Filmmaker Patty Ivins new documentary Hungry tracked three really inspiring women chefs for six months as they all went through crucial periods for their own restaurant businesses. They, and the other industry experts that Ivins interviewed set the scene with facts and figures proving how difficult it still is for women chefs even at the top of their field to be able to survive and succeed as entrepreneurs in a male dominated business.
Chef Sarah Kirnon originally from England via Barbados owns and runs Miss Ollie’s in Oakland, CA where she specializes in cooking dishes she learnt from her grandmother who the restaurant is named after. The Chef has a passion for working with the local community, both as a source for her ingredients, but also for her staff and customers. Now that Miss Ollie’s is in its 4th successful year, she wants to turn the business into a cooperative so that her team can take a collective responsibility in its running and its future.
On the other hand Chef Dakota Weiss owns and runs both Estrella a high-end restaurant and Sweetfin a new fast food eatery both in L.A. She has managed to secure the major ingredient that is not available to most women chefs i.e. financial backing, and she and her investors are in the throes of opening anther 6 Sweetfin establishments within the next 9 months. What Chef Dakota lacks however is time for anything approaching a personal life and although she currently works 18 hours a day, she really wants the real possibility to doing another six.
The third and final story is the most heart-tugging one of them all as it is as about Chef Pink Delongpre who chose to give up her coveted chefs jobs to finally go out on her own. She and her wife Courtney Rae chose to open a farm-to-table tiny restaurant in a very small town in the middle of California. When the lease was up on their establishment where there they made their exotic sandwiches, they had to grab the only available empty premises in town to relocate Bacon & Brine. With the bank refusing them loan, and the re-building costs going wildly over budget, everybody was biting more than their nails with the worry of it all.
Between the three Chefs we got a fascinating glimpse into the reality that being a whizz in the kitchen is simply not enough for women restaurant entrepreneurs to succeed.
If there is one niggle about Ivin’s compelling documentary is these three different chefs had such fascinating stories to tell, it seemed a pity to squash them all into a one hour movie
Hungry has its premiere on Thursday, November 17 at 9pm ET/PT on LOGO TV