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Samin Nosrat’s New Netflix Series Is an Antidote to Celebrity Cooking Shows

And it premieres today. 

 

In many ways, Netflix’s gorgeous new four-part documentary series Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is unlike anything you’ve seen before on TV—starting with the show’s host, the Berkeley-based Iranian American food writer Samin Nosrat, a brown woman navigating the white man’s world of prestige-food television. Nosrat, of course, wrote the James Beard Award–winning cookbook that serves as the show’s namesake and inspiration.

Like the book, the series is grounded in the idea that good cooking stems from the mastery of those four titular elements, and it dedicates a 40-minute episode to each one. But Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat isn’t a cooking program, really—at least not the kind that traffics in precise, step-by-step instructions. It also isn’t a show that’s interested in giving shine to celebrity chefs. Instead, we accompany Nosrat to a bread-making lesson from a focaccia baker in Liguria, Italy, and to the tiny Japanese island of Kami-Kamagari to sample sashimi seasoned with a local sea salt made from seaweed.

The show’s imagery tilts toward quiet beauty—a hand massaging an especially supple ball of dough, or a sofrito bubbling in a pot. Nosrat, for her part, is blessed in spades with the one gift every food-show host needs: the ability to eat with deep, deep relish. “It’s so good,” she says in the premiere episode while biting into a wedge of aged parmesan. “It’s bringing tears to my eyes. It’s so good.”

 


Originally published in the November issue of
San Francisco 

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