The 12 Best Food Shows And Movies Streaming On Max

In case you haven't heard, HBO Max and Discovery+ are joining forces to form Max. Now you can get all those cool movies and HBO originals as well as tons of great documentaries and reality shows in one convenient streaming service. While there are plenty of nature shows and fantasy dramas available, here at Tasting Table, we're all about the food. The good news is there are plenty of foodie options to go around, from cooking shows to cooking competitions and original scripted dramas to food-themed movies. There are even a few documentaries.

It doesn't matter if you're in the mood to learn a new recipe, learn about a famous chef, or just watch a delightful food-oriented story that will have you running to the fridge; we're here to help. So, grab some popcorn, your favorite candy, and something to wash it all down with, and sit back as we list our top 12 picks of what to watch and drool over when Max takes over the airwaves.


The 2009 movie "Julie & Julia" focuses on Julia Child's time in France with her husband, Paul, where she discovered her love for French cooking while she created her first cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." The movie ends with the publication of said book. But what happened next? How did she end up charming housewives all across America from the comfort of their own homes? That's where the TV series "Julia" picks up.

Following the cookbook's huge success and Child's move back to the States, Julia embarks on a journey to turn her famous cookbook into the hit PBS show she was known for in her later years. It's a fun and engaging series that gives you more insight into who both Julia and Paul were during a time when feminism was just beginning and television was in its infancy. Each episode is aptly titled with a food from the premiere "Omelette" to the delightful "Chocolate souffle."

While a portion of each episode is dedicated to the recipe in its title, the show is so much more than that. It really delves into what Child and her friends and family go through as she goes from humble author to famous cooking show host. There may only be eight episodes, but each one is a fun and delicious time. With a second season already in production, this is one show that's definitely worth grabbing a knife and fork for.

Hungry for Answers

Caroline Randall Williams loves food. But she doesn't just like to eat good food; as a cookbook author, novelist, and activist, Williams likes to get to the heart of where those recipes come from and the history behind it all. "I'm exploring the intersections of race, food, and culture because behind every good food story, is a black story," says Williams. 

Executive-produced by Viola Davis, "Hungry for Answers" may only be four episodes, but each of those four 25-minute episodes covers a lot of territory. Throughout the show, Williams dives into the history behind Nashville's hot chicken and whether or not Jack Daniels is black. She covers sugar and even devotes an episode to the black farmers in America and how they started and where they're going. She has no fear of covering tough topics that other food shows might shy away from because she believes in showcasing the black community through their stories, culture, and food.

The Automat

How many times have you been sitting in a waiting room or at a gas station and that wave of hunger flows over you? You just have to have a bag of chips, candy bar, or soda immediately. Luckily you look over your shoulder, and there it stands — that beautiful rectangular piece of metal full of dime store (okay, maybe dollar store) confections waiting to be plucked. You get up, saunter over, drop in your dollar, and with the quick push of a couple of buttons, you satisfy that hunger. It may not be the best food, but it works.

Well, back in the '30s, '40s, '50s, and '60s, there were restaurants called automats that were part vending machines and part commissary. You grabbed your tray, walked down the aisle, and picked your meal. That's right, a meal! Everything from meatloaf to fried chicken to cherry pie was available through a little window for just a few pennies. You could even get really good coffee for a nickel. Sounds like something out of "The Jetsons," doesn't it? But according to the documentary, "The Automat," it was real life, and everyone from celebrities to the average Joe walked through its doors.

Throughout the 80-minute documentary, several well-known faces go into detail about enjoying many a meal inside. They tell us all about these strange and wonderful restaurants, how they got started, and why in the world they're not around anymore.


Jon Favreau's "Chef" is a heartwarming movie about family, food, and the sacrifices we all have to make in life. Favreau plays Carl Casper, a well-known chef who's finally had enough of his boss at a high-end restaurant. After leaving the distinguished eatery in disgrace, Casper decides to start a food truck with the help of his son and close friend. Starting the food truck not only reignites his passion for cooking but also gives him a chance to share his deep love for food with his son.

If this story seems familiar, that's because it was loosely inspired by celebrity chef and food truck innovator Roy Choi. While Choi was a consultant on the film and Favreau did study cooking techniques under him, the main story, that of a man taking care of his son during his divorce, is deeply personal for the director and star. Since Favreau himself is a child of divorced parents, he intertwined that story with the chef storyline, creating a touching film that fills its audience with emotion, all while making them long for a Cuban sandwich or two.

The Menu

If you're a horror movie fan, "The Menu" will absolutely be your cup of tea. But this isn't a slasher flick. No, this is a sophisticated food drama that takes place at a high-end restaurant located on an isolated island off the coast. Sounds like the perfect setup for a jump-scare kind of film, doesn't it? While you won't be covering your eyes or screaming your lungs out through the film, there are plenty of cringeworthy moments, culinary Easter eggs, and stellar performances.

The movie follows a group of diners the head chef has invited, played masterfully by Ralph Fiennes, to enjoy a special meal he's prepared for some of his favorite clients at his elite eatery, Hawthorne. Each course serves a purpose and comes with an interesting explanation of what it is and why. The plating is stunning, and the food, whose portions are the size of thimbles, are pieces of art. If it weren't for all the blood and murder, we'd actually love to dine there.

The Big Brunch

How many cooking competitions have you watched? There's "Top Chef," "Chopped," "Beat Bobby Flay," "Iron Chef," and so many others; we just can't keep track of them all. Do you have a favorite? Well, now you can add one more to your list: "The Big Brunch." Where other shows focus on desserts, entrées, and everything in between, "The Big Brunch" focuses on, you guessed it, brunch favorites.

Over the course of eight episodes, creator, host, and head judge Dan Levy, along with Will Guidara and Sohla El-Waylly, eat their way through every brunch recipe you can think of, from farm to table to fine dining. There's even a brunch episode dedicated to the holidays. Ten chefs from all over the country, hand-picked by Levy himself, have the opportunity to show off their culinary skills and dreams, all in hopes of winning a $300,000 cash prize. So, since we all love breakfast (or brunch) any time of day, who wouldn't love a show that celebrates that? Especially when there's a little friendly competition involved. We know we're in!

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy

In April 2020, while all of us were stuck at home, Stanley Tucci took to Instagram to show the world how to make a Negroni, and it got social media talking! While some loved watching the suave actor get creative with his cocktail, others were shocked by the big mistake he made. He shook the Negroni instead of stirring it. Then he served it up instead of on the rocks! Bartenders and mixologists alike couldn't contain themselves. But it didn't matter. All that mattered was the number of views he got and how much people were talking about it.

Flash forward to February 2021, and Stanley Tucci had his own show on CNN: "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy." In the show, the actor travels the country discovering and tasting the region's hidden gems. Even though the show was one of CNN's most successful projects and earned two Emmy awards, the network canceled it. But CNN's cost-cutting decision is Discovery+'s gain, and now the dulcet tones of Tucci and his reviews of Italian cuisine can continue to be enjoyed.

The Food that Built America

Have you ever wondered how Milton Hershey came up with the idea for the Hershey bar? Or why the McDonald brothers gave up their million-dollar burger? Thanks to the show "The Food that Built America," you can find out. Part history, part dramatization, this show gets into the nitty gritty of how and when these household names came to be. But we're not just talking about Hershey and Mcdonald's; there are episodes devoted to Lays, Swanson, and even Heinz.

This show isn't just about these name brands, though; it focuses on what was happening at the time, from WWI and Prohibition to the Depression and the '60s. Why certain events in history and what the American people were going through led to the need and demand for certain foods that have become as American as apple pie. With 41 episodes to choose from, you'll get to learn all about the men and women behind some of the most popular household brands, and not all the stories are pretty.

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

If you love eating unusual foods and then learning about where they came from, "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" is a show worth binging. Anthony Bourdain doesn't just cover the nooks and crannies across America; he finds the delicious hole in the walls all over the world. Sure, he visits the food meccas of London and Rome, but he also talks to the husband and wife behind the family-owned restaurant in LA's Little Ethiopia. Over the course of the show's 104 episodes, Bourdain visited lesser-known eateries everywhere from Iran to Antarctica and in the process, uncovered several diamonds in the rough.

While some scenes, like Bourdain spearing a pig through the heart in Borneo, may not be for the faint of heart, that's the beauty of this show. It's not all stunning courses on fine China. This is a show about food and where it comes from, and a lot of the time, it isn't pretty. But it's real, and Bourdain's wit, personality, and blunt reactions make the viewer want to come along for the ride. It's no surprise that this show was nominated for 31 Emmys and won 12 throughout its 12 seasons. We just wonder how many more stories could have been told if Bourdain had lived.

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

Once you get through all 104 episodes of "Parts Unknown," learn about the man himself through the documentary, "Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain." The great chef and adventurer, who traveled to the far reaches of the earth looking for and sampling great food, took his own life in June of 2018. Then in July of 2021, this documentary was released.

While you think you may know the executive chef of Brasserie Les Halles or the man behind the hit shows "No Reservations" and "Parts Unknown," this movie proves there was more to him than anyone realized. He was more than just a chef and a traveler — he was a man trying to find himself and coming to terms with the world through food. And as he perhaps prophesied, "There's no happy ending."

Directed by documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville, the movie fills in the blanks about who Bourdain was. It starts with Bourdain as an unknown chef about to make it big thanks to his book, "Kitchen Confidential," and follows him on his book tour. That tour turned into tv shows which turned into even more books. Cutting back and forth between footage from Bourdain's various appearances and TV shows to interviews with friends who knew him, it's a poignant tale about how fame and fortune aren't always the dream we imagine them to be.

Selena + Chef

Selena Gomez, the singer, actress, and writer, can add cooking host to her resume. That's right; she's joined the long list of celebrities to bring recipes to you, the home viewer, in the HBO Max original series, "Selena + Chef." But where other shows focus on stars who know how to cook and the recipes they're creating, the gimmick here is that Gomez doesn't know how to cook, which is why she invites culinary experts like Gordon Ramsay, Nancy Silverton, and Padma Lakshmi into her home to show her how to create the perfect Indian brunch or pan-seared scallops. It's a fun time that allows us home chefs to revel in the fact that we're not alone when our souffle deflates.

But something you really should know about this show and what makes it stand out from the numerous others out there is that each episode will highlight a different food-related charity picked by that episode's chef that viewers can donate to. According to the HBO Max website, the series has already raised $400,000. Recipes and helping non-profits? We're in!

Fast Foodies

There are plenty of cooking competitions out there. Some have unknown chefs competing for the title and cash prize, while others have celebrity chefs competing for bragging rights. No matter who's competing or what the prize is, these shows are always fun to watch. But what if you had three chefs who each won their respective food competitions decide to team up and perfectly recreate their celebrity guests' favorite fast food recipes? Well, then you'd have "Fast Foodies."

Throughout its two seasons, "Fast Foodies" has invited such guests as Joel McHale, Andy Richter, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and James Van Der Beek onto their show to talk about their favorite fast food entrées. The dishes they either grew up with or can't get enough of. Then Kristen Kish, Jeremy Ford, and Justin Sutherland, the hosts of "Fast Foodies," not only compete against each other to recreate the original dish, they also invent a totally new spin on the recipe. It's a fun twist on the popular cooking competition that will make you look at that classic sausage muffin with egg in a whole new light.