The new movie ‘Spinning Plates’ at first glance profiles three very different restaurants. Many in Chicago are familiar with Alinea and it’s standing at the top of the restaurant world. The other two restaurants profiled are very different. One a family run place Breitbacht’s Country Dining is located in Balltown, Iowa and serves hearty comfort food in LARGE portions for the better part of 150 years. The other a small new place in Tuscon, La Cocina de Gabby, where a husband and wife with extended family struggle daily to keep a restaurant open.
The movie transitions well and sets up the ending nicely but the story being told amongst the three can be very different at times. While the team at Alinea is waiting to hear if they receive three Michelin stars, Cocina de Gabby owners are concerned with losing their home to foreclosure. It demonstrates that even though all three are restaurants, the owners live in very different worlds.
The story does well to talk about community and the humanity for those who give their lives to work in and own restaurants. The Breitbacht’s came back from two disasters and are the model for a community coming together to help their own. Chef Achatz tells very directly about his struggles with tongue cancer and the impact of his childhood on his life and raising his own boys. Francisco and Gabby Martinez never seem to lose hope or love for one another as they fight every day for their restaurant and daughter.
You can’t help but root for each place to do well even though their goals are completely different. For those fans in Chicago of Alinea and Next, the movie shows snippets of behind the scenes discussion and planning for Next which adds a nice nod to the success they now have at all their restaurants.
All in if you’re a fan of food, movies and the human struggle, you’ll enjoy ‘Spinning Plates.’
Joe Campagna is the Chicago Food Snob. A former restaurant General Manager, Server and Chef you can find him on twitter @chifoodsnob. You can reach him through email at email@example.com