Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘The Wandering Chef’

Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘The Wandering Chef’

There are some voids that no meal can truly fill…

Jiho Im is a world renowned chef who is known from walking from one end of the Korean peninsula to the other foraging for distinctive and unique ingredients for their medicinal purposes.  Despite his success he’s truly an old soul looking for the maternal affection that many take for granted but was taken from him at a very young age.   On one of his journeys down off of a mountain he meets an elder named Soon-Gyu Kim.  She offers him soup and in return he prepares an elaborate meal for then which lays the foundation of a beautiful friendship.

At its core, The Wandering Chef uses our shared love of food at its core but director Hye-Ryeong Park gives us so much more as this is a film that allows for a reflection on our own humanity and the importance of occasionally slowing it down and appreciating the love of a shared experience that you’d traditionally have with family.

As a subject Jiho Im is quite fascinating, because he is a man who does seemingly have it all but as we all know too well, these are the kind of subjects who are looking harder than most for that thing they need to complete them.  In concert with some stellar cinematography this film works because it doesn’t try to hard and allows us as viewers to linger in the quiet moments and appreciate them.

The Wandering Chef shows the genuinely emotional power around the idea of family, but it reminds us all that the spirit of family isn’t as a far away as people like to think.  It can be as close as the simple experience of sharing a meal with people who are important to you.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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