Wednesday, 11 May 2016

One on One with Ants on a Shrimp director Maurice Dekkers

At Hot Docs I  had a quick one on one chat with Maurice Dekkers the Director of "Ants on a Shrimp", the documentary about famed Michelin Chef Rene Redzepi's restaurant Noma setting up a PopUp restaurant in Japan.

Maurice and his crew want to shoot like flies on a wall or ants on a shrimp and give the viewer a look from the inside of the inner workings of a high level restaurant in food development.  Rene's goal was to be uncomfortable and break outside of any pre conceived box that people expected him to fall in to. He was a stranger in a new place looking for a way to merge terroir, technique and style to create new dishes you could only find in that particular location at that particular time.

I asked Maurice 10 questions about the film and the food. 

1.  How did you become involved with this project?
"I was working with Rene on a a television series when the opportunity to document the Noma popup came up.

2.  How long did it take to film?
"A couple of months, about a month in the restaurant and the rest in Denmark and around Japan".

3.  What were some of the challenges?
It was self funded. Jumping on it quickly after discussing it with Rene.  It was his first long form documentary.

4.  What do you think about food bloggers?  We agreed that there are good ones and bad ones but he also said that food bloggers helped with his chocolate business, Tony's Chocolonely, in Amsterdam.  He also said that Rene likes storytelling and likes the way some bloggers tell a story about the food.

5.  How big was your crew?
It was a crew of 3 people.

6.  Did you and the crew get to eat any of the Noma food while filming?
"Yes of course, we were the Guinea Pigs".

7.  What was the weirdest thing you ate?
"Cod sperm" and foraged things you don't know you can eat.

8.   Do you have any other projects lined up?  "No, not now".  He will be busy doing the festival circuit for a while.

9.  Have you spent any time at any Toronto Restaurants?  He went to one restaurant for Tapas with the group from Eatable Films but he couldn't remember the name but he enjoyed it.

10.  Do you think Rene's approach in developing recipes using native local food could be a solution to issues like food insecurity, poverty and food waste?

He wasn't sure but thought maybe in some ways, although the food at Noma is very expensive because of the research and development and the man hours to produce the labour intensive food.
He also said that Rene's approach to the Japan Noma was to be uncomfortable and not do exactly what they did in Denmark but learn from their surroundings.

Read my post about the film "Ants on a Shrimp" here:

At the time of this post the film was just beginning the festival circuit so there isn't a theatrical release date yet.