The 13th Annual Food Film Festival
There is no delicacy better than having flavorful food served to you while watching films about what it is you’re eating. As they say in the art world, you have to know the history of what you’re looking at, in order to understand the piece. The same goes for food. You appreciate it all the more once you know the backstory of the chef and restaurant. The Food Film Festival provides you with that irreplaceable experience.
Upon arrival at AMC Empire 25, VIP guests were shown to the pre-party room, where doors opened at 6:15. The room was detailed with dishes, all prepared by Chef Stephen Yen. As each plate was thoughtfully placed, it enriched the atmosphere of the room, along with the drinks that were served by The Shanty and New York Distilling Company. The food and beverages served at the pre-party represented the diverse neighborhoods that inhabit New York, from lox bagels and roasted nuts to hot dogs, and kimchi fried rice, along with cocktails, wine, and beer. This prelude excited guests, leaving them in cheerful anticipation for what the theater had in store for them.
Afterwards, all GA & VIP guests took their seats, George Motz, Festival Director and co-founder said a few words and then the first film began.
The first film was about Lagunitas Brewery which quenched the guests thirst with Lagunitas IPA. It was the first of seven items to be passed down the rows for all to try. The second film, directed by Liza Mosquito deGuia, featured Erik Ramirez, a chef of a modern Peruvian restaurant. Many of his dishes were showcased, however, when the Tuna ceviche appeared on screen, it appeared in front of the audience as well. This dish filled your mouth with a savory flavor. The third film excited the audience as it centered on a more specialized type of cooking: bugs. While Chef Joseph Yoon spoke about his passion for bugs in the film, everyone else was sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to try the cricket-crusted fried chicken.
The Food Film Festival is such a riveting event that not one but two restaurants revived just for it. The first was Gyro II, which festival co-founder, George Motz, actually directed the film for. The second was Ramen Shack. In between the gyro meat with the famous white sauce being served from Gyro II, and ramen broth from Ramen Shack, carnitas con queso with braised chicken was served. The significant piece in what may seem like a typical carnita is the Piaxtla tortilla. The brothers who now own the company have a family history going back to their father who used to be a driver for the tortilla factory. The concluding dish was a sweet treat: an Indonesian style coconut pancake. The film focuses on their stand that sells this authentic cuisine and how it’s making was due to the lack of its prominence here.
After the films came to an end, the night went on in what was the original VIP party room and the outside terrace. There was a surplus of dishes that were extensions of the Chefs, restaurants, and factories menus shown in the films. With each bite that the attendees took, the food left everyone with radiating smiles.