2013 ShortDocs Challenge: Appetite


2013's creative partner was the James Beard Foundation – a great organization that celebrates, nurtures, and preserves diverse culinary heritages through awards, education, and outreach.

Additionally, five Chicago-based "ShortDocs Chefs" concocted original dishes (!) inspired by the winning ShortDocs stories. Starring: Rick Bayless (Frontera), Abraham Conlon (Fat Rice), Jason Hammel (Lula Cafe), Paula Haney (Hoosier Mama Pie Company) and Iliana Regan (Elizabeth Restaurant).


Inspired by the James Beard Foundation's 2013 Conference theme, we encouraged participants to interpret "appetite" broadly, from the literal to the figurative. We asked them to consider stories of hunger and obesity, craving and satiety, profit and desire. They could make us laugh, make us cry, make us angry, make us think – so long as their story explored appetite in some way, and followed the other ShortDocs rules.


Each ShortDoc had to:

  • be two to three minutes in length
  • be inspired by the idea of “appetite”
  • be presented in three “courses”
  • include one of the five tastes in the title: bitter, salty, sour, sweet, umami


2013 was the first year that we invited the public to weigh in on their favorite story. Eight finalist submissions were chosen to be considered for the first ever People’s ShortDoc Award (PSDA), and over the course of two weeks, 630 people listened and voted for their favorite. The People's ShortDoc was crowned along with four other winners, all of which were transformed into culinary masterpieces by our all-star chefs at a sumptuous ShortDocs feast.

Listen to the winners below, and hear all the submissions in our audio library.

The Last Morning was a Sweet One

2013 ShortDocs Winner! A short story in sounds of our food's start to finish, from morning to night (though not necessarily in the same day!)

My Umami Gas Mask

2013 ShortDocs Winner! A bleak future with nothing good to eat... except your gas mask.

Salt On the Lips

2013 ShortDocs Winner! David channels his frustrated desires into detailed fantasies for the perfect sensual feast.