The screen was minimal and the chairs not particularly comfortable in the basement of the Gropiusbau Museum, the venue for the film THE HEAT: A KITCHEN (R)EVOLUTION. But that didn’t put off moviegoers as the audience knew the best was yet to come.
Thomas Struck the curator of the section Kulinarisches Kino (Culinary Cinema) was bubbling with enthusiasm as he introduced the Canadian director Maya Gallus and one of the star chefs portrayed in the film, Angela Hartnett. Angela had flown in from Britain with part of her team to prepare a four course meal for over 200 of us. She scurried off back to her kitchen in the tent while we watched the movie. The documentary was well received by the audiences, images of seven female chefs and their delectable dishes shone on the screen. This only seemed to make us hungrier then famished and finally voracious in anticipation of what Angela was busy preparing in the kitchen.
After the film finished we crossed the street to our new venue, the Gropiusbau Spiegelzelt (Gropius Mirror Restaurant), an eatery that sprouts up only once a year at the Berlinale. It is a replica of a 1920’s mirrored tent, decorated with red velvet curtains and antique dark-wood siding, and of course, many, many mirrors.
We were escorted to our seats and were a bit relieved to meet the friendly family from Milton Keynes/Berlin sharing our table. Food does bring people together in the most delightful way possible.
The atmosphere was magical which may have had a lot to do with the surplus of young, smiling servers, the delicious food, the never ending refilling of wine glasses, and did I mention, we were all quite ravenous.
The four course menu was Italian if not Italian inspired: miniscule bites of salt cod fritters, tortellini (made on the premises), braised turbot, and hazelnut mousse and chocolate banana sorbet. Three German wines, two Riesling and one Spätburgunder were served with wild abandon.
After the meal Thomas Struck appeared with Angela Hartnett, Maya Gallus, and the editor of the magazine Der Feinschmecker, Madeline Jakits. Thomas Struck was more effervescent than ever proclaiming the meal had been the best dinner ever served in the entire history of the Kulinarisches Kino. Madeline Jakits was the larger than life interviewer with a personality and wit to match Angela’s. It didn’t take much prodding for Angela to speak about her Italian/Irish/British heritage, her family keeping her grounded, Brexit, and then Brexit, and Brexit again, and also about the Blokes, the male chefs who dominate the culinary scene. Angela had been a partner with the infamous Chef Gordon Ramsay, which most likely made her immune to just about anything.
It was about midnight when we hopped into a cab with visions of tortellini dancing in our heads. For foodies/film lovers it was a perfect night.