Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.
While browsing through Netflix a few weeks ago, I ran across a documentary called Kings of Pastry, directed by Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker.
In France, the best of the best pastry chefs earn the privilege of wearing a red, white, and blue collar by passing a grueling three-day competition. The event is held only once every four years, and although everyone who enters can pass, very few end up meeting the judges' approval.
Competing chefs practice for years to perfect their techniques in show pieces, sugar work, baking, and decorating. Each competition has a different theme, so the particular pastries cannot be finalized until the theme is announced. Chefs work on their recipes for taste, presentation, decoration, technique, and speed.
Once the competition begins, chefs have only three days to create the required pieces for the judges. Their baking and sugar work are done in an unfamiliar kitchen and under weather and temperature conditions that cannot be accurately predicted. Reputations, money, and careers are on the line, and emotions are very close to the surface.
The documentary follows two chefs in particular -- one who lives in France and one who lives in the United States. The commitment to the competition involves years of effort outside normal work obligations, and the support of family, friends, and colleagues is critical.
A fascinating film that is well worth renting. The trailer gives you an idea of what the documentary is like.