International cuisine- in all forms…

June 18, 2017

international cuisineI don’t watch much food shows anymore, with the exception of food documentaries, which can really be either hit or miss.  But I saw two food documentary series last night with a friend that were just fascinating, one more than the other, if you ask me.  The first one was call “Street Food all around the world” and featured an actor going to be cities with legitimate “street food.”  The guy obviously had improv training and it was using it to the utmost degree.  I could not stop laughing because he was just so enthusiastic (he was from Israel), and seemed so international.

The second was called “Chef’s Table” and featured some of the best (and unusual) restaurants around the world.  They included a restaurant (with hotel too) in very rural Sweden where there was pretty much no civilization.  But the head chef was from Sweden and decided to have his restaurant include ancient foods and locally grown ones from their land.  They had a pantry and everything seemed to be pretty much from the land (even the stone/wood/branch plates.  There was one chef from Chicago who had a kind of futuristic approach to food, which I didn’t quite get, but the chef looked to present everyday foods in a unique and sometimes bizarre way.

There was another guy from Brazil who took a risk some ten years ago and opened a Brazilian themed restaurant (most high class restaurants in Brazil are Italian or French) which took awhile to acquire a desire from people, but eventually did and now the head chef is a big political and foodie spokesperson for the Amazon, (that’s where his food comes from).  And finally there was a French woman (who was adopted from Dominican Republic) who had a restaurant in San Francisco and also used local foods.

As much as I admired the Chef’s Table for using local ingredients, I just kept comparing it to Street Food, which was so much more fun and accessible.  I’m so used to seeing chefs as the be all end all spokesperson in food, that I was totally blown away by the actor guy just blazing through cities in search of a meal.  I honestly wanted to be him.  Even the intro was brilliant:  He’s sitting in some high end restaurant clearly bored out of his mind by the seemingly fake food and not exciting food he’s getting.  He riffs out of there and starts off on the streets in search of some more calorie laden food so he (I suppose) can put some meat on his bones.  In some ways, this actor seemed way more of the times we live in then those well meaning but out of touch chefs I see all the time explain their way through the authenticity of each dish.  I might watch “Street Food” again or maybe look for the next edition!!

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