Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy
2020 | Documentary | English | 81 minutes
Diana Kennedy, an expat from England, became obsessed with Mexico and its cuisine the moment she set foot in the country in 1957. She stayed on and devoted the next 60 years researching the food of practically every region in Mexico. Well into her nineties, she travelled by bus and her rundown Nissan van, and visited the outdoor food markets and remote country restaurants to sample the food, and much more. She badgered the natives and chefs doing the cooking for recipes and the food sources. To understand each dish, she researched the origins of every food ingredient. With the help of Craig Claiborne, The New York Times food editor, she was able to get a publisher who was willing to distribute the Diana Kennedy cookbooks. The books appeared when many Americans were totally unfamiliar with the vast regional variations of Mexico’s complex cuisine. Her nine cookbooks and workshops not only established Diana‘s reputation, but they also highlighted an important part of Mexican history.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 100%
- Metacritic Score: 75
- 75th Venice Film Festival, Winner, Golden Lion
- Ten Academy Award Nominations. Winner: Best Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón), Best Cinematographer (Alfonso Cuarón)
- Festivals: Venice, Telluride, Toronto, New York
Best Film of 2018: Time Magazine and The New York Film Critics Circle
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This short, sharp, marvelously watchable docu-portrait of Kennedy shows us her life in Mexico, vigorously engaged with her community, lecturing and giving media interviews, visiting markets and not hesitating to tell stallholders if their produce isn’t up to scratch. She is a passionate stickler for getting Mexican food right—which means doing it the way she says, and who on earth is going to contradict her?
No seasoning wimps need show up in the enviable kitchen of Diana Kennedy, the famed cook and British expat who has devoted most of her life to chronicling and conquering Mexican cuisine. And in Elizabeth Carroll’s debut documentary, DIANA KENNEDY: NOTHING FANCY, a group of eager acolytes try not to flinch beneath her gimlet gaze and salt-seeking palate. Kennedy may be pushing her centenary, but her words are as sharp as her flavor profiles.
Now in her 90s, Diana Kennedy is as outspoken as ever about the need to respect tradition, wholesome ingredients and living with the land.
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