Taste the Nation & Betty

Padma Lakshmi’s new show Taste the Nation on Hulu, is an extremely smart and thoughtful look at American cuisine and the American Experience. She profiles different immigrant communities and how their food shaped our culture. While it very easily could have devolved into stereotypical explanations of immigration, it is really insightful and sincere. She focuses one episode on Mexican immigrants in El Paso and German immigrants in Milwaukee the next. She understands the complexities of the American Experience better than most, and uses that to her advantage.

Trailer for Taste the Nation

Padma is also an excellent interviewer, which elevates the show. She is not concerned with being performative, and focuses on letting her subjects speak. This allows the complexities in each of these communities and situations to come to light, rather than her injecting her preconceived notions into each situation. The nuances and specificity the show gets into with each community allows each to shine. This show is a much needed exploration of the moment our country is in, and the cuisine that inspires it. A-

Trailer for Betty

Very few shows remind me of why I fell in love with skateboarding as a middle schooler. Betty, HBO’s spinoff of Skate Kitchen, does. It is so much fun to be with these girls in New York, watching them skate and navigate a city with surprises on every corner.

It is an ode to living in New York as well as being a teen in a city that is vibrant with activity. It also captures their spirits while also telling important stories. One about police violence and power and another #MeToo story. It does this in a genuine way while still managing to be light on its feet. At six 30-minute episode, it is a low commitment show that is full of excitement. I absolutely love the show and recommend it highly. B+

Melissa King’s Dominance on Top Chef

After another amazing season of Top Chef, a new King has been crowned. Melissa King is your Top Chef!

Not only did she win Top Chef she also won fan favorite, because of course she did. Melissa absolutely dominated the competition winning seven elimination challenges, the most ever for a Top Chef contestant. She did this during an All-Stars season! She also managed to make an Italian butcher cry after eating her dessert in the finale.

She was so calm, confident, and brilliant throughout the season, she quickly became undeniable. She took over the competition towards the end, running away with it challenge after challenge. She managed to combine Chinese and Italian cooking in ways that made sense. She cooked her food in ways that pushed th envelope. She is easily one of the most talented chefs to ever compete on the show.

I have never seen a performance quite as phenomenal as Melissa’s. Just an unreal season from her. This was such a fantastic season but it is fitting that the Melissa King is the new Queen of Top Chef. Congratulations!