Dieta Mediterránea (2009) is a Spanish foodie film showing the journey of protagonist Sofia (Olivia Molina), who dreamt of becoming a professional chef ever since she assisted in the family restaurant when she was young. The film is set in Catalonia, Spain and based on its culinary industry, where today cooking is regarded to be traditional home style cuisine.
The progression of Sofia’s knowledge and creation of food, which began from the basic Catalan home-style dishes in her youth and developed into the preparation of gastronomic cuisine suitable to be served in sophisticated restaurants serving Catalan cuisine. As Sofia matured she built and developed her knowledge of ingredients that could be used to create advanced dishes showcasing her skills, which later allowed her to succeed in opening her own restaurant. The food presented within the film coincided with the stages in her life, initially as a housewife to a professional in the culinary industry due to her connection and training with elite chefs
The message of the film, however, amongst the gastronomic scene was to emphasise the norm that predominantly males succeed in the culinary industry, as opposed to female chefs who are extremely rare, so much so that to dream of becoming one, let alone achieve that dream was a long shot. Sofia is discouraged to pursue her dreams due to her femininity and practically forced into disregarding her wishes so that she fulfils her traditional duty as a housewife. In the end she allows her love, passion for food and ability to lead her to achieve her dreams and defeat the gender stereotype.
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Esteban, M. (Executive Producer), & Oristrell, J. (Director). (2009). Dieta Mediterranea [DVD]. Spain: Messidor Films