Poland has an endless supply of cheap plumbers. They scour the continent like moustachioed Mario brothers fixing the pipes of debt plagued Europeans.
Poland’s economy is probably booming. And when the brothers come home for a breather, they’ve imported a taste for fine European cuisine. No boiled cabbage or golonka (pork hock) for these Poles. No sir. And if they “aint fixing pipes in the kitchen, they’re tying on aprons and sauteing shallots while the rest of Europe plants potatoes.
Of course every new cooking craze needs a cooking show, and ad agency Lowe has come up with a series of commercials to get Poles working above the sink with a range of Knorr’s convenient, easy to use cooking solutions.
Filmed on location in Poland by Grinder director Rob Payton, the production did have its challenges. They shot in real development kitchens, and while the Unilever kitchens (some four hours drive outside Warsaw) were very high end and stunningly equipped, they were not really film friendly.
“Low ceilings, upper floor locations and lots of fixed work-surfaces and appliances were an issue,’ Payton admits. He also had to work with real chefs, not professional “chef-actors’ like Jamie Oliver and Gary Rhodes.
“Ultimately I decided to shoot the entire thing with two cameras, minimising retakes and continuity issues, and allowing the chefs to do what they do best and cook for real,’ says Payton. “The production opted for a location edit which helped the whole team, including the development chefs, to feel part of the process.’
Payton’s forte in combining performance with food proved invaluable when dealing with non-actors, and the result has shown that the Poles are adept at more than just mucking around in the kitchen.
The Knorr commercials are currently airing in Poland, Hungary and Romania.
Payton, who emigrated from the UK five years ago, is now back home working at Grinder’s Cape Town Studio.
By Anton Crone