One of many saving graces of quarantine was the possibility to see Andrés at residence, spending high quality time along with his three daughters in a collection of cooking movies that the chef posted to his social channels. Unbridled pleasure just isn’t an emotion one encounters usually in life, not to mention throughout a pandemic, however I’ve to suppose it appears to be like rather a lot like Andrés dancing and cooking in 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 residence 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, actually, that some enterprising producer clearly realized the household could be a smash in a restricted TV collection. Greater than two years later, right here we’re: “José Andrés and Household in Spain,” a six-part collection produced by the London-based Nutopia in affiliation with José Andrés Media, debuts Dec. 27 on Discovery Plus.
The premise of the collection is straightforward. Andrés serves as tour information for his daughters — Carlota, 23, Inés, 21, and Lucia, 18 — as they wander by the elder’s native nation. The collection leans on some established fashions: It options an enticing, 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: Searching for Italy.”
However the collection 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 greatest (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 college yr 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 possibly can eat it!”
Inés smiles appreciatively, then presents her father some recommendation. “Only one life lesson,” she says. “By no means discuss ‘Discovering Nemo,’ after which about consuming fish.”
“I believed that was good!” Andrés counters.
Father and daughters cowl lots of turf in a brief period of time. They experience scooters and dine round Barcelona. Inés and Carlota study to flamenco dance in the course of 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 in the course of the Fallas pageant in Valencia. Andrés and buddies put together a feast of conventional dishes from Asturias, their father’s birthplace. The younger ladies 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 essential, the ladies function surrogates for viewers. We see Spain by their eyes. We study as they study. We watch as they expertise. Their marvel turns into our marvel. I’m unsure how anybody might watch all six episodes with out desirous to guide a direct flight to Spain, which might be half the rationale the collection exists. Andrés is, and can all the time be, the nation’s high 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 collection. We discover out Lucia doesn’t like cheese. We sense Inés is the adventurous one, keen to strive her hand at nearly any culinary job. We uncover that Carlota loves browsing. However we study subsequent to nothing concerning the ladies exterior the confines of this Spanish journey. Now we have recognized for years that their father goals huge. What about Carlota, Inés and Lucia? What are their ambitions exterior 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 pleasure that father has for his daughters. However we’ve got solely hints concerning the ladies’s relationship with their mom, the very one who, because the siblings acknowledge within the Ron Howard documentary, “We Feed People,” 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 just 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 are 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.