SIFF Says:El Celler de Can Roca, voted best restaurant in the world by “Restaurant” magazine, is a Spanish establishment located in Catalonia whose commitment to connecting food with culture is astonishing. COOKING UP A TRIBUTE is a documentary that follows the heads of this restaurant, brothers Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca, as they shut down El Celler for five weeks and take their entire staff on a culinary tour of six cities—Houston, Dallas, Mexico City, Monterrey, Bogota, and Lima. Their challenge was to prove that with connectivity and togetherness they would be able to learn how food and drink is approached in other cultures, and design 57 new and inspired dishes to pay tribute to the local flavor. The Roca brothers believe that through this extraordinary gastronomic experience, connecting products from their homeland with products unknown to them, they can connect each others cultures. El Celler also trained approximately 7,000 students during this tour, choosing 13 of them to receive a special training scholarship at their restaurant in Catalonia. COOKING UP A TRIBUTE is a mouth-watering look at the importance of food as a tool and expression of cultural identity.
This movie is not a celebration of local food traditions. It’s a bank-sponsored hand job for Joan and Josep Roca, the brothers behind Spain’s El Celler De Can Roca. The brothers tour South America to learn about indigenous food cultures Spanish colonialists brutally suppressed, leaving their team behind to develop the menus. The tour with staff is really a five-week work trip that could have been the most interesting part of the film, but barely gets any screen time. (ANGELA GARBES)
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