08 November 2014

Weekend Cooking: Spinning Plates (Documentary)

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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Spinning Plates (film)I'm not sure what I expected from this 2013 well-received documentary about three very different American restaurants and their chefs. Whatever my preconceived notions were, I know I didn't factor in how often my eyes would well up with emotional tears.

Writer director Joseph Levy's Spinning Plates focuses on the personal stories of the people who have put their hearts and souls into nurturing their patrons. As the film points out, no matter the type of restaurant, the food and atmosphere reflect the personality of the chef; after all, the restaurant is at the center of the cook's life.

For Grant Achatz, his Chicago restaurant Alinea's is the studio in which he creates his artistic masterpieces consisting of whimsical presentations of award-wining food. Eating at Alinea's is a unique experience that takes diners to the cutting edge of culinary delights. In less than ten years after it first opened it doors in 2005, the restaurant had been named the best in the United States and was ranked 7th in the entire world.

Spinning Plates (film)Breitbach's Country Dining in Balltown, Iowa, has been owned and operated by the same family since 1861. Although the official population of the town is less than 100, the staff has been known to serve over 2,000 patrons in a single day. For the Breitbach family, the restaurant is more than a business and more than a family legacy, it's the glue of an entire community.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Martinez family is struggling to get their eight-month-old Mexican restaurant, La Cocina de Gabby, off the ground. The menu consists of traditional recipes that Gabby learned from her mother, and the couple have pinned their future and on the quality of the food and the success of their Tuscon restaurant. Although the bills are piling up and the turnover is slow, they work hard and try to keep a positive outlook.

I can't tell you how much I loved this documentary and how invested I became in the lives of these three families. Although I'll never be able to afford to eat at Alinea's, I admire Achatz's vision and drive. My heart goes out to the Martinezes, and I wish them all the luck in the world. Next time I'm traveling west, though, I'm going to make the effort to stop at Breitbach's; the Midwesterner in me already feels at home there.

Here's a look at the trailer. The movie is available for streaming from several services.


14 comments:

Tina 11/8/14, 6:42 AM  

Sounds like a well done program. I know I wouldn't have what it takes to get my own restaurant up and going. The sheer dedication and long hours are incredible and I admire the tenacity of these folks.

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 11/8/14, 7:54 AM  

I think I would love this one! I'm going to try to find it on Apple TV. I've definitely heard of Alinea and would love to eat there, but probably never will :)

bermudaonion 11/8/14, 9:05 AM  

This is exactly why I love locally owned restaurants - the owners put their hearts and souls into them. This sounds terrific!

jama 11/8/14, 9:36 AM  

Wow, you've really piqued my interest in this one. Love hearing backstories about chefs and their restaurants.

(Diane) bookchickdi 11/8/14, 9:44 AM  

My husband and I would love this- I'm going to find it right now.

Katherine P 11/8/14, 10:40 AM  

I would love this! I've always enjoyed the books I've read about back of the house life and chefs in general but I hadn't heard of this documentary. Thanks for sharing!

Jackie Mc Guinness 11/8/14, 10:54 AM  

I would love to try all three!

Laurie C 11/8/14, 1:10 PM  

How do you hear about all these great foodie movies? I hear about them from you! I'm going to look into ordering this for the library collection, and definitely will look for it for hubby and I to watch!

Les 11/9/14, 11:44 AM  

I just watched the trailer and am planning to stream the movie this week! Thanks for the recommendation. It looks fabulous.

Trish 11/9/14, 11:45 AM  

Hopefully by Streaming you mean Netflix and I can watch this during naptime today. Amazing how food becomes art and life!

olduvaireads 11/9/14, 1:42 PM  

Oh I've spotted this on Netflix before and might have added it to my queue and its prob buried somewhere deep! I'll have to actually watch it soon. You know, instead of watching more Gilmore Girls, again!

Sue Jackson 11/9/14, 3:52 PM  

I've never heard of this film before - it sounds really good. I was just thinking recently that I should make an effort to watch more documentaries - there are so many good ones out there.

Sue

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Amelia Elizabeth 11/10/14, 2:20 PM  

It sounds like a great documentary, I'm going to have to add it to my list.

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