A Matter Of Taste
Follow the career ups and downs of much-acclaimed New York City chef Paul Liebrandt, known for his avant garde approach to modern cuisine. He is not a chef for the everyman, but for those that appreciate his eccentric and exacting approach to food, he has been, and continues to be, one to watch closely.
Where to watch: Premieres tonight (Monday, June 13) at 9pm on HBO. On demand until September 11.
El Bulli: Cooking in Progress
Unlike many documentaries, there are no interviews during this nearly two hour film. Instead, the viewer watches, often mesmerized, as El Bulli's chefs experiment with and prepare frequently changing never-what-you-think dishes. The viewer is a fly on the wall of Ferran Adria's food laboratory, not exactly sure of what is going on, but nonetheless unable to look away. Despite the whimsical nature of much of the food (Adria is partial to the term "magical"), the kitchen is devoid of smiles or jokes. Apparently, magical food is quite serious.
Good to know: Read Lisa Abend's The Sorcerer's Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adrià's elBulli. It covers an overlapping time period and gives a lot of context to the footage.
Where to watch: Silverdocs (DC, June 20-June 26, 2011), Film Forum (NYC, opens July 27, 2011), nationwide release in select cities post-July 27.
Cafeteria Man takes a feel-good approach to advocating for healthier, and more local, school lunches. The documentary follows school lunch crusader Tony Geraci around Baltimore as he battles for an overhaul of the current cafeteria system. It becomes obvious that Geraci faces significant red tape to accomplish his goals, but the bureaucratic and more frustrating parts of the process are glossed over in favor of scenes with kids in gardens, or preparing salads. Not that there's anything wrong with getting that warm, fuzzy feeling when kids are learning about good nutrition--it just isn't the whole picture.
Where to watch: Silverdocs (DC, June 20-June 26, 2011)
Food is the link that ties two adult men together as they travel the English countryside seeking out the best meals they can. As they dine on scallops, rabbit and pigeon, they come to realize that they would rather do impressions of Michael Caine than critique high-end food. This is not a food movie, per se, but rather a comedic film about growing older...with lots of quick-moving kitchen scenes and up close food porn shots thrown in.
Where to watch: In select theaters since June 10, on demand (IFC) starting June 22.
Kings Of Pastry
Feel the pressure as acclaimed chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer, Regis Lazard and Philippe Rigollot enter the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France high-intensity pastry competition. For three days of mixing, piping and sculpting, one learns that sugar is not for the faint of heart.
Where to watch: June 21, 10pm on PBS. Also available via Netflix.
There are upcoming two movies about sushi, but they take a very different course. Jiro Dreams Of Sushi follows Jiro Ono, a sushi chef that has been making sushi for 70 years (watch at Silverdocs) while Sushi: The Global Catch explores the global impact of consuming sushi (premiered June 8 at the Seattle International Film Festival). See the trailers for the respective films below.