Digital Story Critique #11: The Purple Pig

*I am currently working my way through my fourth semester of the Information and Learning Technologies master’s program at University of Colorado, Denver.  This is the eleventh post within a series of critiques on digital stories that I’ve been assigned to write for a course titled Digital Storytelling.

This week’s critique is on short film titled, The Purple Pig.  It’s the final episode of the HERITAGE series from Tastemade.  The HERITAGE short films introduce viewers to some of the country’s most brilliant chefs.  “These films feature the personal stories behind chefs and what drives them, the flavors that inspire them, and the dreams they continue to work for.”


The Purple Pig film (The Purple Pig is also the name of the restaurant) is about Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr., a two time nominee for the James Beard Foundation Award for Rising Star Chef, and a fourth generation restaurateur.  His restaurant, The Purple Pig, showcases timeless flavors that reflect his Greek and Italian roots, created with personal touches inspired by his family and his childhood.

Jimmy Banos Jr.

I chose to critique this film because when I read that Jimmy was a 4th generation restaurateur, I knew the film had to have at least a few mentions of family food traditions and hopefully even some talked about family food memories!  I’m happy to report that I was correct, and this short film fits perfectly with my theme for this semester, family food traditions and a self-reflection through food.  Jimmy talks about how he spoke to his dad every day when he went away to school and of how he knew he needed his “foundation” in order to succeed.  His foundation was his family and everything they had taught him as he was growing up.  His family and his food memories and traditions have completely shaped not only who he is, but his incredibly successful restaurant as well.  At the end of the film Jimmy talks about how he’s going to make sure he brings his daughters to his restaurant as often as he can.  He explains that he wants to pass down the way of learning, that he was taught by his own father.  He states, “I’m gonna do the same thing that my dad did with me, and…hopefully it works out.”

To critique this piece, I used the following traits from Jason Ohler’s “Assessing digital stories, new media narrative“:  1.) story, 2.) flow, organization, and pacing and 3.) presentation and performance.

  • Story – The story of this short film was done quite well.  The description below the video doesn’t give much away for the viewer to truly know what to expect.  You know that you’re meeting “a two time nominee for the James Beard Foundation Award for Rising Star Chef and a fourth generation restaurateur” but you don’t know what story is going to be told.  This film is essentially the story of a man, who is close to his father, and used the knowledge he learned from his family, as well as all of his food memories and traditions, to create what has become an incredibly successful career for himself.  His food memories and traditions shaped his way of life and helped him build upon his dreams.  Chalkboard Logo
  • Flow, organization, and pacing – The story was organized quite nicely and it flowed well, moving from part to part without any awkward transitions or missteps.  Although I do feel that the even pacing worked nicely, I did kind of expect some element of adversity in the story, an element that never came.  So with the nice, even pacing, there was no real climax to the story.  But watching Jimmy with his father and listening to him talk about his family and his successes, your thoughts are more centered around being happy for his successes than wondering what adversity he had to overcome to get there.JLT
  • Presentation – I loved the presentation of this film!  But that comes as no surprise as the video was produced by Tastemade, the company known for being a 100% digital food and travel lifestyle network.  All of their videos are beautiful and this one is no exception.  They film with high quality equipment and employ extremely creative staff.  The presentation is also very effective because it includes interviews and segments not only with the subject himself, but with the people he attributes his success to.  The entire film was presented really quite well.Father Son

The film is not hosted in such a way that I can embed it in this post, so click here to view it on Tastemade!  (Be warned…clicking on any other recipe videos can potentially suck you in for what feels like hours!)

*All images taken as stills from The Purple Pig short film.