What was in former years a feast of culinary content and events has slimmed down this year into a svelte menu of just two food-focused feature films and three culinary events. (I guess everybody wants to take that belt in a notch.) But as the saying goes, quality is more important than quantity, and this is a rich handful. Along with the opening night party (8 p.m. Saturday, April 13; $85) – as always, catered by a who's who of local chefs – FFF has whipped up a gastronaut's dream day on Saturday, April 14.
Around lunchtime, the panel discussion Taste and Presentation: The Digital Dish (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; $10) brings together polarizing molecular cuisinier Marcel Vigneron (Top Chef, Marcel's Quantum Kitchen) and the mighty Martha Hall Foose (author of the cookbooks Screen Doors and Sweet Tea and Southerly Course) with chefs Gui Alinat and Chad Galiano and “food hacker” Jeff Potter.
Later that evening, at the Saturday Evening Feast (6:30 p.m.; $125) local golden boy Brandon McGlamery (Luma, Prato) creates and serves a five-course dinner in his private dining room, each course a tribute to one of the visiting chefs. Space is extremely limited, but seats were still available at press time.
On the film side, just two feature-and-short pairs are offered this year. Three Stars (see review, page 10) is paired with Zergüt, a paradoxically beautiful short art film about decay; and Jiro Dreams of Sushi (see review, page 12) opens with Pimento Cheese, Please, a loving homage to a very Southern fromage. The shorts programs also hold a sprinkling of fun à table: Fresh Guacamole (also paired with Renee, the opening night feature) is a whimsical stop-motion animated short demonstrating an interesting recipe for everyone's favorite Mexican condiment; Soup takes a short look at a soup kitchen for the homeless in Melbourne, Fla.; and Pass the Salt, Please, with Seymour Cassel and Fionnula Flanagan, offers an alternate to boring dinner conversation.
Annual favorites (Monday's Olive Garden Italian Cinema Night; the awards brunch Saturday, April 21) and Enzian day-to-day fun (the Wednesday Night Pitcher Show) will be folded into the action as well; and the kitchen has added Sunday brunches to the agenda to fuel up hard-core all-day festivalgoers. To buy tickets or for further information, visit floridafilmfestival.com.