The Kids in the Hall once did a great bit where a bunch of chefs were in the kitchen of a hoity-toity restaurant and they spent four hours trying to create the perfect dessert. It was a tiny thing, but needed the chocolate sauce done just right across the plate.
Early on in Kings of Pastry, when they dissected how to make the perfect cream puff – I realized this is the type of things that the great chefs do. And I didn’t care.
Maybe it’s because I’d rather have a brownie sundae from a family restaurant – over any of the fancy desserts I saw in this film. Sure, they were beautiful pieces of art. Heck, creating them is sometimes just as hard as creating a piece of art. I never knew you could make sugar into a glass-like sculpture, or that you might need someone to sand down certain parts of it. One guy made 11 different egg-shaped things just in case he broke 10 before the competition.
This story deals with 16 contenders in the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France – the highest honor for a pastry chef.
Some of the human interest stories in the documentary are engaging.
One wife (the women in this are only wives – they aren’t in the big competition) talks about them building their house, and how her husband wanted the basement turned into an extra kitchen, merely so he could practice for this competition. The chef made sure that room was complete even before the rest of the house.
It was amusing to see that the chefs had coaches for the competition (just what do these Knute Rockne’s of the kitchen say in the half-time speech? “Get that oven to 375! You can do it!”)
When I watched the coach and competitor eating one of their creations, not a word was said. In fact, they didn’t even seem to enjoy it.
I love documentaries, but this just didn’t hold my interest. That could be because I have the palette of a 10-year-old. Give me a Hershey bar over most of what these guys were baking.
Although…I’m not an African-American woman, and I loved the documentary Good Hair last year. It held my interest, was humorous, informative, and a lot of fun. Who would’ve thought a documentary dealing with what black women do to their hair could be so fascinating.
If you love cooking shows, documentaries, or pretentious chefs – this is the film for you.
I’m giving it a D+.