Saturday, 5 November 2016

Chef: Pressssure Cooooker

At Frankford High, Wilma Stephenson teaches a touch culinary arts class, and this is one year with them.

Wilma is immediately presented as touch as nails, and she lives up to it too. We also meet several of the students and go into their lives. We follow them through school and eventually to them trying to get culinary scholarships (which you can already tell not all of them are going to get, because this isn't that sort of documentary). We see the students cooking and the students trying to get by in the rest of their lives. They all have a story, we get it and the cooking.

I'm not sure if the maker of this documentary was very cynical or very passionate. My cynical sense says "hey, here's a group of black kids with trouble stories, trying to do good, easy documentary!". This film feels over padded, with too much focus on the students. But I'm not sure if that comes from "I care about these kids so much I want to put in as much of them as possible" or "I don't care about this, so just shove all the footage into it." Either way, this should have had a more strict editors.

But this is about the cooking and the kids and Wilma. We get that Wilma is tough because she cares, and in the end the kids do their best to live up to her and to themselves. And although only some of them were "good enough" for scholarships, for damn sure, they'll be better and more dedicated to what they are doing than I'll ever be.


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