The directorial debut from Koki Shigeno’s examines the art and culinary artists behind the “cheap, immediate, and deeply satisfying” dish.
As any food lover, critic, or chef will tell you, it’s not just about what’s on your plate—it’s also how it got to you. There is something to be said about the art of cooking, and about the time, effort, and care that goes into making a meal. And it’s this idea that is at the heart of Koki Shigeno’s directorial debut, Ramen Heads, slated to open for a limited release this week.
A deep-dive into the culinary culture of ramen, Shigeno’s film offers viewers a dash of ramen's historical roots, but largely follows the life, art, and work of Japan’s “king of ramen,” Osamu Tomita. Audiences are chartered through every single obsessive step of Tomita’s quest to attain the highest-quality ingredients and to craft the perfect soup and noodles.
Bon Appetit notes that the film also takes time to visit five other notable ramen shops including Ramen Ichufuku, which is run by one of the only female ramen masters, Kumiko Ishida. Each shop is profiled for both its philosophy and flavors, highlighting the diversity of the ramen world.
In this exclusive clip, three of Japan’s master ramen chefs have joined together to celebrate a milestone: the 10th anniversary of Tomita’s ramen shop. The scene captures an experience that is understandably emotional for both Tomita and his adoring patrons. The personal achievement, coupled with the willingness of his fellow ramen masters to share the day with him, infuses extra meaning into the bowls that are served up by the kitchen.
Ramen Heads will begin screening on Friday, March 16 in New York City and Los Angeles theaters. The film will receive a wider national release, along with a few after-screening Q&A’s with the director, through May.