Everyone who has read this blog at least a few times over the 13 years that I've been writing it knows that I am a big fan of film. I've been to hundreds of premieres and previews and thoroughly enjoy films where food is a central character, documentaries or not. I've seen them all. Of course, I'm also a student of all things food and food-related as well as travel, art, culture and history. I've sat through hours of lectures at Harvard University on Science And Cooking at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences where I met such luminaries as Ferran Adria and Harold McGee as we explored the molecular chemistry of sugar and eggs.
So, when I was invited to media preview A CHEF'S VOYAGE I was, of course, game. It's the story of Chef David Kinch of Manresa, the Michelin 3 star restaurant in Silicon Valley. I had never heard of Mr. Kinch nor his restaurant. It's the story of his trip to France, along with his entire staff. They will visit 3 other restaurants, among them the legendary haute cuisine palais of Taillevent. They will share their menus with these establishments and their staffs, observe and learn from them and enjoy together their mutual love for the very highest levels of cuisine and service attainable. As is stated in the film - it is not just about the food but the entire experience of dining. The quest to improve never ends.
Knowing all that let me just come right to the point: the film is stunning. Not only beautiful to look at as your eyes drink in the breathtaking scenery but also as your mouth waters seeing food as carefully and beautifully set as the crown jewels. And it is more than that. So much more. There are so many levels going on that it's almost Shakespearean as these rock stars and maestros all come together to create these magical, impressive meals. The lessons of dedication, joy, teamwork, obsession, beauty, wisdom, youth and experience are played out on a stage so authentically French that it's like being there. It's also not always a pretty picture. The exhaustion, burnout and oftentimes loneliness of the lifestyle is also subtly but earnestly introduced.
I loved this film. It's by far the best documentary about the restaurant and hospitality business that I have yet seen. The other thing I liked was that it completely took me away from all these pandemic concerns we are having for 90 minutes of pure bliss, meeting new people, seeing new things, salivating over those dishes and going places that I had no idea could be so staggeringly extraordinary. The film opens virtually on September 18 and you can stream it by going here. I absolutely guarantee you will enjoy it and it will be the best $10 you have spent in the past 6 months. Enjoy!