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"Trattoria" is a father-son story wrapped around cooking. Inspired by real chefs, a chef and his son must reconnect and heal their past through cooking.
Set in the San Francisco culinary world, the film follows Sal Sartini, a chef and restaurant owner whose plans to open a new restaurant are complicated when his estranged son returns and asks to work in his kitchen. "Trattoria" is peppered with plenty of sumptuous shots of Chef Sal’s mouth-watering creations, producing a very candid look at life in the restaurant business.
Incorporating docu-style interviews with real-life chefs including Mark Estee, Elizabeth Falkner and Traci Des Jardins, the film plays out as both a family drama and an in-depth look at the trials and tribulations of running a successful restaurant. The combination of interviews and intimate montages of Sal’s menu coming to life create a unique blend of fact and fiction, something atypical in the family drama genre. Authentic and moving depiction of the troubled relationship between Sal and his son Vince, and of the insider’s peek into the drama that unfolds in the restaurant. At its heart, ”Trattoria” is a celebration of family and food – two things we can all appreciate.
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The stakes are set early on, after Cinquecento's opening night. Workaholic chef, Sal Sartini (Tony Denison) eagerly scans the Top 100 list and, not seeing his restaurant's name on it, says through a Corleone-esque grimace, "I gotta get on that list." Toss in an angry young man, Sal's estranged son, Vince, (John Patrick Amedori), Sal's elegantly voluptuous, sharp-tongued wife and hostess with the mostest, Cecilia (Lisa Rotundi), a slow-burning love affair, a fearsome food critic, and an Italian nonna and you have got a recipe that sizzles and satisfies.
And where would great food be without equally sensuous ambiance? The film features a tangy, poignant soundtrack from local gypsy jazz favorite, Gaucho, whose music is made for food and love. TRATTORIA serves up both, with generosity and gusto.
Also on the table with director/writer Jason Wolos's well-balanced cast are documentary clips of local celebrity chefs, to fine effect. (Elizabeth Falkner's assessment of the kitchen theatre reveals that even an apparent cakewalk is rife with drama.)
What can I say? I married a Frenchman who won me in minutes with his casually stupendous moules marinière and a pleat-crisp Sauvignon Blanc, served on our lower Pacific Heights fire escape, the fog making its stealthy way eastward. By the age of two, both our children knew the difference between food made with love, and the other kind. As Sal says, "Food, wine, cooking - it connects people. It's all about people." Who could ask for more?
Gotta say what I loved most about it was that it wasn't over the top. It just had the feeling of being wrapped in a nice warm sweater on a brisk, windy day.
Loved the character dynamics- father and son reconnection amidst mouth watering food scenes. As an avid NYC restaurant fanatic I have to say this movie made me hungry for more. An easy, fun movie I truly enjoyed- the only thing I wish is that there was more insight on the past history between the kitchen duo. I fell in love with their reconnection, I would have just liked to have known more about their disconnect in the past.