The Next Thing You Eat Review: The Future of Food
David Chang, chef, restaurateur and culinary influencer, takes on the role of our culinary conscience in “The Next Thing You Eat,” a six-part Hulu series with an integrated audience of over seven billion earthlings. Who is not interested in food? Or the issues raised in the show? Food exploitation applications. The disappearance of catering employees. The disappearance of restaurants. Meat grown in the laboratory. And the inescapable logic of vegetarianism – something omnivorous Mr. Chang recognizes makes sense. “I just don’t have that kind of moral integrity yet,” he concedes. If that doesn’t gain her sympathy, nothing will.
The next thing you eat
Mr. Chang doesn’t pretend to be a know-it-all during the series produced with Oscar-winning actor Morgan Neville (“20 feet to fame”), despite his stature in the food industry (and on television focused on food). Founder of Momofuku, creator of trends and its various spinoffs, he admits in Episode 1 – which is largely devoted to the dangers posed to restaurants and the kitchen itself by the rise of delivery apps and robotics – that he himself missed the boat when it comes to the current. takeaway condition. And that there may be no turning back. It may be a predominantly urban problem – few places depend as much on deliveries as, say, New York and Los Angeles – but Mr. Chang sees automation as a threat, ultimately, to creative cuisine and independence within the food industry as a whole. . He doesn’t quite want to admit it, but when it comes to convenience and consistency, with McDonald’s being the obvious example, Mr. Chang’s kind of dream is doomed to fail.
But so is the American dream, he says, because the food industry is the main provider of entry-level jobs. It’s a world people really move in, like his immigrant father did, Chang tells us. With robots doing food preparation and delivery, a traditional source of low-level jobs will disappear. The same will be true of the human element in food preparation, although there are people who claim the opposite, including people who make robots.
The imagery is dashing, the tone is often humorous, and the food prepared throughout the show is often mouthwatering – it’s hard to make real food mouthwatering, which is why there are food stylists. But “The Next Thing You Eat” seems photographically honest. It’s also honest about what’s on the menu for the future. As someone who has munched on fried grasshoppers, I can attest to their nutty goodness, but many people will shy away from even eating insects, despite their much touted nutritional benefits. Mr. Chang is careful to point out a lot of our bias against / attraction to certain foods, knowing that it won’t necessarily help anyone pass a meal at the Kentucky Fried Cockroach of the future.
Bugs don’t appear until Episode 6, however, and while eating bugs is perhaps the most sensational streak in the series, there are other details that could be just as off-putting. Producing real meat – made from animals and grown from cells – may be a sustainable alternative to factory farming and the environmental damage it brings, but why? Especially when there are plant-based alternatives that serve much of the purpose of real beef, just one element in the elaborate construction of the classic American burger of salty, spicy, sour, sweet and basically a vehicle for condiments. People are going to discuss it, but that’s one of the strengths of the show. Mr. Chang takes us to look at food and food service differently, and in ways that are not always pleasant, like watching someone else eat. But overall, it’s exciting, extremely informative and even, at least at times, appetizing.
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