11/20/2012 02:05:00 PM

In Celebration of Food Porn at The Food Film Festival


We kept things really classy this weekend and watched a lot of porn, food porn that is, at the third annual Chicago Food Film Festival. The concept is simple, yet we can’t fathom why we haven’t participated in a similar experience before: Watch beautiful films about the production of edible items while simultaneously eating said item. Amazing!

From fried fish to doughnuts and whiskey, the films and the food from Thursday through Sunday were delectable. We stopped by on Saturday night to watch the award ceremonies and the film “Whisky: The Islay Edition.” Imagine if James Bond retired to a small island in Scotland to narrate feature length films set to the soundtrack from Titanic about the eight distilleries on the scenic stretch of land. While watching the film a team of volunteers delivers small samples of smoky booze at the same moment this old Bond was describing the distilleries unique blend. Cool, right? This film was preceded by short films about the most beautifully prepared bacon-wrapped filet and two funnier shorts about vegetables and Food Porn (yes, we had the honor of meeting the world’s first food porn star - watch his work in the video).

Following the screening at Kendall College the party moved to EL Ideas for a special event: midnight ramen. The film “Ramen Dreams” was projected on the wall of the small dining room adjacent to the open kitchen twice the size of the seating area. The film starred chef Keizo Shimamoto, who after touring the world eating Ramen from L.A. to Japan, opened his own ramen restaurant in Tokyo called Bassanova. The perfect bowl of ramen is not a science nor an art, but a religious experience worshiped by noodle-lovers who consider Shimamoto a ramen deity. Of course, we did not go all the way out to EL Ideas on the corner of Middle of Nowhere Street and Where-Am-I Avenue in the middle of the night to watch a video. No, we went to eat ramen prepared by Shimamoto and chef Phillip Foss. This once-in-a-lifetime, multi-sensory experience was fueled by free-flowing beer, sake and cocktails. Everywhere we turned were culinary elite slurping away at a bowl of ramen. Even more special than the initial bowl made with the traditional pork, noodle, seaweed and a soy-soaked egg was the second bowl made from the leftover food from the festival. The kitchen sink bowl of ramen tasted like bacon fat and may have been tastier than the first.

We returned to EL Ideas the following night when the winners of Chicago Food Filmmaker of the Year, Sam Jorden and Mikey Litchfield of Potluck Creative, were on hand to screen their film “Fries + Ice Cream.” The film chronicled a dish that appeared on the menu at EL Ideas for the past three months (the longest any dish has remained on the gastronomic menu). It’s a modern take of French fries and ice cream – think salty fried sipped in sweet soft serve – inspired by Foss’s two young daughters. Not only did we get to enjoy the dish while watching the film that took shape as a leek soup with a thin fried potato topped with vanilla ice cream, but a multi-course tasting menu of Foss’s smart yet approachable food.

Kitchit sponsored the pop-up dinner events. The new company, which already has outposts in New York and California, takes chefs outside of their restaurant kitchens. It allows members to purchase dinner parties prepared in their homes by their favorite chefs, cooking classes or other pop-up dining experiences. They are launching in Chicago later this month.

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