THE MISSING INGREDIENT REVIEWED
“The Missing Ingredient” is a fascinating look at modern business and food culture. As Gino’s has closed, many long staying eateries see the opportunity to strike. Charles Devigne just wanted to borrow from a restaurant that inspired him, so that he could save Pescatore. His restaurant isn’t bad and he’s not a villain by any stretch of the imagination. All he did was try to celebrate the history of NYC dining.
The film shows the dangers of confusing one’s legacy with another’s success. If that wasn’t enough, the restaurant owner in question remains ignorant of the problems that he is facing. At times, you want to crawl into the screen and slap the guy. But, the efforts are understandable and I admire the desire to improve. While the material isn’t for everyone, I completely recommend checking it out.
- 1.78:1 standard definition transfer
- Dolby Digital 5.1
RELEASE DATE: 10/11/16
The Plot Thus Far
Restaurateur Charles Devigne, lives above his Manhattan Mediterranean eatery, Pescatore, with his wife and two children. For nearly 20 years, Pescatore was a neighborhood mainstay, packed night after night. But times have changed. Increased competition from glitzy new restaurants that have popped up all around Pescatore have drained away many of its customers. Determined to save not only his business but also his family home, Charles embarks on a major renovation, hiring a designer to help him achieve his vision. But Charles wants to do more than just compete. He wants to put Pescatore on the map. And in doing so he makes the controversial decision to put up the prancing zebra wallpaper made world-famous by the recently shuttered Upper East Side institution Gino of Capri (Gino’s). Open for 65 years across from Bloomingdale’s, Gino’s attracted generations of not only New York’s, but also the world’s political, business, athletic and cultural leaders. Charles’ designer immediately quits over his decision, arguing that it’s tasteless to steal another restaurant’s most iconic design feature. And the headache doesn’t stop there as Gino’s previous owners, staff and loyal regulars, still hurting over Gino’s closing, catch wind of Charles’ decision. In an attempt to answer the complex question, ‘What makes a restaurant an institution?’, Michael Sparaga’s film goes beyond examining this controversy to discuss how diners feel about their beloved restaurants, their memories of not only the food but also their emotional attachments to the restaurants’ ambiance, owners and décor.