Monday, May 11, 2015

Five of my favourite Food Documentaries

I’ll be the first to admit my taste in movies is a bit odd. On one side, I love action movies, that don’t necessarily need strong story lines, but should have plenty of good action scenes, things blowing up, Transformers (Optimus Prime is my life) and as little romance as possible. Romantic comedies are the bane of my existence. 

On the flip side, I adore documentaries. I love seeing different slices of life, inspiring stories, and also being appalled at the state of humanity sometimes. But I also love to be inspired, in awe and absolutely filled with wonder, which is what some documentaries do for me as well…especially ones about food. 

So to mix up my usual blog posts, instead of taking you through some of my favourite foods (which you probably all know by now already), here are a couple of my favourite food documentaries! I’ve focussed this round on the delicious, usually chef-oriented, saliva inducing documentaries that make you want to lick your screens. I’ll probably do another round in the near future with food documentaries that analyse our food chain systems, and the affect they’re having on our health…but in the mean time…here’s some visual deliciousness! 

It would be positively criminal not to have Jiro Dreams of Sushi on this list. If you haven’t watched this yet and admit to being addicted to food (especially Japanese food), then drop everything and get onto Netflix and watch it there. 

Some have said it’s a little bit slow, which sure it can be, but you want it to be so you can savour every stunning close-up shot of sushi that passes by on the screen. David Gelb does an amazing job of capturing Jiro’s story and personality, and beyond just being a delight on the eyes, Jiro’s stubbornness and dedication to his craft is absolutely inspiring. I watched this and the documentary about Bill Cunningham in very close succession to each other and was just left spirited and driven to just do stuff in life. Amazing.

Spinning Plates, released in 2012, follows three very, very different restaurants and the people and stories that are behind them. It was this film that introduced me to Alinea in Chicago and the wonders that Grant Achatz conceptualises and brings to life. From three michelin stars the film also visits Breitbach’s Country Dining which is a family owned restaurant that’s been open since 1852 and La Cocina de Gabby, a small little Mexican restaurant in Tuscan, Arizona. 

The hardships are heartbreaking and incredibly inspiring all at the same time, from being burnt down twice, to tongue cancer, to just struggling to stay afloat, but the heart and the focus on the people in this documentary is also just beautiful. 

Also Alinea's dessert dish? Oh my god. Almost enough to make me consider buying a ticket to Chicago on the spot. 

Newly released on to Netflix, if you haven’t signed up for your free month yet, now’s a good time to do it. Made up of 6 one hour episodes, each episode follows one renown chef, one episode even focussing on our own Ben Shewry! 

This series has also been directed by David Gelb, who also directed Jiro Dreams of Sushi, so it’s absolutely gorgeous, but again a very personal and intimate series, talking of their hardest struggles, and highest of peaks. But what I really love getting to know about these chefs, is their philosophies, and what’s important to them. Dan Barber, in the second episode, is one of my favourite of the 6, with an amazing approach and attitude about sustainability and ethical eating. 

This documentary follows four wine stewards in the states preparing to take the Master Sommelier Exam…which is one bitch of an exam. Excuse the French.

These guys are so dedicated and passionate about wine, and some of the things you learn along the way is also just fascinating too! What I really enjoy about this though, is that it’s an incredibly accessible documentary on wine, as although the guys are serious about their wine, Somm has a light-hearted and humorous tone to it. 

There's also a sequel apparently coming out to this in the near future which has me very excited. 

Okay, so this documentary toe dips into more of the politics of the food and wine industry, but it’s also a stunning film. Narrated by Russel Crowe (who narrates far better than he sings), this documentary follows the popularity of Bourdeaux wines in China, China’s lust for brand and how that affects the industry. 

So there are just a handful of mine! What are some of yours? I’m always looking for new ones to watch…and if anyone knows where I can watch ‘Hungry’ the documentary released in 2014 about competitive eating (tragic, but I’m disgustingly curious as well), please tell me. I’ve been trying to hunt it down for the last 6 months! 

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