Launching a new restaurant is already a mammoth undertaking. Now imagine opening one staffed by people who've never even stepped foot in a professional kitchen.
That's the plot behind Knife Skills, a short film that just received an Academy Award nomination for the year's Best Documentary (Short Subject). It follows the opening of Edwins, a French fine dining restaurant in Cleveland manned entirely by ex-convicts. Though the restaurant industry has become one of the top employers of former inmates, director Thomas Lennon tells Food & Wine his film addresses the struggle that comes with diving into higher-end kitchens.
"Most of the men and women came from pretty rough backgrounds and suddenly they are in this world, where there’s a vocabulary and there are rituals," he says. "I saw those men and women grab it and want to love it."
The film isn't yet available for you to stream on your couch, but you can find the nearest screening on the Knife Skills website.
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