One of many saving graces of quarantine was the prospect to see Andrés at house, spending high quality time together with his three daughters in a sequence of cooking movies that the chef posted to his social channels. Unbridled pleasure isn’t an emotion one encounters usually in life, not to mention throughout a pandemic, however I’ve to assume it appears quite a bit like Andrés dancing and cooking within the kitchen with Carlota and Inés, singing off-key to Bastille’s “Pompeii,” as his daughters look concurrently amused and embarrassed.
The movies had been nominally devoted to house cooking, however what Andrés and his kids had been promoting in these early days of the pandemic was hope, and optimism. The vids had been, I’m detest to say, infectious.
The interaction between the Spanish chef and his American-born daughters was so charming, the truth is, that some enterprising producer clearly realized the household could be a smash in a restricted TV sequence. Greater than two years later, right here we’re: “José Andrés and Household in Spain,” a six-part sequence produced by the London-based Nutopia in affiliation with José Andrés Media, debuts Dec. 27 on Discovery Plus.
The premise of the sequence is straightforward. Andrés serves as tour information for his daughters — Carlota, 23, Inés, 21, and Lucia, 18 — as they wander by way of the elder’s native nation. The sequence leans on some established fashions: It options an interesting, semi-trusty chef/host, the sort perfected by Anthony Bourdain; it borrows the sweeping, painterly cinematography of “Chef’s Desk”; and it maintains the single-country focus of “Stanley Tucci: Looking for Italy.”
However the sequence has a charisma all its personal, too. It’s a protracted Take Your Daughters to Work Day, when your father simply occurs to be a well-known chef — and one of many world’s largest (non-cured) hams. I’d enterprise that there are solely a handful of people that can tease Andrés with out mercy, and three of them occur to be on this present.
When father takes Carlota and Inés (Lucia seems in later episodes after her faculty 12 months winds down) to the historic La Boqueria market in Barcelona, the chef gushes over the huge unfold of seafood glistening on ice. “That is like ‘Discovering Nemo,’” Andrés shouts, with Homer-esque enthusiasm. “That is like being in an aquarium in your house, however you may eat it!”
Inés smiles appreciatively, then provides her father some recommendation. “Only one life lesson,” she says. “By no means discuss ‘Discovering Nemo,’ after which about consuming fish.”
“I assumed that was sensible!” Andrés counters.
Father and daughters cowl loads of turf in a brief period of time. They experience scooters and dine round Barcelona. Inés and Carlota study to flamenco dance through the annual honest in Jerez de la Frontera. The household samples virtually each pastry at El Riojano, the legendary Madrid bakery. The sisters compete in a paella competitors through the Fallas competition in Valencia. Andrés and buddies put together a feast of conventional dishes from Asturias, their father’s birthplace. The younger girls study that their dad’s time at El Bulli, the famed temple of molecular gastronomy, ended on a bitter be aware.
Throughout their travels, the siblings get in contact with their household historical past — and the meals which have fashioned their father’s well-developed palate. However simply as vital, the ladies function surrogates for viewers. We see Spain by way of their eyes. We study as they study. We watch as they expertise. Their surprise turns into our surprise. I’m undecided how anybody may watch all six episodes with out eager to guide a right away flight to Spain, which might be half the explanation the sequence exists. Andrés is, and can all the time be, the nation’s prime salesman.
However Andrés appears to be a protecting father, too, which can clarify why we study so little about his daughters over the course of the sequence. We discover out Lucia doesn’t like cheese. We sense Inés is the adventurous one, prepared to attempt her hand at nearly any culinary process. We uncover that Carlota loves browsing. However we study subsequent to nothing in regards to the girls outdoors the confines of this Spanish journey. We’ve got identified for years that their father desires large. What about Carlota, Inés and Lucia? What are their ambitions outdoors the lengthy shadow of their father?
Right here and there, the daughters point out their mom, Patricia Fernandez de la Cruz, however she makes no look, which is an actual loss. We see the love and delight that father has for his daughters. However we now have solely hints in regards to the girls’s relationship with their mom, the very one who, because the siblings acknowledge within the Ron Howard documentary, “We Feed Folks,” is the glue that holds this household collectively.
Documentaries and actuality TV, I need to remind myself, are types of mythmaking as a lot as they’re media for truth-telling.
As heartwarming as it’s to see Andrés kiss and hug and dote on his daughters, the interactions are, actually, made for TV. They’re expressions designed for public consumption, in full view of cameras and a crew. I’m not suggesting the heat is scripted or contrived, although such a factor isn’t unusual for actuality TV. What I’m saying is that I hope father and daughters have moments collectively, removed from the peering eye of a digicam operator, which can be each bit as candy and playful as those captured in “José Andrés and Household in Spain.”
José Andrés and Household in Spain (six epsiodes) streams Tuesday on Discovery Plus.