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The Dalai Lama,
The collar awarded to the winners of the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman in France) is more than the ultimate recognition for every pastry chef - it is a dream and an obsession. The 3-day competition includes everything from delicate chocolates to precarious six foot sugar sculptures and requires that the chefs have extraordinary skill, nerves of steel and luck. The film follows Jacquy Pfeiffer, founder of The French Pastry School in Chicago, as he returns to France to compete against 15 of France's leading pastry chefs. The filmmakers were given first time/exclusive access to this high-stakes drama of passion, sacrifice, disappointment and joy in the quest to have President Sarkozy declare them one of the best in France. Written by
My 373rd Review: A light confectionery and a fascinating insight, but not a great documentary
Kings of Pastry is an excellent choice for a documentary - the highest single award in French patisserie, the culinary Everest, the pinnacle of a career, the Olympic Gold for chocolate and sugar. And the skill is astonishing.
Its choice of soundtrack which is very Django and Hot Jazz 5 suits it well - this is a confectionery - a little too sweet, and not enough sweat - we see the huge effort in one sense that is required to become a MOF, but the film is so unobtrusive that it never really gets fully inside the world until the last 30 minutes. Without spoilers, there is an expected twist that lifts the whole documentary.
I would have liked some interviews with past MOFs, or some real detail of the secrets of the patisserie. The clip of French President, Sarkozy, praising the previous MOFs was telling, and something more was required to lift this from good to great.
All in all, pretty, light, and well made - but in the main lacks the depth that would take it from confectionery to main course....
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