Look deeper, get a little dirty, and go ahead and find the beauty in rot. In the feature-length documentary FERMENTED, author and chef Edward Lee goes on a journey to better understand how the ancient process of fermentation is used in modern times by visiting artisans and chefs around the world. Chef Lee is joined by an all-star cast of characters, including chefs Stuart Brioza and Dominique Crenn, bread mastermind Chad Robertson, craft brewing leader Nick Floyd, and fermentation guru Sandor Katz, to talk, share ideas, and cook with fermentation in mind.
An ancient and mysterious food preservation technique, this is a story tracing back to the origins of humankind. Throughout history it kept people nourished in both barren winters and desert heat. At first, chef Lee seeks out answers to the question of what fermentation is by exploring the process of making cheese, bread, beer, and charcuterie. We find out how flavor has taken over as the main reason for keeping the tradition of fermentation alive through profiles of kimchi, kombucha, and pickles - showing that it isn’t just the process, but the results that keep us wanting more.
As Edward shares these experiences, stories, and recipes, we begin to better understand how a tradition can give rise to a contemporary trend, and how the culture and history of fermentation is in all of us. Even in the era of refrigeration and canning, where food is in abundance, fermentation still thrives - not as a means for survival - but as a way of creating unique deliciousness and depth of flavor. It’s something we want, a taste that we can’t get enough of.
Edward travels across the Pacific Ocean to the Japanese countryside to meet with artisans who maintain traditional methods of making soy sauce and miso. The originals, time capsules, profiles of fermentation in it’s most unaltered and ageless form. As we meet these craftspeople and watch them work a timeless trade we begin to understand the risk they face. The processes they’ve kept alive for ages could disappear in future generations as technology and scale become paramount. The risk of the commoditized cannibalizing the crafted.
As Chef Lee’s exploration of the world of fermentation comes to a close, we are left with the question of if the world is at risk of losing the old ways for the new, and if that happens, what would it mean for the future?
Audience Award for Best Documentary - Houston Asian American Pacific Islander Film Festival
Best Documentary Food Cultures Award - Festival Internazionale di Cinema Cibo & VideoDiversità
LSFF Grand Prix - Life Sciences Film Festival
Seattle International Film Fest
Flyover Film Festival
Napa Valley Film Festival
San Diego Asian Film Festival
Austin Fermentation Festival
San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival
Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival
Victoria Film Festival
KINOOKUS Food Film Festival
Asheville Beer Week 2018 / White Labs
Houston Asian American Pacific Islander Film Festival
Portland Book Festival
World Science Festival
Festival Internazionale di Cinema Cibo & VideoDiversità
Life Sciences Film Festival
Food Film Festival
Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air (BOFA) Film Festival, Community Led Impact Partnerships (CLIP),
Bard College Earth Week
Asheville Beer Week
Food Film Festival