Kevin Longa didn't always have a healthy relationship with food. But capturing the stories of food entrepreneurs around the world has transformed the way he views it — and shown him just how much we can gain from learning more about it.
"Food is war. It's politics. It's the environment. It's culture. It's peace. It's family. It's feast and famine. It's all these different things."
Meet Kevin: food filmmaker
Kevin Longa: So I've always really loved food ever since I was a young kid, and I've always loved filmmaking. I had really a bad relationship with food. My normal meal at McDonald's would be large fries, large Coke, a McFlurry, two cheeseburgers, and a McChicken. It was gross. At one point I was in the hospital room, and I was looking at my nurse and she looked at my body mass index chart. She gave me a glare and said, "You know, Kevin, if you keep this up, you're going to get type two diabetes." I just froze, and I had this epiphany moment.
TASTE is a documentary series that features the stories of food entrepreneurs around the world. I filmed everything from dictator-fighting restaurateurs in Myanmar to Michelin-starred chefs in Europe, Jewish bakers who fight antisemitism with their Hebrew-inspired cake designs, cricket farmers in Thailand, snail farmers in Vienna. I've basically filmed 70 stories across 30 countries around the world. I learned about my food the best way I knew how, which was through my video camera.
(Kevin films chef preparing dish)
Chef: Sugar, and then it has some black sesame seeds in it, and then we just finish it off with a little bit of an umami glaze.
Kevin: That looks gorgeous. Look at that.
Food is war. It's politics. It's the environment. It's culture. It's peace. It's family. It's feast and famine. It's all these different things.
Woman speaking in scene from documentary: Although I love my job as a police officer, I said I have to change that. If our food is lost, if we lose our recipes, I think you lose everything.
Kevin: If people have good food and if people respect the people who make our food, we just become so much better as a community and as a world. Hopefully with these stories of TASTE, I'm able to share the story of not only food but also the story of us. I could have been a diabetic. I could have gone to the hospital. I could have died. Most people, they just don't have that chance to discover the magic of food. That's why I'm doing what I'm doing. I want to share that magic.