When a diner settles down for a meal, the simple act of devouring a dish before him belies the effort that goes on behind the scenes. There are the producers who work tirelessly to turn out the best ingredients, master chefs who train for decades to translate ingredients into culinary masterpieces, and their army of kitchen hands who spend over 80 hours a week in the kitchen.
From 21 to 27 July, the Golden Village Food Film Festival throws the spotlight on the culinary world with screenings of six iconic documentaries that range from exploring the famed Tsukiji market in Japan to tracing the trials and tribulations faced by top chefs. Below, six films to consider in lieu of the usual blockbuster headliners:
1. Kampai! For the Love of Sake
Why it's worth watching: What goes into a cup of sake? In this fascinating look at the universe of this famed Japanese export, three outsiders — a British sake brewer with 25 years of experience in Japan, an American journalist who has published multiple guidebooks on sake, and the young president of a centuries-old Japanese sake brewery who wants to make changes to his family legacy — join together to explore the mysterious world of sake. The film illustrates how these unique individuals each have a role to play in the rich, complex, and enigmatic world of sake.
When: 21 July (730pm), 24 July (430pm).
2. Ants on a Shrimp
Why it's worth watching: In January 2015, Noma, recognised as the World's Best Restaurant, and led by its charismatic chef René Redzepi, moved its entire team from Denmark to Japan. Known for his one-of-a-kind cooking and for distilling the Danish landscape and terroir onto a plate, Redzepi and his team apply their philosophy to an entirely foreign experience, using ingredients that they've never seen before, all whilst under the intense pressure and scrutiny that comes with running the world's best restaurant. For the first time ever, this food-filled documentary will offer a glimpse into the mind of one of the world's most influential people and his international team.
When: 22 July (7pm), 23 July (4pm).
3. Tsukiji Wonderland
Why it's worth watching: There's much to be said about a market whose produce is showcased in some of the finest sushi restaurants the world over. Through the lives of professionals working at Tsukiji, the film will portray how Tsukiji has been the center of fish culinary culture and helped Japanese food culture to flourish as we know it today. With Tsukiji moving from its current location to Toyosu in 2016, it's critical to capture this unique fish market in its current state.
When: 22 July (910pm), 27 July (9pm)
4. Sergio Herman F***ing Perfect
Why it's worth watching: For 25 years, three-Michelin-star chef Sergio Herman has sought perfection. At the height of his culinary career, Sergio decided that in order to further pursue his dreams, he must close his famous restaurant Oud Sluis. This documentary is an honest and intimate portrait that shows the struggles of a man in transition. It exposes how Sergio deals with the existential questions and doubts that many of us identify with in life. Sergio Herman, F**KING PERFECT is an intense story of perfectionism, ambition and sacrifice.
When: 23 July (2pm), 24 July (640pm).
Why it's worth watching: The interest in haute cuisine has grown exponentially. This film explores the world of the foodie, a subculture of blogging food critics with a mission to eat at the best restaurants on earth. Through a close study, we get access to the world's most exclusive restaurants and get to know a group of slightly bizarre but charming food maniacs.
When: 25 July (7pm)
6. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Why it's worth watching: In the basement of a Tokyo office building, 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono works tirelessly in his world renowned restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro. As his son Yoshikazu faces the pressures of stepping into his father's shoes and taking over the legendary restaurant, Jiro- san relentlessly pursues his lifelong quest to create the perfect piece of sushi.
When: 26 July (730pm)
These documentaries will be screened from 21 to 27 July at Golden Village Suntec City.