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Feb 2, 2010 06:11 AM

Recommend Some Loud, Interesting Kitchens

Greetings all--

I'm a local small-time filmmaker looking to make a "Direct Cinema" influenced short about a local kitchen. To over-simplify, Direct Cinema is basically a documentary of sorts that simply shows events unfolding with out any voice over narration or any kind of formal, talking head interviews. Very fly-on-the-wall stuff.

What I'm looking for is a busy kitchen with an exciting staff to film for a day-- from prep work to clean up. I totally and fully realize, having friends in the industry, that allowing a camera into a kitchen, where space is always at a premium, is going to be a tall order, but I have to try.

I've gotten some suggestions from other people who work in kitchens and restaurants, but thought I'd ask here to: Does anyone have some ideas about a loud, bustling kitchen that might look good on film (err... HD video)? Any exciting chefs with powerful personalities? Any ideas would be greatly helpful-- I'm guessing I'll probably have to have a long list to even get one kitchen to agree...


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  1. The Daily Catch! (North End)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Prav

      Thanks for the suggestion! Why specifically did you recommend this one?

      1. re: Tom Servo

        I ate there last night and forgot how boisterous the "characters" who work in the kitchen are. In a completely charming way! Plus the fact that the kitchen is a completely open corner of the tiny little dining room that is The Daily Catch. :) You see/hear EVERYTHING.

        Great food served up with some attitude.

        Definitely may be worth investigating.

    2. Doesn't Craigie on Main have seats right in front of the kitchen?
      Ten Tables in JP too.
      No comment on any personalities therein.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        Ha! I've heard from other cooks that the dude at Craigie can be... animated.

        The kitchen certainly doesn't have to be open, in face it might complicate things if it is as if I get a lot of customers in the shots, I'll have to get them all to agree to being filmed which can be a pain. I'm not adverse to it, but a closed kitchen would might be easiest.

      2. I don't know if he meets the "exciting personality" standard, but I'm always amazed at what Zamir Kociaj does at Trattoria Toscana, basically serving his entire restaurant from a four-burner cooktop and a small grille, pretty much doing everything except some prep work himself. I'd love to see a few minutes of him handling the Saturday night crush.

        The open-kitchen places with counter seating (Ten Tables, Craigie, O Ya, Myers + Chang, Taberna de Haro, etc.) seem less compelling to me, since any customer could walk in and get that experience just by requesting the right seat. I'm be more curious to see a behind-the scenes at closed-kitchen places: maybe Oleana, Peach Farm (you'd need subtitles, I suspect), Clio, the Soiree Dining Room at UpStairs doing a big tasting menu, perhaps Grill 23, that sort of thing.

        4 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          I totally agree about the open kitchen vs. closed. I mean, really, the point here is to see an entire night of service from prep to clean from the kitchens point of view, so I think it would work best with the closed kitchen.

          Also, I don't need a pre-established personality-- In other words, the person doesn't need to be a "name", I'm only looking for a louder, busier kitchen as I think that will show up better in a short film than say a slower or quieter kitchen.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            Good points on open kitchens.

            In line with the Trattoria Toscana suggestion, how about Highland Kitchen? Isn't that kitchen one of the smallest around? I thought I had heard something about how small it was.

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              It's hard to imagine a tinier kitchen than the one at the Delux Cafe. Also, the kitchen at Garden at The Cellar is impressive for the range and number of different dishes that they serve out of a really small kitchen.


            2. re: MC Slim JB

              fine dining kitchens, like clio, actually tend to be relatively quiet. (barring the occasional chef tirade, of course, lol.) the servers are not allowed to chit-chat in there, the cooks do not banter and only the chef is talking, by calling out orders and then expediting finished plates to get in the dining room. everybody is focused. the kitchens can also be insanely small.

              when film crews come they generally are in and out -- there simply isn't space or patience and unless there is serious p.r. factor, not usually worth the hassle.

              sorry, just my 2 cents as a restaurant lifer, who has spent plenty of time dodging lights and cables .

            3. The guys at East Coast Grill are a lot of fun to watch do their thing. Bonus points for lots of swearing and tattoos. They like you even more if you buy them beer, but who doesn't?

              1 Reply
              1. I love the kitchen counter at Redbones (open, but maybe small enough to focus in on them?). Those guys back there rock in an unpretentious, blue collar kind of way. I bet some of them have interesting stories.

                1 Reply
                1. re: digga

                  Second the very busy kitchen at Redbones.