SXSW Film

Daily reviews and interviews

SXSW Film

A Matter of Taste

Documentary Feature Competition
D: Sally Rowe; with Paul Liebrandt, Frank Bruni

As documentaries go, this one doesn't bear much in the way of dramatic tension as it follows visionary chef Paul Liebrandt on his search for the right culinary context in which to realize his considerable potential. In fact, situating former New York Times food critic Frank Bruni as the central villain feels a bit forced. But what is interesting to watch are the interpersonal exchanges: Liebrandt's vulnerability and humility at home with his goofy girlfriend and tiny dog; the loyalty and admiration he inspires in his kitchen staff as he berates, harangues, teases, and mentors them; the quiet faith his business partner, restaurateur Drew Nieporent, has in Liebrandt's ability to succeed. It's a fascinating look at the various textures of a chef's job and how what comes out of his kitchen becomes part of his persona and reputation, from developing menus to managing the kitchen to overseeing the precise placement of garnish on a plate (with tweezers!).


Friday, March 18, 2:30pm, Vimeo

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