My very good friend and filmmaker Gabriel Taraboulsy is one of my favorite people to break bread with. Watching him order off a restaurant’s menu is like watching a six year old in a candy store with $20 bill- shameless, unapologetic and positively frenetic. The only time he is more excited about food is when he’s filming it in order to share his passion and reverence with the rest of us. He wants to make you love food, to lust after it. He will succeed.
So, Gab, you’re essentially a food pornographer, how did you get into it?
Why do I love it when you call me that?! I’ve always been in love with filmmaking and abruptly realized that the stories happening inside kitchens and restaurants and plates and farms are the ones that fascinated me most. I started making visual poems celebrating the real people doing real things for the right reason in the LA food scene. It kinda got going with this LAist blurb. I think a plate of soulfully prepared food is the most beautiful thing in the world, I can stare at it and film it all day. When I really get into it, out of decency I ask the Chef to look away whilst I molest his food with a camera.
Wow Gab, when did you first realize you had a food-lust problem?
I don’t have a problem. You’re the one with the problem.
You’re surrounded by food all day- images, research, footage, not to mention the real thing- how do you not weigh 300 lbs?
Honestly, it’s cosmic fortuitousness. I always say that life is the boring part between meals. I should be orca. I’m hungry every minute of every day. My curiosity is insatiable. I exercise not because it feels good, but purely for the caloric deficit.
We have that in common! What’s your current project?
I’m producing/directing a show for Tastemade (as far as I’m concerned, they are doing the most extraordinary food stuff in any medium). We’re putting on epic tailgate cookouts at College Football Games all over America; inviting local hero chefs to capture the spirit of tailgate cuisine but bringing their ingredient repertoire, technique and — of course — creativity to blow it out of the parking lot. It’s a way to use food to explore America’s culinary landscape and the really unique and fascinating subculture of superfans.
I love football, I’m already obsessed with your show. Which restaurant is your dream subject?
Chez Panisse. I’ve always wanted to make my pilgrimage to the birthplace of slow food; walk their edible schoolyard and pluck from the mulberry tree when no one is looking.
Do you cook?
Are you crazy? F**k no. I’ve seen the masters do it and I’m not worthy. Plus, cleaning up suuuuux.
How do you feel about Instagram and the whole “food porn” movement? Is there such a thing as food-photo overkill?
I hate it. Phones and cameras have no place at the table. When we go into a restaurant we bring a truck full of equipment, 5 crew members and spend 4 hours shooting a single dish – I feel like that’s the least you can do to honor the effort that went into its preparation. 90% of the pictures people take at their table would moooortify the Chefs.
Well said. I’m promise I’m sufficiently ashamed for all the times I’m guilty of that for this blog. Can we still be friends?…
The price of forgiveness is a cookie.
Watch all of Gab Taraboulsy’s films for Delicious Cinema here.