From the razor-blade-slivered garlic of "Goodfellas" to the mouth-to-mouth egg scene in "Tampopo," the intersection of food and film can take comedic and deeply sensual turns. How chefs respond to such plot twists underpins a five-course dinner taking place in Long Beach on Aug. 1 as part of the Long Beach International Film Festival.
Five chefs, including three from Long Island, will each plate a course in response to a film for the third annual "Chefs and Shorts," set to take place in the ballroom of the Allegria Hotel at 6:30 p.m. Each chef was sent a short film for inspiration, and the resulting courses — from a warm seafood salad of smoked mussels, smoked trout and lobster with seaweed toast to a waffle with lemon curd, hibiscus pureé, maple-poached peaches and even Pop Rocks — will be served for dinner that Thursday night.
The Long Island chefs taking part are Guy Reuge of Mirabelle in Stony Brook; John Maffei of the Allgria Hotel; and Andrew Allotti of Grotto Di Fuoco in Long Beach, who watched the film "Pulled Strings," directed by Vicki Van Chau. "[The film] is about Asian-style pulled noodles, which I didn't really want to attempt or disrespect that craft," said Allotti. Instead, he will plate something he knows well, pressing dough through the stringed-pasta maker called a chitarra ("guitar" in Italian, a partial response to the string-music background to "Pulled Strings") for spaghetti alla chitarra incorporating spicy garlic shrimp, toasted and crumbled sesame flatbread and colatura di alici, a fermented anchovy sauce from Campania.
Craig Weintraub, co-founder of LBIFF, said Chefs & Shorts grew out of an earlier version of the event called Taste on the Beach, and is a partnership with Devour!, an organization that puts on North America's largest food-film event in Nova Scotia every year. "The event is really a culmination of every aspect [of LBIFF]," said Weintraub. He expects the 150 seats, which cost $149.99, to sell out. Wine pairings for each course will be provided by northern California's Bee Hunter Wines.
Find tickets here.