The Mind of a Chef

Watch The Mind of a Chef

  • TV-PG
  • 2012
  • 6 Seasons
  • 8.0  (1,434)

The Mind of a Chef is a culinary television series that delves deep into the creative process of some of the world's most innovative and celebrated chefs. The show takes viewers on a culinary journey of exploration and discovery, revealing the unique philosophies, personalities, and techniques of renowned chefs, such as Gabrielle Hamilton and Anthony Bourdain.

The show's format is unconventional, combining a traditional cooking show with bits of travelogue, musing on food and cooking, and interviews with other chefs, farmers, and food writers. With Bourdain as the executive producer, The Mind of a Chef has an informal and unscripted feel, simulating a more artistic and organic way of cooking that favors spontaneity and creativity over precision and measured outcomes.

Each season of The Mind of a Chef focuses on a single chef or culinary style. Hamilton's season, for instance, is a revealing and intimate look into her process, tracing her background as a writer and her work as the owner of Prune, a small but highly respected restaurant in the East Village of New York City. Hamilton's episodes are shot in a documentary-style, exploring her love of cooking rooted in tradition, the special relationships she has formed with her staff and customers, and how she views food as a sensory experience that connects people.

Other seasons of the show cover diverse and intriguing subjects, such as Sean Brock's exploration of Southern cuisine, featuring his deep fascination with the ingredients and cooking techniques of the region, and Edward Lee's musings on the fusion of Korean, Southern, and French cuisines, in which he reflects on his own identity as a Chef, a Korean American, and a Southerner.

Throughout the show, we experience the protagonists' highs and lows, their obsessions and inspirations, as they reveal the mystery and beauty of creating gastronomic masterpieces out of simple ingredients. There is a particular emphasis on the culture, history, and social meanings associated with food, rather than just the technical aspects of cooking. The show's goal is not only to teach viewers how to prepare food but also to instill a love for the art and culture of cooking that goes beyond the kitchen.

The Mind of a Chef is a highly stylized show with visually arresting cinematography that highlights the beauty of ingredients and the cooking process. The episodes combine original footage with archival material, artful animation, and a constantly changing mixture of music, poetry, and storytelling. The show offers a rare and intimate glimpse into the inner workings of renowned chefs, elevating cooking to an experimental art form that can rival painting, sculpture, or music.

Overall, The Mind of a Chef is a show that celebrates culinary creativity and diversity. It is an ode to the art, passion, and talent that chefs bring to their craft, as well as an exploration of the cultural, social, and psychological factors that shape their culinary sensibilities. Its mix of gastronomy, travel, and philosophy is highly entertaining and educational, appealing to everyone who loves food, culture, and creative expression.

The Mind of a Chef is a series that is currently running and has 6 seasons (83 episodes). The series first aired on November 9, 2012.

The Mind of a Chef
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6. Unexpected
December 5, 2017
Danny Bowien does not cook authentic Chinese cuisine, but he cooks genuine Danny Bowien cuisine – food that is inspired by his love of Szechuan food and New York City and his family and new experiences. He is 100% himself, and is constantly in search and awe of others who are the same.
5. Risk
November 28, 2017
Without risk, there would not be the valuable by-products of risk – success and failure. Danny Bowien has learned that there is power in taking chances, and risk can be virtuous when it comes to navigating the creative process. Now more than ever, he has gained confidence in taking these risks, and grown more comfortable with both of its outcomes.
4. Family
November 21, 2017
For better or worse, we do not get to choose the family into which we’re born. In Danny’s case, nor did he get to choose the family that adopted him. He had no say in where he would live or how he’d be raised. After his mother’s death he felt a bizarre combination of liberation mixed with guilt, and he desperately wanted to hold on to – or recreate – the familial feel of togetherness.
3. Mentor
November 14, 2017
Danny has been to China several times, but he’s visited Chengdu (the geographical and spiritual capital of Szechuan food) only once. He’s returning here to reconnect with the place, the food and the person – renowned chef Yu Bo – that have influenced him the most. Szechuan food has been the greatest source of inspiration for Danny, and consequently his life. This episode is about the dishes, cooking methods, unique flavors and stories (both his and Yu Bo’s) that have driven Danny on a quest to master this style of food.
2. Threshold
November 14, 2017
Danny spends the bulk of his time obsessing over the future – there is urgency in him that needs to be on top of everything, ahead of every trend, aware of what lies beyond the curve. But it would be impossible to know where he’s going without first examining where he came from, and from where that drive was borne. Once he committed to leaving Oklahoma, Danny emerged in San Francisco as a human tabula rasa, open to all of the experiences the city laid before him. It was here that Danny formed who he was as a person and as a chef, and the grassroots movement of Mission Street Food blossomed into what is now his greatest success.
1. Genesis
November 14, 2017
Nobody gets a say in the life they’re born into. Thrust into a body, a family, a country and a history, the story of our lives are merely the sum of an endless combination of circumstantial factors determining who we will know, how we will fare, who we will become. But for those adopted, their origins are complicated as the where they were born fuses with the world in which they’re raised. Danny Bowien was born in Korea but only spent the first 3 months of his infant life there. He was adopted and raised by American parents in Oklahoma — religious, hard-working folks – and instead of a life in Seoul, Danny grows up in suburban middle-America. Adapting to this life was easy, for it was all he knew, but he constantly carried traces of his past with him, superficially and also buried deep below.
Where to Watch The Mind of a Chef
The Mind of a Chef is available for streaming on the PBS website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch The Mind of a Chef on demand at Apple TV Channels, Amazon Prime, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, Apple TV, Tubi TV and Pluto TV.
  • Premiere Date
    November 9, 2012
  • IMDB Rating
    8.0  (1,434)