The new documentary The Farmer & The Chef debuted last night in New York City, profiling chef David Kinch of Manresa in Los Gatos, California, and the incredible farmer who grows his produce, Cynthia Sandberg. It’s a beautiful, meditative look at the profoundly seasonal restaurant, which closed in July after a fire, and the intensive biodynamic farming practices that supply the restaurant with its ultra-fresh vegetables. The evening was also packed with thoughtful reflections on cooking, farming and life in general – and the intersection of the three. Here, five Zen master nuggets of wisdom we learned:
1. On the importance of all the senses: "I choose my vegetables by aroma,” said Kinch after the screening. “I find that smells are almost better inspiration than tasting things. And I think aroma is a thing that’s missing from restaurants nowadays. I don’t trust environments where I go and I can’t smell anything, like a hospital. It’s nice to be able to smell things. It makes you hungry. You salivate. It raises your expectations.”
2. On excellence and being in the present moment: “A good chef is only as good as his last meal,” says Sandberg in the film. Farming and cooking – and life – are all ephemeral: we are judged on what we grow (cook, do) today, not what happened yesterday.