Sam Choy's Poke to the Max

Culinary Cinema | 2016 | 40 minutes

Stranger Says:

The first few minutes of this short film feel like a tribute video to Hawaiian chef Sam Choy—the kind with glowing reminiscences by friends and family that’s watched at an uncle’s 60th birthday party. The film does contain a few excellent moments exploring native Hawaiian ingredients and cuisine, as well as the multicultural effects foreign-owned plantations and migrant Asian workers had on Hawaiian culture. Sadly, though, it never rises above being a promotional video for the restaurant and food truck owned by Choy and his business partners. (ANGELA GARBES)

SIFF Says:

Poké, meaning to cut or slice, is a salad of raw seafood (often yellowfin tuna or octopus) mixed with Asian seasonings, which has become emblematic of the Hawaiian Islands' multi-ethnic culture. Chef and Food Network star Sam Choy was born into a family of cooks. In fact, the ability to cook was a skill required of Choy and his siblings from a young age. (“If you didn't cook, you didn't eat,”) remembers Choy's brother. For Sam, however, this demand would turn first into a passion and then a profession; he became known as the Godfather of Poké by the many locals who watched his cooking show. Choy's passion for Poké would continue to grow, eventually taking shape as a fleet of food trucks—perhaps the first such trucks in existence, establishing what is now a nationwide trend. Delightful and delectable, Sam Choy's Poké to The Max charts Choy’s meteoric rise and the exploding popularity of both Poké and the food-truck phenomenon, just at the moment when Choy's Poké to the Max food trucks have arrived in Seattle, bringing the true taste of Hawaii to the Emerald City.

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Film Credits
Terrence Jeffrey Santos
Sam Choy, Geo Quibuyen, Yugi, Okumoto, Max Heigh
SIFF 2016