Film Review: ‘Finding Gaston’

Peruvian restaurateur Gaston Acurio has a worshipful champion in Patricia Perez with her mouth-watering documentary.

With:
Gaston Acurio, Rene Redzepi, Massimo Bottura, Alex Atala, Jesus Delgado, Ignacio Barrios, Andres Rodriguez, Victoriano Lopez, Rodolfo Tafur, Eduardo Zapata, Juan Ramon Trujillo, Manuel de Rivero, Bernardo Roca Rey, Rocio Heredia, Elba Amparo Velarde Caceres, Alain Ducasse, Ignacio Medina, Andoni Luis Aduriz, Joan Roca. (Spanish, English, Quechua, Swedish, Italian, Portuguese, French dialogue)  

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3662904/reference

Peruvian cuisine’s recent global popularity naturally began at home, with a few discerning gourmets championing the country’s exceptional diversity in ingredients and influences. Chief among those cheerleaders is Gaston Acurio, restaurateur extraordinaire and the subject of Patricia Perez’s worshipful, mouth-watering “Finding Gaston.” If no man is a hero to his valet, no executive chef is a hero to his line cooks, yet such a possibility would seem like sacrilege here among all the accolades. Perez’s enthusiasm is infectious, and Acurio’s support of indigenous farmers and fishermen laudatory; combined with attractive lensing, what more does a culinary documentary need? Pic will be ideal fare for food channels worldwide.

In the docu “Peru Sabe: Cuisine as an Agent of Social Change,” Gaston was a sort of sidekick to Ferran Adria; here, he’s front and center, with ample testimony to his vision from such rock-star chefs as Rene Redzepi and Massimo Bottura. Curiously, Acurio began his restaurant career in Lima, serving up French cuisine with his German wife, Astrid, but feeling unfulfilled, he began thinking about the richness of his country’s gastronomic offerings, and Astrid y Gaston was born, consistently earning coveted spots on lists of the world’s top dining establishments.

That was just the start  Acurio rivals Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich in the number of restaurants he runs, with franchises from Miami to London. His indefatigable personality makes him the perfect ambassador for Peru: It used to be that the country was best known for Machu Picchu, but now apparently it’s the food, and if pundits are to believed, that’s largely because of Acurio. Perez films him traveling the country, sampling regional fare and praising local quinoa farmers practicing traditional crop-raising techniques, as well as fishermen whose methods privileged sustainability long before it was a fashionable concept.

Of course the film also includes the kinds of nail-biting scenes featured in shows like “Chopped,” with Acurio sampling and criticizing dishes brought him by assistant chefs. More often, though, he’s seen nurturing talent: educating school kids about the riches of their land, encouraging a new generation of culinary students, praising local cooks. A host of talking heads testify to Acurio’s significant impact at home and abroad in raising the country’s profile and encouraging a sense of Peruvian pride.

Noticeably absent is Astrid, though their flagship restaurant puts her name before his (she’s glimpsed briefly at a restaurant awards ceremony). More importantly, the food here looks absolutely scrumptious, lovingly photographed in ways that highlight the delectable colors, full of reds, yellows and deep purples. The way Perez organizes the documentary’s various themes feels less than surefooted, but Peruvian restaurants and food carts will see business jump wherever “Finding Gaston” plays.

Film Review: 'Finding Gaston'

Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (Culinary Cinema), Sept. 28, 2014. Running time: 78 MIN. (Original title: “Buscando a Gaston”)

Production: (Documentary  Peru) An Inca Kola, Telefonica presentation of a Chiwake Films production. (International sales: Wide House, Paris.) Produced by Patricia Perez. Co-producer, Ed Talavera.

Crew: Directed, written by Patricia Perez. Camera (color/B&W, HD), Ed Talavera; assistant editor, Fabrizio Deza; music, Novalima, Jean Pierre Magnet, Mark Fraser; sound, Alejandro Rodriguez; associate producer, Rosario Lino.

With: Gaston Acurio, Rene Redzepi, Massimo Bottura, Alex Atala, Jesus Delgado, Ignacio Barrios, Andres Rodriguez, Victoriano Lopez, Rodolfo Tafur, Eduardo Zapata, Juan Ramon Trujillo, Manuel de Rivero, Bernardo Roca Rey, Rocio Heredia, Elba Amparo Velarde Caceres, Alain Ducasse, Ignacio Medina, Andoni Luis Aduriz, Joan Roca. (Spanish, English, Quechua, Swedish, Italian, Portuguese, French dialogue)  

More Film

  • 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Teases Spider-Ham

    'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Teases Spider-Ham, Other Webspinners

    Peruvian cuisine’s recent global popularity naturally began at home, with a few discerning gourmets championing the country’s exceptional diversity in ingredients and influences. Chief among those cheerleaders is Gaston Acurio, restaurateur extraordinaire and the subject of Patricia Perez’s worshipful, mouth-watering “Finding Gaston.” If no man is a hero to his valet, no executive chef is […]

  • Venom Comic-Con

    'Venom' Creators Promise 'Huge World,' Tease Spider-Man Fight

    Peruvian cuisine’s recent global popularity naturally began at home, with a few discerning gourmets championing the country’s exceptional diversity in ingredients and influences. Chief among those cheerleaders is Gaston Acurio, restaurateur extraordinaire and the subject of Patricia Perez’s worshipful, mouth-watering “Finding Gaston.” If no man is a hero to his valet, no executive chef is […]

  • Bully

    Film News Roundup: Danny Trejo's Dark Comedy 'Bully' Scores Distribution

    Peruvian cuisine’s recent global popularity naturally began at home, with a few discerning gourmets championing the country’s exceptional diversity in ingredients and influences. Chief among those cheerleaders is Gaston Acurio, restaurateur extraordinaire and the subject of Patricia Perez’s worshipful, mouth-watering “Finding Gaston.” If no man is a hero to his valet, no executive chef is […]

  • Jamie Lee Curtis Hugs Fan Who

    Jamie Lee Curtis Embraces Sobbing Fan, Who Says 'Halloween' Saved His Life

    Peruvian cuisine’s recent global popularity naturally began at home, with a few discerning gourmets championing the country’s exceptional diversity in ingredients and influences. Chief among those cheerleaders is Gaston Acurio, restaurateur extraordinaire and the subject of Patricia Perez’s worshipful, mouth-watering “Finding Gaston.” If no man is a hero to his valet, no executive chef is […]

  • Teen Titans Go to the Movies

    Film Review: 'Teen Titans GO! to the Movies'

    Peruvian cuisine’s recent global popularity naturally began at home, with a few discerning gourmets championing the country’s exceptional diversity in ingredients and influences. Chief among those cheerleaders is Gaston Acurio, restaurateur extraordinaire and the subject of Patricia Perez’s worshipful, mouth-watering “Finding Gaston.” If no man is a hero to his valet, no executive chef is […]

  • Glass trailer

    M. Night Shyamalan's 'Glass' Trailer Debuts at Comic-Con

    Peruvian cuisine’s recent global popularity naturally began at home, with a few discerning gourmets championing the country’s exceptional diversity in ingredients and influences. Chief among those cheerleaders is Gaston Acurio, restaurateur extraordinaire and the subject of Patricia Perez’s worshipful, mouth-watering “Finding Gaston.” If no man is a hero to his valet, no executive chef is […]

  • Los Angeles Philharmonic Association - John

    Symphonic Sharks and Stormtroopers: Hollywood Bowl's Movie Nights Pull Curtain Back on Film Scores

    Peruvian cuisine’s recent global popularity naturally began at home, with a few discerning gourmets championing the country’s exceptional diversity in ingredients and influences. Chief among those cheerleaders is Gaston Acurio, restaurateur extraordinaire and the subject of Patricia Perez’s worshipful, mouth-watering “Finding Gaston.” If no man is a hero to his valet, no executive chef is […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content