certain way. There’s so many cooking shows on television, and with streaming services jumping on that bandwagon to create their own versions of ‘Hell’s Kitchen‘ or ‘Top Chef‘, the competition is ever changing. So what makes Hulu’s Original Series ‘Eater’s Guide To The World‘ stand out from all those other ones?
First of all, it’s narrated by Emmy-winning (voice) actor Maya “Bubblebath” Rudolph. The way she’s capable to sell what’s on screen just by using her voice, shows she was the obvious choice to give it all that extra bit of spice. Besides giving commentary on what’s shown or said, she also provides useful information. The format of the seven-part series is that every episode explores a city in a different way, discovering the most surprising culinary destinations, discussing history, tradition, culture and hot spots that are worth mentioning, all while drinking and dining with the locals along the way. Extraordinary people, ranging from chefs to food critics, to the regular Joe or drag queen talk about their own love for food.
The 30 minute episodes also work like the ultimate American foodie travel guide. The first episode, “Dining Alone in the Pacific Northwest” takes us on a day in the life of food critic Karen Brooks, in Portland, Oregon, before moving on to other parts of Oregon in which we discover different cuisines and mindful eating with Dr. Suh. The documentary style of film making is perfectly balanced with the food photography, that showcases the work that goes into each dish that’s presented to the viewer, filled with texture and its vibrant aesthetic. The unique locations make you want to visit them ASAP, until you realize we’re not allowed to travel due to the ongoing pandemic. ‘Eater’s Guide To The World‘ is like a sensory experience that makes you crave seconds.
Even though we can’t taste or smell the food, the series succeeds in making you hungry like never before. I often caught myself licking my lips, while hearing the passionate Moroccan meat enthusiasts talk about the their authentic cuisine while strolling down Quartier Habous in Casablanca, or with my mouth wide open when Miz Cracker guides us from behind-the-scenes at one of her drag performances right to “empanada mama” in Manhattan, where her and fellow queens Jan Sport and Izzy Uncut enjoy a midnight snack. It’s the variety of personalities in combination with unexpected food choices that make ‘Eater’s Guide To The World‘ worth paying attention to.
Episode four takes us deep into the jungle of Costa Rica, where we finally get a look at some vegan cuisine (there’s barely any coverage on vegan and vegetarian food throughout the series), and that coming from a sikwa (non-indigenous person, in Bribri) who’s made it his life goal to honour the traditions of indigenous cuisine, that’s often forgotten or completely disrespected. It’s these kind of stories that turn the series to a higher temperature. The remaining episodes explore the bond between Angelinas and their cars in regards to meals that are being eaten on the road; horticulturism and the history of corn in and around Tijuana, Mexico; and some last minute dining options when dealing with layovers or flight cancellations in and around the US’ major airline hubs.
The overall critique I have is that the majority of the episodes take place in the US, where the series’ title literally mentions “the world”. Luckily, the United States is built on immigrants and thus their kitchen has been influenced by foods from all over the planet. Rudolph helps the on screen connoisseurs with the viewers’ culinary education, making the series fun with her amusing commentary and most of all, accessible for all audiences.
Comfort food or snobby high class dining experience, Hulu Original Series ‘Eater’s Guide To The World‘ has it (almost) all. It’s easy to digest television, capable to teach you a thing or two about international cooking, while exploring good old greasy fast food joints you can’t skip, making your mouth water for a second season that’ll hopefully take us to other corners of our ever expanding culinary world.
All 7 episodes of ‘Eater’s Guide To The World’ will be available on Hulu, November 11.
Hulu Review – ‘Eater’s Guide To The World’ Season 1
Reviewed online (screener provided by Hulu), November 2, 2020. Rating: TBC. Running time: 7 x 30 min.
PRODUCTION: A Hulu presentation and release of a Vox Media Studios, EATER production. Executive producers: Lauren Cynamon, Chad Mumm, Mark W. Olsen, Amanda Kludt.
CREW: Directors: Alex Craig, Ari Fishman. Editing: Tyler Christie, David Feinberg, Carlo-Stanley Aguilera, Tat Ho Yee. Cinematography: Billy Voermann, Bernardo García Elguézabal, Igor Kropotov.
WITH: Maya Rudolph (voice), Karen Brooks, Dr. Suh, Miz Cracker, Jan Sport, Izzy Uncut.