I was I was allowed a rare opportunity this week to pre-review the videos for the Monday-Friday series on Arte written by my colleague at Paris by Mouth and frequent co-diner Sophie Brissaud, known to many of you on Chowhound and previously on eGullet as Ptipois.
Her concept/conceit was to feature 5 folks, largely chefs, who are close to the soil and sea in which their products come from; it was, despite my clear conflict of interest, a brilliant idea and pulling it off must have been somewhat like filming Hertzog's Fitzcarraldo or Terry Gilliam/Jean Rochefort's Don Quixote.
In any case, it starts off with Arnaud Daguin, he of Auch, Hegia and now sequential restos in Paris and his Auberge/Farm in the Basque country; moves on to Luke Burgess in Tasmania, who according to Foodtourist.com "not only forage[s] for hard-to-find local produce but also for the singular way in which they encourage local producers to strive for excellence and then reward them when they achieve that goal;" then to Godfrey Nzamujo, a priest if you can believe it, in this day of Church-bashing, pedophilia and disrespect for the female religious, who is sort of a modern day Pied Piper, and according to New Agriculturist "is the founder and director of the Songhai Centre, a pioneering farm, training and research centre in Porto Novo, Benin. Begun in 1985 on a single hectare of land, the Songhai project has expanded to six sites in Benin and one in Nigeria" growing local produce, previously sort of forgotten in the blizzard of canned foods, etc; Dai Jianjun, who according to Fuchsia Dunlop in the FT, is one of the best of "China’s artisanal food producers;" and our own David Kinch, of Manresa in Los Gatos CA, rated as one of the best restaurants in the world who "uses organic produce from local biodynamic producer Love Apple Farms to create playful dishes that showcase the region’s unique produce."
It is a luscious series, with exquisite scenes of where the produce comes from and how it is served to the end user - we the diners.
If you are in France next week, I strongly encourage you to tune in to Arte (number 5 on your dial) at 7 PM every night October 15-19 and enjoy.