Food was a source of comfort for many of us during the pandemic — not just in the form of soul–warming takeout food but also as the subject of binge–worthy documentaries. Canadian food documentaries helped satiate our appetite for connection to the people and stories behind our meals at a time when we couldn’t dine out at our favourite restaurants. From intriguing ingredient investigations to chef–driven travel narratives, we’ve rounded up the best food documentaries from the past year, as well as upcoming docs that already have our mouths watering.
When we couldn’t dine out, we turned to these Canadian food documentaries to entertain and inspire us.
Canadian food documentaries we loved in 2021
First We Eat
In First We Eat, filmmaker (and Canada’s Best New Restaurants panelist) Suzanne Crocker examines the value of eating local in a context that’s far removed from our neighbourhood farmers’ markets. Crocker captures her family as they attempt to spend a year eating only locally sourced food. The twist, however, is what makes this one of the best food documentaries released in recent years: The family lives in Dawson City, Yukon, less than 300 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle. The doc delves deep into themes of food security and sustainability, as the Crockers face the challenges of learning how to hunt, forage and fish in extreme conditions. First We Eat is available via Vimeo on Demand, iTunes and Apple TV.
The Last Baron
The Last Baron is a quirky investigation into the Burger Baron, the iconic Alberta fast–food chain that, it turns out, is not really a chain at all. Directed by Omar Mouallem, a journalist and son of a Burger Baron restaurant owner, the film chronicles the unlikely evolution from a fast–food chain to a collection of around 20 independent restaurants with the same name after the original franchise went bankrupt. The doc digs into Lebanese–Canadian culture, Western Canadian culinary history and the origins of a fast–food cult following. Find The Last Baron streaming among the free food documentaries on CBC Gem.
Cheese: A Love Story
Cheese: A Love Story shines the spotlight on the world’s most diverse dairy product while also delivering a welcome dose of travel escapism. Host Afrim Pristine, the world’s youngest maître fromage (cheese master) and owner of Toronto’s Cheese Boutique, journeys to meet makers, farmers, chefs and other cheese aficionados in destinations spanning from Greece to Switzerland. The docuseries shows the diverse ways cheese is made and enjoyed in different cultures, and gives us a glimpse into why it provokes so much passion for so many people across the globe. One of the best food documentaries on Amazon Prime, the full first season of Cheese: A Love Story is available to watch through STACKTV.
Canadian food documentaries to devour in 2022
Flat Out Food
Flat Out Food continues its celebration of Saskatchewan’s distinctive culinary landscape in its upcoming second season. The series explores the province’s food through the lens of individual ingredients, from fiddleheads to bison, with each episode introducing us to the local farmers, chefs, foragers and other producers involved in delivering them to our plates. Season 2 will showcase more of host (and Canada’s Best New Restaurants panelist) Jenn Sharp’s travels across Saskatchewan, where she meets some of the province’s most interesting culinary figures, as well as highlighting wider issues of food security and sustainability. Based on the success of Season 1, Flat Out Food is sure to be one of the most popular food documentaries in Canada when it drops on CityTV in March 2022.
Chef Secrets: The Science of Cooking
Chef Secrets: The Science of Cooking explores the role chemistry, microbiology and physics play in culinary mastery. Guest host and molecular researcher Anthony Morgan puts his science background to the test in new ways as he learns how to perfect dishes ranging from mashed potatoes to ice cream with the help of experts in culinary science. In addition to fun science facts, the show will deliver takeaways on how we can use our newfound knowledge to hone our home cooking. The doc begins streaming on CBC Gem in January 2022.
Trailer not yet available.
Moosemeat & Marmalade
One of Canada’s longest–running food documentaries, Moosemeat and Marmalade returns for a sixth season of investigating culinary culture and traditions. The docuseries follows bush cook Art Napoleon, an Indigenous chef of Cree and Dane Zaa descent, and fine dining chef Dan Hayes as they learn new cooking and harvesting methods from local experts around the globe. Previous seasons have featured locations at home and abroad but the pandemic kept filming of the sixth season here in Canada. With the news of the past year pushing Canadians to consider how to better support Indigenous peoples, the timing is perfect for a season that focuses on food culture in Indigenous communities across western and central Canada. Season six is scheduled to premiere on APTN in spring 2022.