Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner slate

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Dept. of Food and Eating


Food shows are getting out of hand. Specifically, the food shows we now get on Netflix are getting out of hand. From food competitions, to Taco Chronicles, to Chef’s Table, to everything else in between, there are just so many variations on variations and new takes on new takes.

Phil Rosenthal eating a street cart hot dog.

But here’s the thing. I like food shows. And I actually do like some of the food shows that Netflix have been producing. Somebody Feed Phil with Phil Rosenthal (the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond) is a wonderful series, especially because Phil himself is an absolute joy to watch. He is like a kid in a candy store everywhere he goes. His excitement for gelato in Venice, or tacos in Mexico City, is just unbridled and infectious. 

Chef Roy Choi, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jon Favreau cooking on The Chef Show

The Chef Show with Jon Favreau and chef Roy Choi is another favourite. Where Somebody Feed Phil speaks to the culture and society of a city and how that affects the food, The Chef Show approaches it from the perspective of food, and how it brings friends and family together. From cooking with famous friends like Seth Rogen to exploring LA’s food truck culture, the show is really about how food, both in its preparation and in its eating, can build and strengthen relationships.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner however is something else. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner is a 4 episode series on Netflix hosted by chef David Chang as he, along with some famous friends, eat and explore different cultures and cuisines like locals. From Vancouver with Seth Rogen, to Marrakech with Chrissy Teigen, Los Angeles with Lena Waithe, and finally Phnom Penh with Kate McKinnon, the series somewhat spans the globe as Chang and his friends hang out, eat food, and chat. 

Or smoke marijuana in the case of Seth Rogen.

Seth Rogen and host David Chang in Vancouver

Despite it’s name, however, the series doesn’t really focus on the food. There is an attempt at exploration of culture through food, but it feels cursory at best. (Phil really does it better.) Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner feels too much like an excuse for David Chang to go globe-trotting with his famous friends, and although the series is watchable, I’m mostly left asking why? 

For most of the series, Chang and his friends just wander about their city of choice, and talk about themselves and each other.  They do a little nod to the place that they’re eating in, or the cultures that brought them there, but that’s about it. There is no exploration of the kitchen or the ingredients involved, just a stoned Chang and Rogen at the back of a bakery stuffing their faces with freshly baked jam donuts. Or Chang and Teigen stopping by a small hole in the wall with a literal hole in the ground oven and waxing lyrical on how delicious the food is and “oh look we ordered too much so let’s have the crew come in and help us finish all this food”.

Chrissy Teigen and chef David Chang in Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

The thing that disappoints me the most is that Chang is a chef. And a good one at that. But this series just feels like he isn’t that curious about all these different cooking techniques and styles from around the world. He’s just hanging out with famous people. And for some reason we’ve been invited to come have a look-see.

There are also moments when the series feels under-produced. Take the Phnom Penh episode, for example, with the vegetarian Kate McKinnon. They don’t use her dietary needs as a reason to focus the episode on fresh Asian vegetables or what vegetarian options there are in Cambodia. Instead, Chang just goes ahead and orders fish while his guest has whatever vegetables are on the menu. She enjoys it, sure (but then again she is also an accomplished actress, so maybe not), but it just feels like a missed opportunity to not explore what vegetarianism means in a different cultural context.

Comedian Kate McKinnon in Phnom Penh in Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

It’s hard to not compare Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner with Somebody Feed Phil or The Chef Show. Especially since this series sets out to be an amalgamation of the two. It’s like a producer saw those and thought: “What would we get if we put those things together?”

What we got was a pale imitation. As Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner fails in capturing the passion of the former and the geekiness of the latter. Again, it isn’t terrible. It’s just that in this current glut of food shows, I don’t think we needed this one.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner is available now on Netflix.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Netflix, Season 1, 4 Episodes
Executive Producers: David Chang and Morgan Neville
Cast: David Chang, Seth Rogen, Chrissy Teigen, Lena Waithe, Kate McKinnon

Bahir likes to review movies because he can watch them at special screenings and not have to interact with large groups of people who may not agree with his idea of what a movie going experience is. Bahir likes jazz, documentaries, Ken Burns, and summer blockbuster movies. He really hopes that the HBO MAX Green Lantern series will help the character be cool again. Also don’t get him started on Jason Momoa’s Aquaman (#NotMyArthurCurry).

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