There was a time when podcasts weren't really a thing, when people were too busy discussing the latest television series they were glued to or the book they couldn’t stop reading, rather than worrying about what they were listening to on the tube.
In recent years though, the popularity of podcasts has soared beyond belief, and now pretty much every celebrity or television personality has jumped on the bandwagon, including none other than the queen of memes herself, Gemma Collins (although we don’t think you will glean too much foodie knowledge from her). In fact, we would put money on a bet that probably at least one person in your friendship group has already tried (and failed) to launch their own podcast, believing that the process of putting one together is much easier than it actually is.
It was surely only a matter of time then, before chefs, restaurateurs and general all-round foodies got in on the podcast action – and boy, are we glad that they did. There are now a whole host of podcasts out there for lovers of all things food and restaurants, ranging from easy listening and comedic shows, to those which take a more serious approach, exposing the problems and the issues that people in the industry face every day. There are also plenty out there which will help improve your skills in the kitchen, or at least help you to distinguish your macaroons from your macarons.
We have tried to include a broad range of options in our list of the best food podcasts, so that you can find a food podcast that you want to feast on. You can check out our top picks below, with the bulk of them available to listen to wherever you normally find your podcasts.
Restaurant Reservations by SquareMeal
Okay, we’re biased, but just because we're biased it doesn’t mean we’re wrong. On our Podcast Restaurant Reservations, each week we speak to a different high-profile chef and ask them to tell us about the defining dishes that have helped shape their personal and professional life. From Michelin starred chefs enjoying a plate of Nando’s chicken (relatable) through to sweet childhood anecdotes, this is for anyone who enjoys a good old dose of storytelling through the lens of food. You can listen here.
Table Manners with Jessie Ware
Songstress Jessie Ware has proved that she is a woman of many talents with this wildly popular podcast. Table Manners invites celebrity guests to enjoy a meal cooked up by Jessie’s mum Lennie, who co-hosts the show. While tucking in, the conversation often turns to music, politics, culture arts and more, while Lennie is the undoubted star of the show – always on had to serve up some deliciously shady commentary alongside her homecooked meals. You can catch Table Manners on tour too, if you fancy experiencing the whole thing live.
River Cafe Table 4 with Ruth Rogers
The River Cafe is among London’s most famous restaurants and now has its very own podcast. Each week, founder and chef Ruth Rogers will be joined by friends at ‘table 4’ (arguably the restaurant’s best table), to talk about the stories of their lives, told through the food they have cooked and the restaurants they have eaten in. Rogers’ pull with celebrities means you can expect quite the line-up of famous faces to join her, including Paul McCartney, Jake Gyllenhal, the Beckhams, Glenn Close and Emily Blunt.
Out to lunch with Jay Rayner
While we would probably be too scared to cook for famously fearsome restaurant critic Jay Rayner, we’d be more than happy to be his lunchtime companion. That’s the premise of this podcast, where Rayner takes a celebrity out to lunch and grills them about all things food as they tuck into their meal. The series has welcomed quite the wide variety of guests since launching, ranging from Hollywood actor Stanley Tucci to former The X Factor host and radio pundit Dermot O’Leary.
Desert Island Dishes
Wonderfully simple, this captivating podcast puts a spin on the classic Radio 4 concept of Desert Island Discs, swapping out music for food. There hasn’t been a new episode since March 2019, but the backlog is worth tuning into. The series is fronted by chef and cookery writer Margie Nomura, who has welcomed the likes of Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton, and model, chef and society ‘it’ boy Isaac Carew into her podcast kitchen. Each episode sees the guests talk about the five dishes that have shaped their life and you may well be surprised by their answers.
In Conversation with Posh Nosh Gal
Interviews with leading chefs often make for fascinating listening - how do they cope with the long hours? How did they get into cooking in the first place? What are the behind the scenes secrets that the average diner doesn't know about? These are all the sorts of questions that host Shalina Tobin, AKA @PoshNoshGal, gets to the bottom of in this fantastic podcast. Tobin's roster of guests is also mind-blowingly impressive, with past chefs that have talked to her including Monica Galetti, Alain Roux and Adam Handling.
From its controversial name alone, it’s clear that Racist Sandwich is far from your usual food podcast. While it can’t be lumped in with other ‘easy listening’ pods about food and restaurants, Racist Sandwich is a fascinating insight into problems in the food community that are often overlooked. Exploring issues concerning race, class, gender and sexuality in the restaurant world, this urgent and arresting podcast ultimately demonstrates that food is a far more political subject than many people think.
With over 200 episodes to listen to, all recorded at the One World Trade Centre in New York, Food People (formerly Bon Appetit Foodcast) is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. While it’s true that most of the content of this podcast is focused on the food and restaurant scene in the US, it still makes for riveting listening. There is a real variety of content on offer too, ranging from in-depth conversations with some of the world’s best chefs, to Bon Appetit’s in-house recipe testers sharing their top tips on how to make staple dishes from home.
The Food Programme
Presented to you by the foodie folk over at the BBC, The Food Programme is a weekly investigative podcast which explores a different topic each episode, related to the UK’s food and restaurant scene. The BBC might not always be on the cutting-edge with its programming, but this podcast isn’t afraid to tackle contemporary issues, with episode subjects including the likes of how Instagram has changed the way we eat and why CBD-infused drinks and dishes have grown to be so popular.
Food Behind Bars
Ever wondered what prisoners eat at mealtimes? Probably not, but now that we've mentioned the topic, your mind might wander to how hundreds of prisoners are all fed at the same time. This new eight-part podcast will explore just that, looking at what is wrong with prison food and what can be done to improve it. The podcast is hosted by Lucy Vincent, who is the founder of UK charity Food Behind Bars, which is on a mission to reform prison food across the nation, and will feature interviews with former prisoners and prison staff. It's sure to be a unique and riveting listen. Available weekly from 8 March
Olive Magazine Podcast
With over 100 episodes primed and ready for you to gorge on, Olive Magazine’s podcast offers perhaps some of the most varied content on our list. The main thrust of the pod is to uncover why we are all so obsessed with food, but on that journey, the presenters delve into all manner of foodie subjects – ranging from advice on how to make the tastiest sandwiches to in-depth chats with some of the biggest names in the chef world. Having such an extensive back catalogue also means you can pick and choose which episodes you want to tune into.
Off Menu with James Acaster and Ed Gamble
Ever since Mel and Sue made everyone laugh their soggy bottoms off on The Great British Bake Off, it’s been clear that comedians and food are a rather delicious pairing. In this weekly podcast, professional funnymen James Acaster and Ed Gamble invite celebrities and big foodie names to attend their fictional restaurant and order their dream, starter, main course, side dish, dessert and drink. Former guests have included the likes of Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge and Stranger Things star Noah Schnapp.
This limited series podcast from everyone’s favourite cookbook chef Yottam Ottolenghi debuted back in 2018, but it’s still worth a listen. The six-episode stint was launched at the same time as Ottolenghi’s book ‘Simple’ and is a great listen for those looking for top tips from the great and good of the food world. Tune in to listen to Nigella Lawson spill her secrets on how to host a dinner party like a pro or former Great British Bake Off winner Nadia Huyssein reveal how she copes with her anxiety while cooking in the kitchen.
The Kitchen is on Fire
James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy, owners of the lauded Pidgin restaurant in Hackney and sandwich shop Sons + Daughters in King’s Cross, are the hosts of this weekly podcast series. Having two restaurateurs leading the podcast obviously adds some welcome insight into the inner workings of the restaurant industry, but all the more serious stuff is tempered by a healthy dose of nonsense, including discussions on ghosts, a few discussions about chef’s encounters with celebs and rather a lot of talk about hats.
With the tagline ‘it’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters’, The Sporkful is a weekly podcast that swept the board at various Podcast Awards over the years. Each episode explores our relationship with one kind of foodstuff, whether it be a popular item on the shelves or one that gets a little less love. Along the way, discussions about culture, gender equality and body image are abound, proving that The Sporkful isn’t afraid to tackle more serious issues, as well as proving something we all already know to be true – food is about so much more than what’s on your plate.
The Splendid Table
One of the longest running shows around, The Splendid Table was making episodes way before podcasts were cool. With more than 700 episodes having been recorded (yes, you read that correctly), it is no surprise that the content of the episodes varies wildly, although everything always comes back to food. Tune in to listen to cookbook recommendations, explorations of our society’s drinking culture and discussions on how food can shape people’s marriages. It’s truly interesting stuff and you’re bound to learn a thing or two.
Prefer learning about food with your hands rather than your ears? Check out the best cooking classes in London.