Step Up to the Plate is a delicate film.
The power of the documentary is that it forces you to be silent, to observe the way food is prepared and discussed as though we are a student watching our mentors.
There’s an intriguing storyline of a father finally handing over the day to day operations of his restaurant, that he and his family has nurtured for decades.
The recipient, is his son.
The film is divided into seasons, and travels over many lovely landscapes – a sort of ‘Sideways’ for the culinary industry. Ever present is Michael Bras, French master chef, who despite agreeing to the changing of the guard, still hovers over each dish in such a quaint way, not really wanting to give full control over just yet. He is a symbol of the old time.
There is a sense of pride from each person in this film. Pride in their work, pride in their food, and pride in continuing long standing traditions.
It is hard to find fault in this documentary and it is refreshing to experience the workings of kitchens and restaurants in a open collaborative environment.
I really felt as though it was a privilege to observe the discussions made between Michel Bras and his son Sébastien. ‘Food is for eating’ Sebastien argues to Michel, as the French chef is admiring the dish his son made. Michel argues ‘But you look at it first you know’. And there lies the beauty of Step Up To The Plate.
Score: 3 stars
Screening at Sydney Film Fesitval 2012