Hulu does Food and the Future … and does it pretty well!

A few weeks ago, a colleague sent me a link to Hulu’s new food series The Next Thing You Eat with chef David Chang. What caught their eye — and mine — was the series’ claim to be about the future of food.

I was intrigued enough to sign up for one week’s free access to Hulu (yes, I’m not a regular Hulu addict!) and check it out. And I was pleasantly surprised!

I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to TV that tackles tech and the future. It’s either too preachy, too intense, too optimistic, or too dystopian, for my taste (not that I’m a fussy viewer!). And so I didn’t have high hopes for Chang’s new series.

I needn’t have worried. David Chang brings a humor and a lightness of touch to his topic that makes it deliciously palatable. And as he seasons his commentary with a good dose of irreverence (and occasional … no make that frequent … strong language), the whole package makes for entertaining viewing that opens up new insights and ideas along the way.

Here, I should note that Chang is a controversial figure. He’s a “celebrity chef” who made a name for himself through anger management issues and generally bad behavior in the kitchen. And he continues to thrive on a wave of public self-reflection on that selfsame behavior.

Yet despite this, the David Chang who fronts  The Next Thing You Eat is curious, funny, personable, and delightfully down to earth. And as a result, he makes for an enjoyable guide to have by your side in this foray into the future of food.

This future, it turns out, is a rather eclectic mix of trends and tech. It’s by no stretch of the imagination comprehensive. And it’s definitely not deep. But it is an engaging and sometimes eye-opening introduction to how emerging technologies are intertwined with the world of food.

Over six episodes, the series covers robotics and AI, lab-grown meat and meat substitutes, the future of restaurants, the place of breakfast in the future, the complex history and future of sushi, and a long term look at the future of food.

This may sound like a rather tech-lite perspective on the future, and given the incredible strides we’re making with tech innovation at the moment, it is. But I don’t think that this matters.

What Chang pulls off is a series about us and our relationship with food that is perfectly balanced with just the right amount of tech and future thinking to please the palate, but not enough to spoil the dish. 

In this way, the series deftly introduces its audience to new trends and ideas that they may not have thought of before, and tantalizes their “tech and the future” taste buds into wanting more.

And of course, there is more — a lot more — to talk about when it comes to food and the future. But The next Thing You Eat is both an effective amuse-bouches and appetizer for anyone looking for an easy and entertaining entrée (pun intended) into technologies that are changing every aspect of our lives — including the food we eat.

The Next Thing You Eat is available on Hulu.

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