Off The Menu
Chef is a perfectionist, Italian cook who works for an unlikely institution and takes pride in the satisfaction of his clients. However, when a new client rejects his europeanized version of a native dish she ordered, he hurries to make her an authentic Taiwanese meal before it’s too late, forcing him to confront his ignorance towards Asian cuisine.
Originally a short film, it is now a pilot for a series which explores how being in his unique position and environment profoundly transforms Chef.
Credits / Collaborators / Cast
Director / Screenwriter / Editor: Daniele Sestito
Producers: Cooper Yeager, Eric Dyer, Mackenzie Zambo
Starring: George Lombardo, Chuja Seo
Featuring: Cory Shanbom, Garrett Hendricks
Supporting Cast: Mike Weiner, Mai Delapa, David Pridemore
Composer: Martín de Lima
DP: Matheus Bastos
PD: Beatrice Black
Sound Designer / Mixer: Quentin Malapel
Colorist: Marco Valerio Caminiti
The story behind the film
“When I stumbled onto the concept of this kind of chef working in this environment, I immediately wanted to make something fun and vibrant since it complemented his demanding, grandiose nature. However, I quickly found that the story wanted to go further than that, and with its core conflict came an opportunity to express something earnest.
With food being at the heart of this film, I thought back to my Italian relatives, both those in Italy and those who immigrated to the US. I realized that this story would be a fitting way to reflect their particular relationship with food and culture, as well as being an immigrant. In turn, that relationship could reflect the general stubbornness and fragility that each of us has in one way or another, making it a story which we could all take something away from.
Because the film’s subject matter has a mix of tones, many aspects — particularly the performances, score, and visuals — required my collaborators and I to constantly consider where we were on the scale between cartoonish and dramatic. Realizing that careful tone, the resolution that it all amounts to, and honestly the whole experience of making this film were special experiences for me. Thus, I truly hope that the film can be a special experience for all who watch it” – Daniele Sestito, Director / Screenwriter