Cinema to Savor: ‘Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy’

Elizabeth Carroll’s Documentary Shows How a British Woman Became the Champion of Mexican Cuisine

Scenes from 'DIana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy' | Credit: Courtesy

How did a nearly 100-year-old white British woman become the global champion of traditional Mexican food? 

Such is the subject matter of Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy, a fascinating portrait of this irascible dynamo that’s won accolades at film festivals all around the country. The documentary screens in Santa Barbara for the first time on Saturday, March 14, 4:30 p.m. at the Riviera Theatre as part of the inaugural S.B. Culinary Experience. Tickets are $15. See sbce.events. [Due to public health concerns, the Santa Barbara Culinary Experience has been postponed to March 2021.]

The film’s director, Elizabeth Carroll, answered some of my questions last week. 

How did you learn about Diana Kennedy’s story?  I was living in Austin, Texas, in late 2013 and wanted to do a project on the matriarchy of Mexican food traditions. I was researching Mexican women to interview and found Diana Kennedy on Wikipedia. I’d been studying food and food people for years and was shocked I’d never heard of her. She wasn’t Mexican, but trustworthy sources were calling her the world’s academic expert on Mexican food. 

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