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San Diego Film Festival

San Diego Film Festival celebrates our eleventh anniversary with five days filled with 100 award-winning films; intimate gatherings with filmmakers and celebrities; high-powered industry workshops and four nights of San Diego`s most glamorous parties.




From Film to Food - a Culinary Screening Event at San Diego Fest

My Sunday opened with about as pleasant a greeting as it gets, with a glass of champagne and a good documentary. The film followed a renowned chef in Juan Mari Arzak as he passed the torch down to his daughter, Elena Arzak and their collective journey towards legendary chef status. For a food documentary, it was less focused on the dishes themselves, and more on the creators behind the dish.

Juan has spent decades solidifying himself as one of the world's premiere chefs, accumulating multiple Michelin stars along the way. His daughter, Elena, spent the majority of her life soaking up his knowledge and is now poised to take over the family legacy. This transition does not seem to come easy. Elena faces an uphill battle in a male dominated industry with pressure to not only carry the torch, but to keep its light from dimming. A tall order that she seems poised to handle. 

The doc on its own was pretty good. It covers gender disparities in the world of fine dining and shows the audience the level of passion required to be elite at what you do. However, when paired with a 6 course meal and open bar, the experience is incomparable. After the screening, guests were taken down to a terrace with a gorgeous view of Mission Bay. They brought 6 incredible local chefs, each cooking unique dishes inspired by the film. For the next hour, I was in heaven. 

I started my meal with a mind blowing Chistorra Stuffed Potato Donut topped with a Quince Aioli & melted Idiazabal Cheese made by chefs from ‘Above Ash Social.’ I had never had anything quite like it. A perfect balance of sweet and savory. As other lines became long, I found myself making quick trips back to their stand for seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths….

I then made my way over to Chef Percy Oani serving a Beef Short Rib dish with a Sweet Potato Puree drizzled on by a Korean Spiced Demi-Sauce and Kimchi. The Sweet potato Puree complimented the Short Rib excellently and the sauce gave it a nice tropical tang. 

One of the best courses of the afternoon was the assorted tapenades which came with Olive Oil cured Tuna, Caper stuffed Piquillo Peppers, San Sebastian sauce and Assorted Montaditos. It was a barrage of flavors that were hard to keep up with. I certainly found myself going back to that table a handful of times. I just couldn’t get enough. 

A crowd favorite of the day was the short rib mac and cheese, topped with habanero bbq sauce. When the dish was announced before the event, the whole theatre groaned in anticipation. The line stretched across the terrace, but it was well worth the wait. If it hadn’t been for the excessive line, I would have had a couple more rounds. But of course, by the time I went back for seconds, they were cleared out. 

Of all the incredible dishes, the next course struggled to hold up. It was a Shrimp Penne with a tomato cream sauce and peppers. The dish was decent but the surrounding food vastly overshadowed it. I quickly ate it and moved on. 

The final, and by far the best dish, was the Truffle Penne tossed in a parmesan cheese wheel. Provided by chefs from ‘The Flamingo Deck,’ the Truffle Penne was a crowd favorite. The line stretched across the whole event and never died down. There were still at least 20-25 people waiting as the next screening began. It was a perfect texture. Creamy and savory, caked in cheese and truffle, an indulgent explosion of flavor. 

I stayed at the event until minutes before the next screening, taking in as much food as I could, washing it down with drinks from the open bar. Not bad for a Sunday afternoon.



Written by: Cameron Lui



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About San Diego Film Festival

San Diego Film Festival celebrates the art & style of film for five days in September with 100 award-winning films; intimate gatherings with filmmakers and celebrities; high-powered industry workshops and five nights of San Diego`s most glamorous parties!

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