Ugly Delicious. The name intrigued me, so I pursued further. I read the episode titles and when I saw “Pizza” as the first episode title I knew this show might be for me. I’ll watch anything to learn more about pizza. So despite my food show watching reservations, I watched the first episode while eating dinner. Since then, I’ve turned into an Ugly Delicious enthusiast. I’m actually mulling over an idea for my classroom based on the show. Here’s why:
- Non-linear storytelling – My favorite part of the show is David Chang and his friends visiting different chefs and their locales. The locations range from high-end cuisine, small villages and towns, to someone’s extremely minuscule kitchen (I was seriously impressed by the relative ease the chef threw together a dish in a kitchen with a singular counter top and a modest size oven. You go girl!). The stories weave in and out of each other before all ending with a thoughtful conclusion about human interactions with food.
- Casual Conversations with Artists – In this case, the cuisine tells the artists’ stories. Anyone who enjoys art and/or creates it will appreciate the passion and dedication these chefs have for the art of food making. I personally enjoyed watching them talk about their love of cooking and why. Many of them discuss how their craft relates to their childhood, aspirations, tribulations, and family. “The Homemade” episode expounds on how food brings family together by showing families cooking and eating together.
- An eye-opening education. Each episode is a boat load of information about the history, culture, and stereotypes of food. They explain why people make pizza, tacos, fried, chicken, stir-fry rice (to name a few) a certain way and I must admit it I now want to go back and try certain foods I was too gun shy to try before. Ugly Delicious also brought up different variations of food I never considered and I am eager to food explore after I research a little more.
- Comedic bits. I do like how the show is interspersed with playful segues like a short anime describing David Chang’s first experience with spicy hot fried chicken.
I believe the only downside of the show was the unnecessary language thrown around. Considering how educational it is, I wish there was a way to bleep out the language. The show does a great job informing viewers about the human aspect of food, the rich culture and stories behind food. Food is about connection and experience. At one point, David Chang even mentions the iconic scene of the Pixar movie Ratatouille where one character falls in love with the meal because it reminds him of a pleasant childhood memory.
Ultimately, I love how Ugly Delicious includes conversations with people from different walks of life. Together they enjoy a good meal, ask questions, reflect, and swap stories. I haven’t finished the season yet, but I’m already looking forward to season 2. Meanwhile, there’s definitely time for me to re-watch episodes and figure out how I can visit some of the restaurants I saw on the show! Anyone know where I can try some Korean pizza?