Screened as part of NZIFF 2007

How to Cook Your Life 2006

Directed by Doris Dörrie

Inspiring, entertaining doco on Zen priest and holistic chef Edward Espe Brown, who imparts philosophy, along with cooking advice, to an adoring group of devotees.

Germany In English and German with English subtitles
93 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Jörg Jeshel
Doris Dörrie


Suzi Giebler


b:sides music production (Florian Riedl, Martin Kolb)


Edward Espe Brown


Berlin 2007


"When you're cooking, you're not just cooking. You're also working on yourself and other people", says Zen priest and chef Edward Espe Brown. A disciple of Shunryu Suzuki, Espe Brown relates cooking and eating to everyday life. Author of the landmark Tassajara Bread Book, Espe Brown dishes out his Zen attitude towards food to an intent and adoring group of followers as he demonstrates snappy ways of plaiting bread and chopping celery, all while imparting pearls of wisdom advocating how food is more than merely fuel for the body. Dörrie's camera unflinchingly observes and captures Espe Brown in every mode; from philosophical and sincere to frustrated and aggressive. We meet an assorted rabble of people who share the chef's holistic views; one of the most hilarious is a freegan woman who gets the boom operator to use his boom to lower a branch laden with figs while she is out foraging in an affluent suburb. Tempered with Espe Brown's self-effacing sense of humour, the film is inspiring as much as it is entertaining.