After nearly two years of preparation, the remarkable story of Chicago chef Ethan Lim and his tiny restaurant, Hermosa, will soon hit small screens across the nation with a streaming debut.
Ethan Lim: Cambodian Futures, a documentary directed by filmmaker Dustin Nakao-Haider, has traversed the festival circuit after a March premiere and earned a best short documentary award along the way. Part of the documentary shorts series called In the Making from American Masters and Firelight Media, it will become available to stream on Tuesday, April 25 on PBS’s digital platforms, including PBS.org.
Just 17 minutes long, the film offers an intimate portrait of Lim and his approach to culinary philosophy rooted in his family’s experience surviving the horrors of the Cambodian genocide and subsequent relocation in the 1980s to the United States. Lim, 41, was born in a Thai refugee camp and followed his family into the restaurant industry with stints at Michelin-starred Next and the Aviary. After founding Hermosa restaurant in 2015 as a sandwich shop, he has since transformed it into a canvas upon which he can illustrate what he calls “culinary futurism.” “I wanted to find out how Cambodian food would evolve if the war had not happened,” he says in the film.
In this exclusive streaming video, audiences will hear from Lim about identity, family, trauma, hope, and naturally, food — including his wildly popular Cambodian fried chicken sandwich, arguably Hermosa’s most well-known dish that introduced scores of local diners to Khmer flavors for the first time. Watch the full documentary below.