Saturday, August 22, 2009

Just a dash of cooking, but a big dollop of inspiration

The documentary film Pressure Cooker, which opened in San Francisco Friday, may disappoint if one is looking for a food and/or cooking movie.

But if one is looking for inspiration -- true life inspiration -- see this movie. The inspiration it offers and the real-life drama of the students' lives more than make up for the relatively limited screen time devoted to actual cooking.

Pressure Cooker is the story of a culinary arts class at Philadelphia's Frankford High School, an inner city institution whose students face an array of issues from their grinding urban life. Culinary arts teacher Wilma Stephenson is their mentor, surrogate mother and whip cracker.

Stephenson knows that the way out for her students is learning to cook so well that they take top honors at the area high school culinary competition and earn college scholarships. See the film to find out if they do.

This is a true-life version of To Sir With Love and the many other lesser films that show gifted, dedicated teachers inspiring their students to achieve beyond their own and many others' expectations.

(Photo credit: Lauren Feeney/Bev Pictures)

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