Life In Berlin: Passion Food at Berlinale's Culinary Cinema

Feb 9, 2017

The smell of chili cheese nachos and Allgäuer Kässpätzle linger in the cold air at Joseph-von-Eichendorff-Gasse, close to the Berlinale Palast. The alley is lined with food trucks that offer quality international street food. The collaboration between the Culinary Cinema, Berlin’s Markthalle Neun, and Slow Food has become a fixture in recent years at the International Film Festival. 

At the opening of Berlinale Street Food, I meet Thomas Struck.

"Herr Struck, you are the curator of the Culinary Program at the Berlinale. You’ve been doing this for eleven years. And this year’s motto is...?" I ask Struck.

Thomas Struck, curator Culinary Cinema left, Anna Lai center, and Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick right, at the opening of Berlinale Street Food at Joseph-von-Eichendorff Gasse.
Credit Monika Mueller-Kroll/NPR Berlin

"...Passion Food. We called it Passion Food and actually it’s quite true. You know, when I looked at the films - which is a simple truth - but all the films had something to do with passion; how you control your passion or how you live it out. So all this films have something to do with passion; either the people are really hot for food or drinks, or they control it. And so, this is the motto - easy motto this year."

"You have films from all over the world and also visitors from all over the world, chefs…" I inquire.

"We have top chefs. I mean, it started and it's still the base that we work with Berlin chefs; otherwise the logistics got too complicated. Again we have a great chef from the Bask country which is, I would say, the Vatican of Gourmets," explains Struck. "

"We have both sides: the simple side, and the very elaborate side. This guy Eneko Atxa is coming here. We are discovered by Americans now; Netflix has made a film about Tim Raue and Raue is a Berlin top chef. I think he is the number one in all his decorations, but that is not really the key point.

"The key point is that the food movement has several sides; the top chefs belong to it as well as the street food guys. They all belong together because they want us, the eater and the drinker, to care a little bit more about food, and taking food really serious again.

Chef Tim Raue on the Netflix Show "Chef's Table."
Credit Tobias Koch/Netflix

"Because food is an environmental factor - a big one - and it’s also a pleasure factor, and if we don’t take care of pleasures, and social sides, and of course the Earth, then we are going to get lost," Struck expresses.

"I think this dog needs some food, don’t you think?"

"Absolutely, we have a hot dog here,” says Struck.

Thomas Struck is the curator of the Kulinarisches Kino. The Culinary Cinema at the Berlinale, with films, talks, and special dinners, kicks off this Sunday, February 12th, 2017.