Creator, executive producer, and director David Gelb talks inspiration behind Netflix docu-series Chef's Table.
Ben Shewry of Attica Restaurant in Melbourne, Australia is one of the six chefs featured in Chef's Table
What does it take to head up some of the world's most exclusive restaurants? How does it feel to cook food that diners will remember forever? Director David Gelb finds out through his newly-released Netflix docu-series, Chef's Table, in which he dissects the life of some of the most renowned chefs in the world, both inside and outside of the kitchen.
Here, we chat with Gelb about the inspiration behind the show, his own relationship with food, and his future endeavors (plus, a bit about Jiro Dreams of Sushi, his very successful first documentary).
Where did the concept of Chef's Table come from? David Gelb:Chef's Table is something I've always wanted to make. I first had the idea in college to make a series inspired by BBC's PlanetEarth. I thought I would make the PlanetEarth of food. Ultimately that proved to be too big an undertaking and I narrowed the scope to sushi, and then further narrowed the scope to following a single main character and his family. Chef's Table is a series of six hour-ish long documentaries about other inspiring chefs from around the world, shot in the same kind of cinematic [and] character-driven approach as Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
Both Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Chef's Table deal with food. Where does this fascination come from? DG: I love to eat. My mother is a recipe chef that helps interpret recipes for cookbooks and my dad is a terrific chef and a food connoisseur. I've grown up eating very well and I love sharing my perspective on food with others.
Do you like to cook? What would we be surprised to find in your kitchen? DG: I love cooking all kinds of food. Often I like to cook things that my parents would make for [me] growing up. I love making spaghetti with clams or doing a chicken in the style of Francis Mallmann. One of the most important things in my kitchen is my Villa Manodori balsamic vinegar, created by Massimo Bottura. It's my secret weapon and probably the finest product one can buy at Whole Foods.
What's the best dining experience you've ever had? DG: Eating at Sukiyabashi Jiro for the first time was a revelation that changed my life.
What can we expect from you next? DG: A Faster Horse, my documentary on engineers building a legendary car, which [recently premiered] at the Tribeca Film Festival.