Prepare for even more drool-worthy, elegantly plated food shots, because Chef's Table Volume 6 premieres Friday, Feb. 22 on Netflix. The docuseries has already featured high-profile establishments like Osteria Francescana, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Alinea, and Pujol, but the restaurants in Chef's Table Volume 6 promise to be even more culturally diverse than its previous five installments. With chefs from London by way of India, Italy, and the Southern United States, viewers catch a glimpse of what inspires them and how their pasts have informed their illustrious careers.
"Season 6 is about the journey home," Netflix's press site explains, which is why this installments four chefs — Asma Khan, Dario Cecchini, Sean Brock, and Mashama Bailey — return to their roots to find culinary inspiration. For Bailey, that means going back to her birth state of Georgia in order to open what would become a successful restaurant. Khan leaves a law career behind in order to learn family recipes back in India. Brock enters rehab, and in doing so facing his inner demons, while Cecchini recalls his initial struggle with his family's butchery business.
But whatever drew them to the food industry: family duty, their mother's recipes, or simply the dishes they were raised on, Season 6 promises to be an expansive look at the state of food in 2019.
The Italian butcher owns several storefronts, including his Panzano family butchery, Antica Macelleria Cecchini. But since meat is his specialty, Cecchini's episode promises to center around his very particular set of skills. According to the New York Times, Cecchini's family butchery business dates back eight generations. And although he ironically began studying to become a veterinarian, he was forced to take over his dying father's business back in 1976. And although he accepted the butcher's knife, it was with great reluctance.
"The first few years were a nightmare," Cecchini told the now-defunct Lucky Peach in a video. "I cut my hand — I had to get them sutured a million times. I tried and I tried, and after a few very tough years, I began to understand what being a butcher was about." Since then, Cecchini has carved out a name for himself (he's even been featured on Top Chef), and last December, Food & Wine reported that he even opened a steakhouse in the Bahamas.
This Indian restaurant is located in the Soho area of London, where head chef Asma Khan serves dishes like Kalonji Paneer, Murgh ka Saalan, and Kali Mirch Saag Keema at reasonable prices. "Darjeeling Express started as a dinner for 12 guests at home, serving Indian food lovingly cooked from family recipes that go back to generations," the site reads. "The food is a true homage to our founder Asma’s royal Mughlai ancestry and the busy streets of Calcutta, where she grew up."
Even more interesting is that Darjeeling Express only employs housewives, who run "the kitchen at Darjeeling Express, and have been doing so from day one," as their site explains. And as viewers learn in the trailer, this may be an attempt to revise history. "In India, when a girl is born, it's that moment of darkness in a family," Khan explains in the trailer. "My mother cried at my birth. I can't wipe those tears, but what I can do is bring pride into my mother's eyes." And it seems as though she's succeeded in that regard. "[My parents] are just so proud," Khan told Vice ahead of the Chef's Table premiere. "Especially my mother because she did this for so many years and never opened a restaurant."
If Brock's face looks familiar, you likely watched Ugly Delicious, where he ate ridiculously hot fried chicken with David Chang in Nashville. However, he's also the world-famous chef behind Husk, which serves Southern cuisine and has locations in Nashville, Greenville, Charleston, and Savannah. However, the Wall Street Journal reported that Brock's latest venture will be the opening of an Appalachian-themed, 10,000-square-foot dining facility in Nashville, per Eater.
Food & Wine reported in Aug. 2018 that Brock was leaving his long-time partnership with the Neighborhood Dining Group — a company that oversees all four Husk branches as well as McCrady’s, McCrady’s Tavern, and Minero. Instead, the chef would be pursuing a then-unspecified project back in Nashville, per the article. Although the name of the complex is still under wraps, perhaps viewers will get a glimpse of Brock's creative process during his Chef's Table episode and learn why leaving Husk behind was such an important move for him.
Although Bailey was born in Georgia, she grew up in New York City, per Eater. But The Grey was a chance to return to her roots and flip the script on history. The Savannah restaurant sits in a renovated Greyhound station (hence the name) and opened in 2014, per Eater. During the Chef's Table trailer, audiences learn that there's a colored waiting room in the back of the venue, which speaks volumes about the state's troubled racial history. "I was soaking in all that heritage and all that knowledge," Bailey says in the trailer. "And there's a sadness that comes with that, but it's also this great sense of pride. You look at the beauty of survival — you realize how resilient your culture is."
And Bailey's menu has evolved from good to great in the years since The Grey opened its doors. "I knew when I got here that I was still really in New York — that I didn't know where I was cooking," Bailey told Eater. However, after reading Edna Lewis's foundational books like In Pursuit of Flavor, per the same article, the chef began adding more African-inspired food to the menu. And Bailey's hard work paid off: The Gray won Eater's 2017 Restaurant of the Year.
So once Chef's Table Volume 6 drops on Netflix, fans can start furiously making plans to visit all four of these excellent, diverse restaurants and the masterminds behind them.