The Migrant Kitchen: Badmaash

Documentary Television Episode - Director 

 

I worked with my dad for a number of years. My time with him started straight out of high school and lasted until the economy took it's dive in 08'. As I'm writing this its been almost a decade since I left what was to be a family business. I always wanted to make movies and tell stories, but if the market had held there's a good chance I'd still be working with my dad. When I think about that possibility, part of me is inconsolably sad. Because when you work with your dad you have the ability to know your dad as something more than your parent. I'm reminded of this often because I no longer have this ability. Sure, I can remember what it's like, and I'll always keep a picture in my mind of my dad doing the work he loves and all the detailed nuance that makes him great at it, but I can't get back there, because I'm not a part of that work on a daily basis anymore.

These thoughts ran through my mind the first day I shadowed Pawan, Nukal, and Arjun Mahendro at their family restaurant 'Badmaash' in downtown Los Angeles. The familiarity and nostalgia I felt while observing the three men work in "the war room", as they call their office, bordered on emotional for me. I saw the same subtle shifts between behaving as colleagues and displaying familial humor, love, annoyance, and/or pride for each other. The mix of interactions I recall as taxing but, ultimately, deeply connecting. This was my entry into the Mahendro's story. Something we shared, though our cultural makeup could not be more different.

I was at Badmaash for 'The Migrant Kitchen', an Emmy award-winning  series created by the food publication Life & Thyme and their broadcast partner KCET, exploring the diverse cultures and cuisines of Los Angeles. With the culinary expertise and style of Life & Thyme backing me up, my personal goal was to express what it's like to work with family. How, given the proper amounts of freedom and respect, something beautiful and truly unique can be made together. 

 

Credits

Executive Producer: Juan Devis (KCET)
Executive Producer: Kelly Parker (KCET)
Producer: Antonio Diaz (Life & Thyme)
Producer: Stef Ferrari (Life & Thyme)
Producer: Ben Hunter (Life & Thyme)
Director: Tim Grant
Cinematographer: Austin Staub
Editor: Ben Hunter
Assistant Editor: Daniel Straub
Original Music: Jose Parody
Field Producer: Hector Pacheco
Sound Mixing: Katrina Frederick, Robert Stronger
Colorist: Daniel Straub
Production Assistant: Drew Emery

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