Award-winning American filmmaker Grace Lee expressed her interest in making a film on Odia food, known for its unique flavour and taste.
Lee was in Bhubaneswar to screen her film ‘Off the menu: Asian America’ in several parts in Odisha as part of the American Film Showcase (AFS) conducted by US Consulate General, Hyderabad.
“I liked Odia food very much. I had different kinds of Indian food but some of the foods I tasted in Odisha are very unique like the powder (badi chura), and shrimp (Chingudi checha) and fish with mustard gravy, I never had. In US when we go to any Indian restaurant they don’t serve these typical foods. I heard a lot about the temple food of Odisha. It would be a great opportunity if I could make a film on Odia food,” said Grace Lee.
Grace Lee is an American director and producer. She is known for both her documentaries and narrative films, which often mix in elements of documentaries. Her film Off the Menu is a road trip into the kitchens, factories, temples and farms of Asia Pacific America that explored how our relationship to food reflects our evolving community.
“You can’t disconnect culture with food. Since my film takes place in United Sates and essentially about Asian immigrant community there is a longing for their favourite taste they might have lost being in a different country. Food helped connect us Asians in America,” Lee said.
Debashis Patnaik, founder of Dalma chain of restaurants that serves typical Odia food, had a discussion with Lee on Odia food. “We told her that we call Odia food as delight food because it is less oily and less spicy. She was interested to know so much about the history of our food and style of temple food, our sweet dishes and so on. She also wanted us to open an restaurant in US.”