About The Film

Curtis Duffy, one of the country's most renowned chefs, is building his dream restaurant at the worst time of his personal life. Already the recipient of two coveted stars from the Michelin Guide, Duffy has ambitions for his Chicago restaurant Grace to become the best in the country. But his laser focus at his cooking career cost Duffy his marriage and two young daughters.

"For Grace" is the revealing feature-length documentary by Chicago filmmakers Kevin Pang and Mark Helenowski. The film follows the building of Grace from concrete box to its opening night, showing as few films have before the exacting standards required in luxury dining. It’s a story about food, family, balance and sacrifice. It also revisits Duffy's turbulent childhood: How a middle school home economics teacher recognized cooking talent in a troubled teenager, how an unimaginable tragedy made Duffy seek refuge in the kitchen, and how cooking ultimately exacted a price.

Former Chicago Tribune dining reporter/filmmaker Kevin Pang and filmmaker Mark Helenowski spent four years filming, editing and producing their debut documentary. Featuring music by Chicago band The Hudson Branch.

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"...An impressively slick and surprisingly captivating piece of work."
—Joe Leydon, Variety
 
"One of the best movies about the restaurant industry I've seen ... I can't stop thinking about it."
—Marcus Leshock, WGN-TV
 
"An elegant, moving film about the healing power of art, in this case, art you can eat." 
—Peter Sagal, host of NPR's 'Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!"
 
"'For Grace' is sweet and brutal and smart and beautiful. If ever a movie made you root for a chef, a restaurant, and a human being, this is the one  but the film manages that trick without a single false step or maudlin frame. Every emotion it provokes, from devastating sadness to supreme euphoria, is earned the old-fashioned way: through great storytelling."
—Jeff Ruby, Chicago magazine

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The Filmmakers

Kevin Pang spent 11 years on staff at the Chicago Tribune. He is a five-time nominee for the James Beard Foundation Award, including a 2010 win for his TV series “The Cheeseburger Show.” Kevin now writes for The New York Times, Lucky Peach, Vanity Fair and has contributed to "This American Life." 

Mark Helenowski is a Chicago-based filmmaker. He received a Student Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and he has created commercial web content for Gatorade, Nike, Virgin and United Way. This is his first feature-length film.