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Netflix is taking a completely new approach to documentaries

There’s no shortage of cooking and food shows on traditional television, but Netflix is taking a different approach from the tried and true formula that most of these shows follow. With Netflix’s first non-fiction series, Chef’s Table, the company isn’t making an exciting travel show, nor is it creating a niche documentary. This is actually Netflix’s first serious attempt at mixing up the non-fiction world altogether with a new formula that blends documentaries with the same draw that makes shows like House of Cards so popular. 

Francis Mallmann lives off the grid. Way off the grid. To find him, you’d have to fly to Argentina, drive 100 miles down a dirt road, and enter the Lago La Plata. You’d cross your fingers, row across the lake, and hope to stumble onto his island. If you found him, he’d be drinking red wine, watching an open fire, and grilling the best lamb you’ve ever eaten. “My big draw in life,” Mallmann might tell you, “since I was very young was freedom. The freedom of believing only in myself and not letting myself be led by anybody. I wanted to be my own. I wanted to do whatever I wanted.” He lives in Patagonia, cooks over an open flame in the snow, and encourages dinner guests to eat outside under a blanket. Mallmann is a badass—and he’s one of the most renowned chefs in the world. He’s also one of six incredible chefs featured in Netflix’s first original non-fiction series, Chef’s Table, that launched at the end of April. You might not be able to fly to Argentina, but you can certainly hear his story on the show. Each episode centers on one chef’s life, style, and artistic inspiration. There’s no host, very little shouting, and a lot of artful close-ups of exquisitely designed meals. It’s unlike any cooking or food show you’ve seen on network TV.

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