Luke's Kitchen [Travel]

2008 Aug 7
To whom it concerns,

I am a recent graduate of Queen's University's Department of Film & Media and am currently completing a short documentary about a fierce proponent of the Slow Food Movement who is quickly gaining recognition by the media and general public -a teenage culinary prodigy named Luke Hayes-Alexander, executive chef of “Luke's! Gastronomy” in Kingston, Ontario.

Luke is committed to the principles of the slow food movement, both for himself and his restaurant. He only uses local, seasonal, organic ingredients for dishes that he makes entirely from scratch. Luke also contributes herbs, vegetables and wine from his family’s own garden and vineyard to the restaurant's dishes, which can be loosely described as charcuterie and molecular gastronomy. Finally, as part of his belief in respecting the animals he uses as ingredients, Luke has often talked about going hunting to fully understand what the animal must experience to be fully appreciated as a culinary dish.

Luke is approaching adulthood at the same time as his fame is increasing exponentially. So far, Luke has been profiled by the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Star, Foodservice & Hospitality Magazine and CBC Radio. As a long-time service employee of the restaurant, I am one of the most capable individuals to make this deeply personal documentary which delves into a slice of life of this talented but shy individual that is not revealed during interviews.

The film has the full consent and support of Luke, his parents, his friends and Greg Burliuk, food editor of the Kingston Whig-Standard (he praised the documentary in a weekend in-depth entertainment guide earlier this year). Peter Raymont, executive producer of CBC's The Border has also assisted me in its production. A very rough cut of the documentary has also caught the attention of the YoungCuts Film Festival and HGTV Canada.

With filming mostly complete, my current challenge is the time-consuming and costly editing process. Unfortunately, regardless of the duration and the scope of the subject matter, making a movie is quite expensive –especially for a recent university graduate such as myself. Would you or anyone you know be interested in making a contribution (financial or otherwise) to the project? If you would like more information, I would be glad to send you more information, including production stills and a donation chart.

Thank you for your time,

Adam Bentley,
Producer & Director of Luke’s Kitchen.

2008 Aug 7
FFD - Alas I am LOW on CA$H but HIGH on learning more about Luke's Gastromy. I did some googling and discovered a lot of things about your once boss, like he is an AMAZING child prodige who has been the Executive Chef at Lukes Gastromy since 2005, when he was just 15 (having developed a serious interest in food since the age of 7). Impressive info.

As for me, I will be sure to check out the Restaurant next time I am in Kingston.

I am leaving a list of websites that I discovered, so other Ottawa Foodies might learn more:

and the one for the restaurant:

2008 Aug 7
I can attest to the fact that this restaurant is one of Kingston's many gems. I would recommend applying for funding through the Canadian Council for the Arts, or the National Film Board.

2008 Aug 8
To Food & Think:
I encouraged Luke to write a blog, which he unfortunately hasn't updated in quite some time. You can visit it here:

To Chimichimi:
I have enquired about funding from those organizations but have learned that I don't qualify for pretty much any significant funding due to the fact that they all require successful applicants to have been out of school for at least 2 years. I have only been out of school for a few months.

2008 Aug 8
These guys may be willing to work with you :

2008 Aug 8
FFD - Thanks for the link, I'll check it out. In regards to funding (and your reply to Chimichimi) ah yes the wonders of "red tape". You would think they'd be happy that you got an education and intend to use it. Just remember who your "friends" are when you are a very successful independent film maker in the future... life proves over and over again that individuals can make significant changes when "organizations" cann't see the forest for the trees!

2008 Aug 8
to zymurgist:
I checked Farm House Productions website. Why do you think they would be a useful company for me?

It is a shame indeed. Their reasoning is that they don't want their money going towards what they refer to as "student films", as if it were a derogatory concept. I'm sure you and others have seen really good student films and really bad professional films. Guess which one got more funding.

2008 Aug 8
Food Film Director If you are looking for funding you should try the National Film Board as Chimichimi suggested but definitely try Telefilm Canada:

They provide funding for films, documetaries, tv shows etc. and they are major source of funding for alot of Canadian produtions.

You could also try contacting your alma mater and ask for possible leads - maybe some of your profs could suggest other sources of funding.

2008 Aug 8
Perhaps Rogers Cable 22 can help you with this?

2008 Aug 8
Um, Farm House is a production house. A particularly well-funded one (Sobey clan) at that. You want money for a film. They make films. They are a small production house. They have money. You don't. Do I really have to spell it out here?

Let me reverse the question : why do you think they would not be useful to you?

If I were in your shoes, I'd send them email and ask if they were interested in a co-production or something like that. Or just outright ask if they'll fund you.

2008 Aug 8
p.s. I've pitched my own ideas to Farm House (beer-related ones, of course). While they were not interested in funding my idea, they did tell me that I should keep throwing ideas at them, and tell the same to anyone I know. Which is what I'm doing now.

2008 Aug 8
The reason I asked why they'd be useful is that after browsing all their past productions, it looked like they just recorded concerts. So I wasn't sure how relevant they were in terms of food docs. But that's good that from your experience, they were looking to broaden their content. Many of my friends have had bad experiences working with these companies as new participants in the industry with very little power or influence, including loosing control of their projects, crippling demands for forced radical changes to their works and other members of the companies pretty much kidnapping their works and claiming it as their own.

2008 Aug 8
Well, when you have no money you also pretty much have no choice, unfortunately. Well, you may end up with a choice. A choice between continuing on as best possible with no money, or getting the funding you need but giving up a great deal of control of your project.

2008 Aug 8
FFD - Ok, now Frank has got me thinking... Rogers Cable 22 probably isn't interested in this per se (afterall their mandate is community programming for the City of Ottawa)... BUT, Rogers has got to have a similar set-up in Kingston. They always seem open to working with young talent (at least that is what they focus their advertising on when they are looking for tv hosts etc)... the bonus is they have a Canadawide distribution already in place, the downside is as you would probably loose control of the distribution.

Worth investigating however.

2008 Dec 8
I know it's been several months since I've updated this post but I secured help and am almost finished the film. I hope to show it in Ottawa and Kingston sometime within the first three months of 2009. I shall provide more details as they become available. In the mean time, Luke was interviewed on Canada AM a few weeks ago. I'm pretty sure the 4 minute segment is still on the show's website.

2008 Dec 8
FFD - Thanks for coming back and updating us on your progress. Congratulations on finding funding... I'm sure that was a huge relief for you (do we get any hints on who / what helped you out?).

So you are going to have a "premiere" in Ottawa, that's kind of cool. Keep us updated as to when and where, I'm sure there are some foodie types in Ottawa who might be interested in attending.

2008 Dec 13
Will do. Plans are quickly coming together for a late winter/early spring premiere to coincide with a certain extensive magazine article in Toronto Life for which yours truly was interviewed. That's all I can say about it for now.

2009 Feb 23
Big News!!!!
Luke's Kitchen has been selected to be screened at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival this Saturday, February 28th at 9:55 PM at The Screening Room immediately before a documentary titled "Vampiro".

Here's the summary:
At 17, Luke Hayes-Alexander is the head chef of his family’s restaurant in Kingston, Ontario. Every day this teen prodigy uses local, organic ingredients to create surreal charcuterie dishes for guests to experience. Join Luke as he defines the highs and lows of devoting his mind, body and soul to creating the food of his imagination.

2009 Feb 23
Food Film Director - CONGRATULATIONS! Unfortunately, I probably won't make it to Kingston for the big event... but I'm hoping that this will open some doors for you and we'll possibly see your great film in other venues soon.

2009 Mar 14
Here's an update:

I managed to send a copy to Chef Michael Smith of Food Network's "Chef at Home". He phoned me saying that he got to watch it while filming his new series "Chef Abroad" (think Anthony Bourdain) in Tanzania and said that he along with the rest of his crew loved the film and would show it to the people at the Food Network. He acknowledged though that the likelihood of the movie screening on the TV channel is quite low since my movie is a critical analysis of this young chef while 99% of the stuff on the Food Network is emotional fluff. But it's still very good news!

I'm organizing a screening in Ottawa and will keep you posted regarding the date which will probably be sometime in early May.

2009 Mar 14
Food Film Director - That is great news!

Give us here at OF as much of a heads-up as possible regarding the dates of the Ottawa Screening... I think that several of us would be interested and make a point of attending.

2009 Apr 7
Ottawa Premiere of "Luke's Kitchen"

"From his imagination to your plate!"

Tuesday, May 5th 2009 - 7:30 PM
Club SAW: 67 Nicholas Street,
bottom level of Arts Court; look for the SAW Video/Club SAW sign on the side of the building.

At 17, Luke Hayes-Alexander is the head chef of his family’s restaurant in Kingston, Ontario. Every day this teen prodigy uses local, organic ingredients to create surreal charcuterie dishes for guests to experience. Join Luke as he defines the highs and lows of devoting his mind, body and soul to creating the food of his imagination.

2009 Apr 10
I'm trying to convince Luke to provide us with some of his delicious food so if you could indicate if you're interested in coming, it would be much appreciated.

2009 Apr 12
id definitely be interested in checking this should try inviting some local production houses too..i used to work for one ( their website is under constructiong but they have a really basic temp one up at its actually the same company that tom green started out using when he was just beginning to film his ottawa stuff. if you need an intro let me know.

2009 Apr 12
I've definitely heard of GAPC. That's a good idea; I should contact them.

2009 Apr 12
you can email one of their main producers at helatawi(at), maybe let her know that i told you to email her ( just say sharif )

let me know if you need anything else.


2009 Apr 29
Thanks. I just sent it. Who else should I send it to?

2009 Apr 29
You could also try IFCO or Sound Venture...

2009 Apr 29
Congats on this great project, I will try to see the film next week at the Arts Court.

2009 May 3
Less than 48 hours until the Ottawa Premiere of Luke's Kitchen at Arts Court (May 5th, 7:30 PM, 67 Nicholas St)! Here's an exciting update: Luke has provided some of his fantastic food and wine to sample after the screening!

2009 May 3
I really wanted to come and see this. Unfortunately, I am working a night shift from 18:00 to 6 am starting Tuesday night.

I wish you the best of luck with the screening. Please post any further opportunities to view the film.

2009 May 4
I'm in!

2009 May 6
So, did anyone go and check it out??

2009 May 7
I'd like to thank all those who came out to support this film!

2009 May 7
In the Middle of Hot Docs! in Toronto with a million opportunities to go to mixers and make contacts you're here in Ottawa? Dude, you have some seriously mixed priorities.

2009 May 7
I'd rather not discuss that. Let's just say I totally forgot about HotDocs and missed the deadline by a week or so (I've been kicking myself for it every day). On the bright side, the film will be eligible for submission next year.

2009 May 8
PM me your email and I'll ask my friend who's been with the festival for a few years for all the possible insider info she's permitted to give me. She's on my 'facebook' but it's not like I get advance screeners from her so it'll be more than nothing but less than anything amazing.

2009 Jun 11
Check out page 62 of next month's (but released today) edition of Toronto Life magazine. There's a fantastic article about Luke!

2009 Jul 3
The article has just been released on the internet:

2009 Jul 4
Food Film Director - Thanks for sharing... a great article indeed!

2009 Aug 20
I'm pleased to announce Luke's Kitchen has been selected for screening at the Cabbagetown Short Film & Video Festival (see where it will be presented with an award for best documentary!!!
I intend to be in attendance. Tell all your Toronto foodie friends (non-foodies are welcome too of course) that it will be held at the Toronto Dance Theatre (Winchester & Metcalfe Streets) on Friday, September 11th at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $15 at the door.

PS I look forward to meeting you all at this weekend's event.

2009 Aug 20
congratulations! i haven't seen the doc yet, but will try to see it. i will pass the info along to my toronto foodie relatives.

2009 Sep 12
Luke's Kitchen Update:

I just got back from the Cabbagetown Short Film and Video Festival in Toronto (the *other* film festival going on right now) where my film was screened with several other great films and it tied for best documentary!

It was a sold out crowd of 200-300 people; very exciting!

2009 Sep 12
FFD: Congratulations! I wish I could have seen it. Will it be made available for purchase or viewing anywhere else in the future?

2009 Sep 13
yes, congrats mr. FFD!

2009 Sep 13
FFD - Congratulations... guessing that this should up the films exposure and your ability to market it. Do keep us up-to-date as to its availability, because there are certainly those among OF who are both happy for your success and have been eagerly following your story all along.

2009 Sep 13
Thank you for all your congrats and complements. For those who are interested, I'd be glad to send you copies for screenings and obviously be in attendance for Q & A if my schedule permits. I'll be back in Ottawa for Thanksgiving, so perhaps if a foodie is interested in opening their house or another space for a screening, I could definitely be in attendance to provide context and additional commentary.

2009 Sep 14
Unfortunately, It looks like I'll be out of town around Thanksgiving, BUT this would be an excellent excuse for another Ottawa Foodie Get-together... if not then, maybe sometime in the future...

LOL, a get-together with "first class foodie entertainment" how great does that sound?

2009 Nov 1
Check out this month's Ottawa magazine. Page 40 has an article about Luke and there's an interesting picture inside the cover.

2009 Nov 2
I'm from Kingston, and in Gatineau now but anytime I go to Kingston to visit my mother, I try and find a new restaurant that I should try out. Thanks to this thread, I have a new place to check out.

2009 Nov 6

2010 Feb 19
Luke's Kitchen is now on Youtube: The link to the second half of the doc is in the description.

2010 Mar 11
Thanks for posting this on YouTube! I'm going to watch it now. My wife and I had a great experience there last saturday. His mother made us laugh all evening too.

2010 Nov 1
Award-winning film about Kingston culinary prodigy, Luke Hayes-Alexander to be screened at CKCU’s 35th Anniversary Short Film Show and Auction.

“Luke’s Kitchen”, the short documentary about Luke Hayes-Alexander, the teenage culinary prodigy and head chef of Luke’s Gastronomy on Kingston’s Princess Street will be screened this Thursday, November 4th at 8:00 PM as part of CKCU’s 35th Anniversary Short Film Show and Auction. The event will be held at the Bytowne Cinema (Rideau & King Edward Streets). Admission is FREE. Adam Bentley, the film’s director and producer is ecstatic to have had his film selected and encourages all Ottawa fans of chef Luke Hayes-Alexander (@lukechef on Twitter) to attend the screening.

At 17, Luke Hayes-Alexander is the head chef of his family’s restaurant in Kingston, Ontario. Every day this teen prodigy uses local, organic ingredients to create surreal charcuterie dishes for guests to experience. Join Luke as he defines the highs and lows of devoting his mind, body and soul to creating the food of his imagination.
Luke’s Kitchen premiered at the 2009 Kingston Canadian Film Festival and tied for Best Documentary at the 2009 Cabbagetown Short Film & Video Festival.

2010 Nov 2
I hope Thursdays screening goes well. So disappointed to be out of town and miss it. I have enjoyed Luke's creations in the kitchen recently. He is well beyond his years.