Sunday, February 6, 2011
One of the better docs, Pressure Cooker focuses on Wilma Stephenson, a Culinary Arts teacher in Philadelphia. A no nonsense fireball with a heart of gold, Ms. Stephenson pushes her inner city kids to compete in a city-wide cooking competition where winners are awarded scholarships to Arts colleges around the country. The year previous to the documentary, her students were awarded over $750,000, and we follow three of her students as they navigate their difficult lives and grasp for the hope of something better. To see the pressure as the students are being evaluated by real cooking professionals (including Philadelphia based Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, intimidatingly silent as he watches), you really feel for the kids in their quest to make a better life for themselves. The hope filled ending had me nearly tearing up as we watch the scholarship ceremony taking place. I highly recommend this one, and if you have Netflix, it's an easy find.