A Tale of Two Kitchens (2019) Movie Script

The first time I saw the sea,
I must have been about five years old.
Touching the sand was very pleasant.
A totally new experience.
We come from a remote village.
El Palmar is quite far,
we are up in the mountains.
It takes about eight to ten hours
to get to the beach.
All I knew about fish was
what was in our village,
in the municipality of Veracruz.
I got here and saw large fish,
like tuna, marlin.
They seemed enormous to me.
I thought, "That's a shark!"
"That fish looks like a whale!"
The idea of Contramar, from the beginning,
was to bring a palapa or a beach cafe,
from Zihuatanejo, from Troncones,
that part of the Pacific, to the city.
It was basically about being on the beach
eating fresh fish
that was caught that morning.
We opened Contramar in August 1998.
I remember this long weekend perfectly.
Contramar had been open
for about three or four months.
Lots of people came to Contramar
because they couldn't get away
for the weekend. And I said,
"That's just perfect,
it's exactly what I want."
Before coming to Mexico City,
when I was younger,
from about the age of 15 to 20,
I worked in the fields.
My family didn't have much.
I wanted to do more with my life.
When I turned 20,
I decided to leave my village
and come to Mexico City
to look for a job which would pay more.
Working the land is really hard,
physically, really hard work.
But it's stress-free.
The air is clean.
You don't have enough to eat
as you do in the city,
where you have meat, ham,
and all those kinds of food,
but you eat beans
that are completely natural.
You wear really simple clothes,
but that will withstand wear and tear.
Working in a restaurant
is the complete opposite.
You're indoors.
You're not in the sun, you don't get wet.
They expect us to look presentable,
wear shoes.
But the huge difference is the wages.
Opening a Mexican restaurant in the USA is
a paradox, no matter how you look at it.
On one hand, the Americans have Mexico
as their nearest country
in terms of interesting gastronomy.
There's a fascination with Mexico
and its thousand-year-old
gastronomic traditions they yearn for.
On the other hand, we have a culture
that deeply despises Mexicans.
And at the same time,
Mexican food is almost a staple food
for Americans, specifically in California
and the states that used to be
part of Mexico.
There's a long-standing tradition,
very deep-rooted,
of loving the gastronomic culture
that they consider Mexican.
My grandpa loved to fish. So did my dad.
And then...
cook dinner.
You're tired from the sun,
the water, the salt...
I guess it soon became
almost more exciting than fishing.
Like, "What are we going to do
with this fish?"
And depending on the catch of the day,
we'd imagine what we could do with it.
Once clams are out of the sea,
within 15 minutes, they're packed.
Immediately, someone drives to the airport
and they get here to the city
at 11:00 in the morning.
It's the same with the fish.
This product has been out of the sea
less than 24 hours.
I work directly with him
and we communicate like this every day.
He sends me pictures
so I know what's coming in the plane.
We cast the line and in less than a minute
it caught three in one go.
-How are you feeling, pal?
Okay, let's keep fishing
or we'll run out of daylight.
We won't have enough to pay for gas.
-See you.
At Contramar, the philosophy
is to serve and to help.
The first person we have to help,
listen to and attend to
is the one next to us.
We can't overlook the problems
we have at restaurants,
with alcohol, drug abuse, everything.
We can't ignore them or dismiss them.
If someone comes
and has an alcohol problem,
we don't get rid of them.
We try to find a way to help them
to get through that rough patch.
Our focus is in supporting people.
Having the opportunity to help people
is a blessing.
You can pass some things on to Cala.
But it will never be...
exactly the same.
The warmth Mexicans have...
when we serve, the excitement,
the passion.
It's very hard to find outside Mexico.
In Mexico, we take root.
In Mexico, our co-workers
become our family.
In the US, they don't.
We've become a family
after all these years we've been together.
Most of us have worked here
for many years.
When a co-worker has an accident
or has a problem,
we all pitch in.
And we help whoever has a problem.
In the end, that's what family is,
support, being there for each other.
Buy your lottery ticket,
it's only ten pesos!
I think of Contramar as my home.
And I wouldn't like for someone
who comes to my house
to have a bad time.
I've worked 15 years in Contramar.
I've never thought of leaving.
We think of the restaurants
as a part of ourselves,
as part of our essence,
as part of our lives.
And we take a lot of pride in what we do.
There are those who say
anyone can be a waiter.
I disagree.
Because... you have to enjoy it.
Since I was little,
I knew my father worked at Contramar.
It was always,
"Contramar this, Contramar that."
I kind of grew up with that idea...
of knowing what it'd be like
at Contramar.
So that's what I wanted.
It's something very important to me.
I fulfilled a dream.
Now I work at Contramar.
I started young.
And now I'm...
I started when I was twenty...
I'm 38 now.
In the time I've been working here,
I got married,
I had children.
I also went through painful times.
I lost my parents.
So it's been quite a story.
How about some aguachile?
Some sashimi?
No, we've been eating for a while.
Tacos for starters,
then we'll see.
-Guacamole, please.
-Okay, guacamole, sir.
And another favor,
could Ramn stay away?
-Yes, of course.
-We don't want him hovering.
-We'll keep Ramn away from you.
-That would be great.
What's essential
is invisible to the naked eye.
So I look for something else
inside people.
When someone makes eye contact with you,
you can always discover something more.
That's what I discover.