Posts filed under Travel

The Film GRINGO TRAILS Pleads for Respectful Travel

Tourism is one of the most powerful forces globalizing our plant. Travel to distant places has expanded and thankfully broadened our horizons. Tahiti is no longer just a photo in an aging copy of the National Geographic. Now the adventurous traveler can fly and stay almost anywhere in total comfort.

Yet all is not as marvelous as it seems. Consider the Gringo Trails

Crisscrossing South America, Africa and Asia, the Gringo Trails offers hardy traveler rural indigenous adventures. But at the same time, thoughtless travelers have an equal opportunity to alter the once pristine environment and disrespect the local culture.

A new film, Gringo Trails, presents the strong belief by leading members of the Travel Industry, from Lonely Planet to the National Geographic Society, that travel to another cultural or environment MUST be respectful of that culture and environment. Otherwise, just Stay Home!

This not to say that cultural tourism should be stopped. Rather it is a plead from regional tourist boards, rural villages, travel writers and even members of the Bhutan Royal Family to learn to travel respectfully, without injury to place or people.

This insightful film asks all who see it to consider the once beautiful beaches now covered with cans and broken bottles, the peaceful village where blaring music now shatters the calm.

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In short, who has the right to define a community: those who live there or those who only visit there and then depart? 

There are a growing number of organizations now beginning to address this very question. One such organization is the World Food Travel Association. Founded and directed by the world veteran traveler Erik Wolf, this organization offers both training and certification focused on a wiser and more consider form of travel than the older what’s-in-it-for-me-alone form of tourism.

Food, as Erik Wolf points out, is a common human experience. So is travel and the longing to see other places and meet new people. Let’s be sure we do both with respect and honor.

Your Culinary World Copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel  2014

CHEF is a Movie Even the CIA Could Love

There are foodie films and then there are movies that reach beyond Hollywood’s stereotypes about romantic soufflés into the art of heart of why professional cooks cook. One wonderfully different film that pulls no punches is Jon Favreau’s new film CHEF.

And, no, this film is not about the military CIA but rather the far more peace and creative CIA (Culinary Institute of America) in upstate New York, Texas and California.

The authenticity of this film is amazing from knife skills to how chefs create. The story begins as Chef Carl Casper (written and played by Jon Favreau) faces culinary boredom as a ‘successful’ high-end Los Angeles chef who has been cooking the same boring dishes for five long years. Mon dieu!

                       

When Chef Casper learns that he is about to be reviewed by the famed critic Ramsey Michel (played to perfection by Oliver Platt) he decides to alter the long established menu and create something new and innovative.

His urge to create brings him into direct conflict with the restaurant’s owner (played as a cold hearted money man by Dustin Hoffman). The result is a disaster that literally goes viral thanks to the Internet and soon the Chef is unemployed, drifting without a compass professionally or personally.

The rest of the film follows the Chef with humor and pathos as he rediscovers thanks to a food truck, an insightful son and fine friends that cuisine to be authentic must reach beyond the kitchen and connect with life.

In the end there is laughter and music and joy for both the Chef and the audience lucky enough to catch this uniquely honest film that in the end does more than show the stress and strain of the back of the house. It captures as few films do the true reason cuisine is an art – when well done we can changes lives: including our own.

Your Culinary World Copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2014