African Pictures | 2017 | 116 minutes
SIFF Says:Take “Iron Chef” and sauté it with a healthy dose of romantic comedy and you’d get COOK OFF, Zimbabwe director Thomas Brickhill’s first feature film. Anesu’s life has come to a standstill with a dead-end cooking job, no romantic prospects, and a mother criticizing her every move. As a school dropout and single mother, she constantly feels the weight of her mother’s judgment. But everyone in town loves her cooking, even if mom won’t admit it. So much so her young son Tapiwa and grandmother enter her name in a competitive cooking TV show “Battle of the Chefs,” based on an actual Zimbabwean program of the same name. Of all 16 competitors, Anesu is the only non-professional chef, a fact many are quick to remind her, but everything starts perking up as she cooks her way through round after round of elimination. Some chefs are upset with the amateur upstart with the exception of Prince, who begins to fall for her. With some devious external forces working against her, Anesu has the chance to change her life and Tapiwa’s forever. This populist rom-com is sure to endear audiences and elicit some appetites.
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