Food experiences are multi-sensory; food memories, such as in the company of loved ones, can be intensely emotional.
This exciting new Viddsee Originals series, Soul Food, connects the plate, the palate, and psychology to explore the role food plays in human relationships.
How powerful can a food memory be?
Starring Silver Ang as Verona, and directed by Singaporean filmmakers Kenny Tan, Ng Yang Meng and Dharfianto, this story is conceptualised by writer Priscilla Goh as a cathartic way to deal with the closure of her family’s 40-year-old Kway Chap hawker stall and eventual loss of the exact recipe.
The series follows Verona, a psychologist-turned private chef who recreates final meals for those who want to meet their loved ones again, as she, too, journeys through her past and searches for closure.
Verona takes on clients, their recipes and relationships, while trying to find closure as a widow. Through food memories and her taste-colour synaesthesia abilities, she learns that some recipes can be of her own making; but so is making up with the past and moving on.
The bitter aftertaste of regret
In Episodes 1 & 2, we meet Adrian (Benjamin Josiah Tan), a western-trained chef who returns to Singapore for his father’s funeral. He realises that even if he could déglacer, julienne or make consommé, his family’s Kway Chap recipe would be forever lost.
His former classmate Verona shows up at the funeral with a proposition, claiming she can recreate the recipe with her heightened taste-colour synaesthesia.
Adrian is keen to recover the lost recipe but is hesitant about meeting his father again, as their last meal together ended in anger, slammed doors and broken plates. Adrian gets what he bargained for.
Expectations are hard to swallow
In Episode 3, we meet Diana (Hilary Armstrong), an operatic singer who loses her voice and faith in herself. Diana believed her late-mother kept her vocal techniques a secret and resented her for not passing it on.
The Soul Chef helps Diana meet her mother one last time, and finds out the truth about unspoken expectations.
Two unresolved relationships are served up in Episode 4: one put on hold, the other, running out of gas.
Verona’s new client is Danial (Antonio Nunez Carmen), a groom-to-be who wants his deceased fiancée permission before he marries another.
The ritual ends with a realisation that expectations are hard to swallow, and for the first time, we see a glimpse of Verona’s painful past. It comes knocking on her door in the form of Tomo (Lee Wok Trinh), a brother-in-law she’s never met.
Familial tensions at a boiling point
In Episode 5, Verona meets the Lim brothers, embroiled in a bitter sibling rivalry: one accusing another of being a spendthrift, the other of not spending time with family.
With the Soul Chef’s help, this feuding family summons their late-father’s spirit for a final word on the family inheritance.
We also realise that Tomo has something that Verona wants and keeps him around. They drop the hostilities; Tomo joins Verona at the Lim’s as an assistant.
If memory is a gift, is losing it a curse?
Tomo, who joined Verona as an assistant at the Lim’s, stages a fake “interview” to understand what he witnessed, and learns the true nature of Verona’s services in Episode 6.
Tomo and Verona join forces, as they both have something to gain from summoning all they know from memory about their last meal with Orion (Alexander Yue Manhin), Verona’s late husband, in Episode 7.
But they both have secrets. If memory is a gift, is losing it a curse?
Tomo tries to make up for his underhanded actions at Orion’s manifestation by passing an heirloom to Verona. They try to manifest Orion again, but it comes at high risk. Will they have an appetite for the outcome?