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Askew Review 15

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(Inception Media Group) 2013. Documentary. 93 minutes. Not rated. Following three very different restaurants, Spinning Plates takes viewers into the lives of those who bleed the passion that fuel the eateries. In the kitchen of Chicago’s Alinea (once voted seventh best restaurant in the world), young chef Grant Achatz intertwines quality food, art, and even science to serve and amaze his adoring customers. Family owned and operated for six generations, Iowa’s Breitbach’s Country Dining is more than a restaurant, it’s a vital and bustling member of the rural community.  Trying to achieve the American dream for the sake of their daughter, a Mexican couple in Arizona opened La Cocina de Gabby to offer up homemade south of the border la comida. While all the above reads lovely and nice, you will be rather stunned at the hardships endured by the owners/chefs and their battles to continue doing what they love…creating great food for hungry customers.
            When I first feasted (ha!) on this documentary I really thought it was going to be just another showing of rich restaurateurs and big headed chefs telling me how wonderful they are and why I need to eat their heaven sent food…and boy-oh-boy was I wrong. Without the need of screaming and degrading loud mouthed celebrity chef hosts, director Joseph Levy wonderfully reveals the triumphs, struggles, and heartaches of running a restaurant. Watching how each restaurant came to be is very interesting, but once the “bad stuff’ kicks in, I truly began to appreciate what all those involved had and have to deal with as they continued to carry the culinary torch. No screaming, no fighting, no one yelling orders. Just people talking like true hardworking and passionate humans. It’s admirable to see those do so well with what they set out to do. However, it’s downright inspirational to witness it knowing how they got back up after being knocked on their arses. I’m talking haymaker punches. Foodiefaces will dig Spinning Plates, but one need not be a Food Network fan to get something out of this fine documentary. I forkin’ loved it. You knew that was coming. – Denis Sheehan



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