Chef’s Table created by David Gelb (Boardwalk Pictures, City Room Creative)
Starring Dan Barber, Massimo Bottura, Francis Mallman, Niki Nkayama, Magnus Nilsson, and Ben Shewry.
Upon entry to my preferred academic institution, my parents provided ample pressure to study business. I understand the position. What is college if not a place to earn a degree to set yourself up for consistent success?
Unfortunately, my passions—at the time—orbited separate academic pursuits. Even though I have a passion for business, my reasoning for avoiding its study remains consistent. The study of business, at its core, is a normative practice. It tells you what to do and what not to do; if you can master the complicated functions, you have the equation to business success upon graduation. Input A, B, and C: profit.
Learning about the how matters little when I don’t know the why. Thus, philosophy.
Even though philosophy can seep in through the cracks of any business plan, it seems like food—especially fine dining—holds a strong case for keeping a philosophical position.
When you ask a Chef what she does, you might hear a small drip of descriptions about the food she prepares, but brace yourself for a manifesto about why her food preparation matters.
The food industry is an avenue for philosophy.
Chef’s Table outlines 6 chefs spanning the globe and marching to the beat of their own drum.
This documentary series dives into the eccentricity of Massimo Bottura and his restaurant in Modena, Italy.
It unlocks the highly local and innovative flair of Dan Barber and Blue Hill Restaurant in New York.
We uncover Francis Mallmann and his fascination with fire in the Patagonia.
We travel to Los Angeles to get a sense of perfectionism and artistry in Niki Nakayama’s cuisine.
We go down under and observe the reworking of Australian cuisine with Ben Shewry.
And, we travel to Sweden to unearth the new Nordic cuisine of Magnus Nilsson.
The common denominator for each chef in the series surrounds a philosophy. These people have made food their life’s work. But even more, they have come to specific beliefs and core values around the role of food in a life well lived.
Bringing Food and Thought to Life
With brilliant cinematography, the bustling kitchens and pristine dining rooms (our outdoor spaces) shine and the food appears divine.
Chef’s Table represents a visually stunning desert course for the foodies amongst us. But more interestingly, it paints a picture of passionate work centered in a philosophical identity. I wish more work and business activity spent as much time considering its core purpose.
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5