Last Wednesday, I was invited to the special première of Spinning Plates. Seeing the trailer, I came to an understanding that it would be a documentary of three very different restaurateurs. Director Joseph Levy has managed mold a full documentary about the lives, passion and struggles of Grant Achatz of Alinea, Mike Breitbach of Breitbach’s Country Dining and Francisco Martinez of La Cocina de Gabby. It has to be pointed out the no matter how different these three men are, they share a passion of keeping their business going.
The documentary was set to start by 7pm at the TIFF Lightbox. I invited my friend Valerie to come and watch with me and we met up for a quick bite at Bar Hop just a few doors down from the theater (I should point out though that the best bite of the night was the garlic donuts!). Securing the tickets after dinner, as we approached the doors, we saw that there was a reception area. I must say it was the most decadent concession stand. Luma, one of the sponsors for the première, provided popcorn, lobster rolls and the pop for the movie. If I were not full from dinner, I probably would have gone for a second helping. Finally settling on our seats, I was impressed at how very well attended the theater was. I see familiar faces of expectant foodies in the crowd just like me.
As the movie progressed, it wove in and out of what motivated the three men to stand by their business. One would easily understand that the choice of featured restaurateurs have such high contrasts. I believe that was the strength of this documentary. It allows the viewer to see what owners toil about day-to-day from contrasting perspectives. It gives you front view seats allowing you to watch their triumphs and their heartaches. This documentary was up close and personal, delving deeper than most. Most of what we see in network TV shows never speak of most of what really matters to the owners. Just like regular people, they also have their reminders of mortality. Foodie or not, I recommend that you watch this documentary. It would move you to see people with vision and faith and what they do to follow their instincts.