Two months ago I was feted, by my children, to a gastronomical degustation, fit for royalty; four hours of unrelenting, awesome culinary creations; organic, sculptural, floating, fired artistry defying the imagination and palate; cuisine, mythically inspired by a genius, whose gifts surpass Olympian proportions, chef Grant Achatz , renown innovator and owner of “Alinea”, a Michelin three-star restaurant, in Chicago. A moveable, alchemical feast; presented by the Merlin of gastronomes; Achatz’s wizardry is unmatched.
Joseph Levy in “Spinning Plates” takes us on a progressive dining jaunt from the sublime to the benign; commencing with stratospherically divine Alinea, we travel to Balltown, Iowa and “Breitbach’s Country Dining” restaurant , run by descendents of the Breitbach’s, who established the restaurant 150 years ago; hip-expanding, mouth -watering comfort food, dripping in fabulous –fat, coddling- cholesterol, Breitbach’s anchors the town; its hub, meeting and greeting haven; folks flock from neighboring counties, and states to munch on its wickedly delectable fried chicken, decadent mashed potatoes and scrumptious fruit pies; into the dry terrain of Tucson, Arizona where the Martinez family struggles to keep “La Cocina Gabby” off life support.
Levy delves into the herculean obstacles this trinity of restaurants and its owners must fell to thrive; the heart of the film, anyone who loves to cook and eat will recognize, is the capability of food to heal, unite, gift happiness, joy; the inventiveness of the chef to transform simple, accessible ingredients into masterpieces of edible art.
Born with the cooking aesthetic simmering, sloshing through my veins, inherited from my mother and grandmother, I wholeheartedly related to the inspiring, salivating presentations imbued in “Spinning Plates” and the uniqueness of the talented, passionate chefs and the goodness they spread with magical hands and magnanimous spirits.