For a chef as accomplished as Francis Mallmann, you wouldn’t think an hourlong episode of a then unheard-of show could change his life. But it did. Years after he appeared on the first season of David Gelb’s Chef’s Table on Netflix, the Argentine guru was still being approached about it. “I don’t know how many millions of people saw that, but it has changed my life,” Mallmann told Robb Report. “We get hundreds of messages every day in social media, letters, people who say, ‘I want to go and work, I want to go and learn, I want to change my life.’ So, yes, there’s been a big change.”
The series with enough visual and storytelling flair that it could push Mallmann’s notoriety to a whole new level has just dropped the trailer for its sixth season. Premiering on February 22, the latest edition of the Emmy Award–winning series will feature Sean Brock, Mashama Bailey, Asma Khan, and Dario Cecchini.
With the selection of these four culinarians, it appears that the criticisms of past seasons has been absorbed by Gelb and his collaborators on the project. A caricature of Chef’s Table had emerged where the show was about a camera crew lovingly following a tortured white male genius as he made his precious food. After multiple episodes of that, the format felt like it was getting a little stale.
But food can be about so much more than the craft behind it—it can reveal something about the culture it’s produced in. For example, in season five, Cristina Martinez in Philadelphia showed us the plight of the undocumented migrants who work at, and sometimes run, the restaurants we love.
This season Brock looks like he’ll discuss how the work nearly killed him; Bailey’s opening of the Grey in Savannah in what used to be a segregated Greyhound station will explore the intersection of race and restaurants; Indian-born chef Asma Khan of Darjeeling Express in London—a restaurant staffed entirely by women—will delve into gender in the industry and society; and the famed Italian butcher Cecchini reveals the practices that led him to be an advocate of the Slow Food movement. The trailer is a promising sign that this season of Chef’s Table will provide more engaging stories than in years past.