Today I got an email about some sort of special Netflix offer. They always have a “hey look! free this” or, “one month trial passes for your family” blasts set up to flood my inbox bi-weekly. Usually I pay them no mind, but today, a lightbulb!
I was reminded of the day that Netflix introduced me to one of my favorite foodie documentaries, “Pressure Cooker” (2008).
When considering what I was going to post today, never would I have thought to take the quasi-movie review route. To be perfectly direct, I know nothing about how to write a movie review in the first place! However, this film is a gem. It is a movie that opens the worlds’ eyes to not only the immense power that food has to change lives. It is a movie that highlights the beauty of hardwork and dedication… not to mention it shines a light on just one of the many successes our city of Philadelphia can be proud of. No school district is immune to criticism in today’s society, but “Pressure Cooker” at least deters some of that negative energy to instead focus on a dedicated teacher, and students with dreams.
The movie is set in Northeast Philadelphia, at Frankford High School. It is a film that as the NY Times movie review says, “belongs to an honorable if overpopulated genre of inspirational films.” It has stories within stories, as each individual shares their trials, motivations, and lives to the camera.
3 students. 1 teacher. A year long culinary arts class.
The emotions are real, and the stories will bring you to tears. I chose this film off of my “instant Netflix” line-up on a total whim, yet found myself unable to turn away from the television. The characters are likeable, and of course like many other films in this genre, you find yourself completely invested in their dreams not more than 5 minutes into the film.
“Pressure Cooker” creates a cheerleading squad out of Americans for all students with dreams to be a part of the culinary world. No journey to success is easy, but like these students, not only is the culinary world difficult to conquer, but their lives are as well. Yet, none of that matters when they enter Mrs. Stephenson’s classroom. Chef coats on, hair properly groomed, recipes ready, and troubles are locked outside…..
That is the beauty of food. It has powers beyond just taste.
Rent, borrow, or buy this film. If you love food, you will love it.
You will find yourself the number one fan of these students, through the challenges and successes they display with their families, in the classroom, and at the competition.
A guaranteed smile maker, my foodie friends.