Filmed over two years, Michelin Stars – Tales From The Kitchen, gives us a behind the scenes look at the lives and stresses of starred chefs with a tale woven together by food critics and diners.
Director Rasmus Dinesen, Producer Jesper Jarl Becker and Culinary Producer Kristian Brask Thomsen come together to form a trio that has been involved in all areas of the culinary world for decades. Rather than showing the usual glamorous experience of a diner seated at a table of awarded restaurant, or a peek into the whirring kitchen, this film brings us into the minds of some of the worlds greatest chefs. It is raw, emotional and pulls back the curtain to reveal the pressures felt by many top chefs to achieve the revered Michelin stars and the perception of these achievements or failures by the world’s top critics. They have successfully created a journey that investigates the myths and mysteries surrounding the Michelin stars and the seemingly secretive awarding process.
Viewers go behind-the-scenes and feel with the chefs who are motivated by such pressure to maintain stars or gain a Michelin star. In the next breath, we are awed and swept away with regret along with those chefs that did not acheive that coveted star or are physically or emotionally weighed down by the thought of failing.
But what did the makers of this film really hope to discover? Kristian Brask Thomsen wanted to go beyond the picture-perfect, Instagram-worthy shots we put out to the world and get under the surface and into the everyday, realistic lives and thoughts of Michelin chefs. They really wanted to see the dark side of this shiny award culture that we all know is there. They have succeeded in showing exactly that, all without snubbing the revered Michelin guide.
Perhaps the only seemingly negative realization viewers may have towards the film is that it feels very similar to the acclaimed Chef’s Table and has a very similar structure and flow. However, by the end, all can agree that this film delves much deeper than the series. It offers such unique insight into the world of Michelin, from Michelin itself. Such access has never been granted to filmmakers and reports in the past.
It can’t be swept under the rug that such a star system has provoked depression, anxiety, health and substance issues and even suicide, but we as viewers recognize that amazing food does not happen on its own or without great toil. We also know so much more of the backstory of the Michelin guide thanks to its director, Michael Ellis, who agreed to be a part of the film. While secrets surrounding the Michelin still remain, Michael opens up in the footage and answers many of the questions we’ve all had floating around in our heads.
Director Rasmus’ goal was that “viewers will leave the film hungry and with a bigger insight in how the mysterious Michelin guide operates.” And we did just that.
Michelin Stars – Tales From The Kitchen was featured at the prestigious opening film of the Culinary Zinema: Film and Gastronomy Sectionat the San Sebastián International Film Festival in 2017, Napa Film Festival and Istanbul International Film Festival. The film is currently being screened at various international film festivals around the world. So far, it has been invited to the Boulder Film Festival, Guadalajara International Film Festival, the Prague International Film Festival, the Moscow Culinary Film Festival and the Indiebo Film Festival in Bogotá and it will have its Danish gala premiere February 18th, the night before and alongside the Nordic Michelin Awards.
Alongside these screenings the 52 minute TV-version is aired through national TV-stations in Denmark, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Israel and Japan. The team hopes to see it available on Netflix soon!
Check out the trailer below.