Written by: Adam Vaughn | November 10th, 2020
Eater’s Guide to the World (Travis Callahan, 2020) 2½ out of 4 stars.
With all the various options and varieties of traveling food series available now, Hulu’s new Eater’s Guide to the World has much to live up to. The program showcases a variety of local restaurants and eateries, culinary hidden gems of a sort, and takes the viewer to various countries, as well as to the most unique corners of the United States, to witness the most fresh and original meals and delicacies the world has to offer. From the late-night streets of New York and Los Angeles, to the nations of Africa and South America, Eater’s Guide to the World not only show the foods and drinks made every day, but also delves into the culture and climate of the various locations, and shows what makes each meal distinct and delectable.
The problem Eater’s Guide faces is that, for a show presenting itself as a “guide to the world,” it spends a considerable amount of time inside the United States, choosing entire episodes to focus on one specific part of the country, and does this for multiple episodes of an already-limited series. While the cities in the U.S. aim to represent the diverse, culturally significant corners of the country, this doesn’t leave much room for representing the many nations across the globe. Granted, the show has the potential, in future seasons, to continue to showcase distinct cuisines of the planet. For now, these 7 episodes of 50 minutes each remain mostly focused on America.
Eater’s Guide to the World does provide a somewhat unique tone and angle in its breakdown of each episode, and the in-depth detail of the variety of food and drink featured, and how each is developed in a way unique to the store or eatery making it, and how and why the food has an intimate connection to its chefs and preparers. The episodes are narrated by Maya Rudolph, who adds her own comical (and surprisingly calming) commentary throughout the series. While the various dishes may prove unique in themselves, the execution of the show does little to stand out from the mix, its editing and substantial b-roll cinematography driving the series in a familiar manner.
For the average viewer looking to expand their knowledge of the culinary realm, Eater’s Guide to the World will provide adequate but not substantial information and eye candy on various edible arrangements. That same viewer may also find the analysis and exploration of the culture distracting at times, pulling large portions of the series away from the topic of food. For the viewer looking for an overall source of entertainment, Eater’s Guide certainly won’t disappoint, as its content and research are admirable and thorough. For the test of time, however, Eater’s Guide may not be one that stands out from the crowd in years to come.