Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Chef's Table -- A Feast for the Eyes and the Brain

I have just watched the six episodes of Netflix's Chef's Table, a new series of six documentaries on some of the best, and most interesting, chefs in the world. Produced by David Gelb, who produced and directed Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the films explore the cuisine produced by the selected chefs but, more interestingly, they focus on the roots of and motivation for the extraordinary creativity of the chefs. Along the way, the viewer is treated to a myriad of images of magnificent, mind-blowing food.

The fantastic chefs who are the subjects of the series are:
  • Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana, Modena
  • Dan Barber, Blue Hill, New York City
  • Francis Mallman, Buenos Aires
  • Niki Nakayam, N/Naka, Los Angeles
  • Ben Shewry, Attica, Melbourne
  • Magnus Nilsson, Faviken, Jarpen (Sweden)
Obviously, they are all brilliant and accomplished, but it is their connections to the earth, the farm and, most important, to other people, that provide the fuel for their spectacular creativity. All struggled early in their careers but persevered and ultimately succeeded through the power of their creativity and passionate sense of mission. Their stories are compelling, well-filmed and, as noted above, accompanied by spectacular pictures of their food, a few of which are set out below.

Magnus Nilsson's signature scallops grilled over juniper
Ad for Chef's Table
Niki Nakayama
Massimo Bottura
Dan Barber
Massimo Bottura
Nikki Nakayama
Perhaps because it is first, I liked the episode on Massimo Bottura the most, but reactions will no doubt vary based on viewers' food preferences and life and travel experiences. But no matter which episodes resonate most for you:  Chef's Table is a must for foodies (and you are one if you are reading this). If you have somehow resisted subscribing to Netflix (and thereby missed  the wonderful House of Cards, among other things), this should get you over the top.

Bobby Jay

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