SBS Food Network will celebrate defining figures in food and their relentless pursuit of perfection in a series of four documentaries dubbed The Plate-able documentary series.
Screening each Sunday evening in February, the series kicks off with a look at perhaps the world's most famous restaurant, Noma, and its owner-chef René Redzepi during 2013, the year dozens of diners contracted a gastrointestinal virus and the restaurant slipped from its number-one position on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list. Noma, My Perfect Storm zooms in on the pressures that chefs face to meet diners' expectations, commercial imperatives and their creative impulses, day in, day out.
Fast-forward two years and Redzepi is taking Noma to Tokyo for a two-month residency, the focus of Ants on a Shrimp, the third documentary in the series. Cue plenty of foraging adventures, failed experiments by the kitchen and trips to the Tsukiji Fish Market as Redzepi and co prepare 14 new dishes for opening night.
The fourth documentary in the series looks at another contemporary giant, Ferran Adrià, and a year in the life of his Barcelona restaurant, El Bulli. Released in 2011, El Bulli: Cooking in Progress is a time-capsule of a not-so-distant period when gels, foams and spherification were the hallmarks of fine dining.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi, meanwhile, is a profile of sushi master Jiro Ono, a figure whose career significantly pre-dates the celebrity-chef and Instagram era. His exacting standards have made his 10-seat Sukiyabashi Jiro a three-star dining destination in Tokyo - but have also created enormous pressure for his sons, who followed in his footsteps as a sushi chef and will one day take over the restaurant.
While the cuisines, styles and philosophies of each chef are very different, they share a common thread of experimentation and reinvention - and it's that obsession that this month-long series is all about. It's the perfect excuse to host a Sunday potluck-and-chill session.
The Plate-able documentaries screen at 7.30pm Sundays on SBS Food Network from 4 February 2018.