Food on Film promises another joint venture between moviegoers and meal-makers.
What does Matt Galloway do in the afternoons after his shift hosting the CBC’s Metro Morning? He rolls around Toronto trying out restaurants.
“I work really early in the morning and I spend a lot of the rest of the day exploring,” said Galloway in a phone interview last week. “The easiest and best way to learn about what’s happening in a neighbourhood is to find somewhere to eat.” The roaming gastronomist will be combining his twin skills of good conversation and culinary adventure at TIFF this Wednesday, as host of their upcoming six-part Food on Film program.
Now in its fourth season, Food on Film invites chefs and food experts to pick a tasty film and then talk about it afterward. According to Galloway, movies are like meals: they both transport you. “When it works together, the best movies about food have a way of moving you to a different place,” he said. “Or of making you hungry.”
This year’s lineup of savoury celluloid starts on March 11 with Vancouver restaurateurs Vikram Vij (also a host on CBC Television’s Dragons’ Den) and Meeru Dhalwala, who’ll be presenting the deeply charming comedy-drama The Lunchbox, about a lonely pair who find love through a food-delivery mishap. Vij and Dhalwala will be sharing some secrets to preparing Indian dishes and talking about the recent restaurant trend toward home-style cooking.
The Food on Film series aims to highlight current developments and relevant issues in food culture. On April 1, culinary anthropologist Naomi Duguid will screen The Gleaners & I, a doc about people who pick over harvested fields and scour for leftover food. The Grain Divide, showing on June 3, examines issues around what kinds of grains we produce and consume, and what that means for our health and our planet.
Galloway is particularly excited for that screening, as it will be presented by one of his culinary heroes, Chad Robertson. Galloway learned to bake from Robertson’s rather involved recipe—it’s 37 pages long—and he’s been trying to master it for the last few years. Galloway admires that Robertson “creates this starter that has no yeast in it. It’s just the yeast that exists in the air and on your hands…. To be able to combine flour and water and that thing that exists in the air around us, it’s like magic.”
But not every screening is quite so educational or esoteric. California chef Jonathan Waxman—known for personalizing traditional European cuisine—will be presenting Meatballs, the comedy classic by Ivan Reitman (who also happens to be his partner at Toronto restaurant Montecito). And the mad-scientist chef Wylie Dufresne will be showing Jeunet and Caro’s cannibal classic Delicatessen and talking about his very experimental approach to gastronomy.
No matter how haut the cuisine or avant-garde the film, food and movies are about as democratic as you can get. “People have to eat,” said Galloway. “You should try to be meaningful and mindful about what you’re eating and how you’re eating.” Food on Film screenings start at 6:30 p.m., the perfect time to postpone dinner. Better to wait—you may get some ideas.
Food on Film starts March 11, and runs monthly through June. Tickets run $28 for TIFF Members or $35 for non-members and can be purchased here.