Two different countries, two different restaurants: A Tale of Two Kitchens

“A Tale of Two Kitchens” focuses on how differently two sister restaurants, one in Mexico City and one in San Francisco, and how differently they operate, just due to the cultures they’re in.

Director Trisha Ziff takes in a day in the life of both of chef Gabriela Cámara’s restaurants: Contramar in Mexico City and Cala in San Francisco with “A Tale of Two Kitchens” which is released in 2019. Contramar has been a staple in Mexico’s capital since 1998, and Cala has been leading San Francisco’s dining scene since 2015. Both have a similar atmosphere: airy with tall ceilings, colorful artwork, and plain, chunky pine chairs next to white tablecloth-laden tables. But the similarities end there.

Through interviews with Cámara and staff at both restaurants, we find out that the differences between the two come down to more than menus — Contramar serves dishes made with seafood caught within the previous 24 hours, and Cala is more of a modern Mexican place. But while the wait staff at Cala wear all-black, casual outfits and sneakers, the wait staff at Contramar is more career-oriented and formal, wearing jackets and bow ties. The staff at Contramar considers themselves a family, and they are involved in each others’ lives, especially when there’s a crisis, which is a common thing in Mexico. That feeling pervades at Cala, but in a different way, because people in the U.S. rarely see their workplaces as a second family: Cala makes a point of hiring ex-convicts who are trying to turn around their lives.