Written by: Patrick Howard | May 28th, 2020
Stage: The Culinary Internship (Abby Ainsworth, 2019) 3 out of 4 stars.
Grab the remote, turn off the latest episode of Hell’s Kitchen and spend your time experiencing the fast-paced and high stakes atmosphere of one of the Top 10 restaurants in the world in Abby Ainsworth’s Stage: The Culinary Internship. In it, Ainsworth follows a group of aspiring chefs, all from different corners of the world, as they participate in the coveted internship program at the avant-garde Spanish restaurant, Mugaritz. For nine months, these interns will be thrown into the creative and production process of Mugaritz’s menu of ever-changing and imaginative dishes. Will these young artists be able to handle the heat, or will the program send them home for good?
Ainsworth expertly retains the appeal of working at one of the best restaurants on the planet without sacrificing the real pressure the chefs of these establishments face every time the dinner bell is rung. The events that transpire during the internship create a diverse and relatable look into one of the most desired professions of all time. There’s never a moment that feels rushed nor is there a moment that feels disingenuous due to overtly manipulative editing. Unlike many of Gordon Ramsay’s reality cooking shows, Stage never loses sight of the passion and the reasons why chefs do what they do under the conditions they do it in.