August 31, 2018 - Written by: Nancy Pollard
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Another Side To The Chef’s Table

 photo of 42 Grams Restaurant by Barry BrecheisenWho does not enjoy the lushly filmed and reverential Netflix series , The Chef’s Table?  My husband and I watch every one and have even revisited  ones that shared the full gamut of determination, love, loss and laughter of the owners.  One such episode featured Massimo Bottura and his restaurant in Modena — also famous as the spot where we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.  The film is beautifully shot and edited, and the interviews are like deftly cut puzzle pieces that make the viewer figure out what is alluded to but not said.  This bit of deft art is part of a film series that shows the magic that can happen when a generous budget meets artistic acumen. 

But we are riveted also by lesser known films with significantly smaller budgets that draw you into the dark underbelly of fine cuisine: 42 Grams is one of them.  It is almost like Fight Club meets a start-up restaurant.   A proudly undereducated but gifted sous chef who has survived the toxic kitchen of Charlie Trotter (any Google search will give you oodles of documentation on the wacko world of Trotter’s Restaurant in Chicago) teams up with his tech-savvy wife, first to create restaurant “events” in their apartment. These “pop-up” dinners were received with great joy by the diners and gave the couple the impetus to proceed to the next step.  

From Small Time To Big Time

The goal for Jake Bickelhaupt and Alexa Welsh was to create a restaurant that would win a Michelin Star — difficult under any circumstances, but especially with almost no real 42 Grams stillinvestor capital. But Chicago is and was a hot bed of quality-driven chefs, so Michelin might pay attention. Through sheer talent, hard work, and grit, this couple more than succeeds.  It’s a great story, but the unremarked details that offer only visual clues make this film a compelling watch.  

 Check out the trailer and pick your streaming source. But first  finish watching this documentary before you google the post-film stories. 

We always welcome your comments on films we have reviewed in Kitchen Detail blog.  Let us know your thoughts on this documentary about inner demons featured here and the exterior ones in in Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent




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