p>“I had never heard of the MOF before Kings of Pastry,” said the curly-haired woman next to me, “I was amazed by how much those chefs gave to that thing. There’s not even a cash prize!” “That’s how it is with the really serious cooking competitions,” quipped the man next to her from under his NY Mets cap, “it’s a whole different ball game to them. None of this $10,000-prize- plus-new-kitchen-appliances stuff. It’s about the honor; the medal.”
There I was, at a community meeting in my New York neighborhood, when suddenly the conversation veered away from the local composting center and right into Lyon and the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France. The meeting was coming to a close, and the attendees were starting to gather around the large table in the back of the room, where appetizers and drinks were laid out. I had been munching on a chicken empanada when someone asked me for the name of the film company I work at. Before I could finish my response, “Pennebaker Hegedus Fil—“, three people shouted out all once, “Kings of Pastry!” I laughed, surprised, and said “yes, that’s right.” I was expecting someone to say, “They did the Dylan movie” or “Oh yeah, The War Room.” But no, Kings of Pastry was the film that came to mind. Still smiling, I asked them what they enjoyed most about the film. Was it Jacquy’s journey? The pastries? The drama?
“What are you talking about? King of what?” asked a woman who had just joined the group and was trying to wrestle a piece of calamari out of a cup of dipping sauce.“Kings of Pastry” Mets cap said, “it’s about this cooking competition in France and . . .”
Over the course of the twenty-minute conversation that ensued, I didn’t say a single word. I didn’t have to; the people who had seen Kings of Pastry remembered every petite detail of its plot. They took turns giving the others a play-by-play run through of the whole thing, often interrupting and elaborating on each other’s descriptions. By the time they got to the judges’ evaluations, there were at least ten people listening. And more were starting to linger around our corner of the table.
Having finished their lively and extensive review of the film and the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, the KOP fans began to answer questions from their audience. “What sorts of pastries did the MOF call for?” “What happened to the winning chefs after the competition?” “And to those who didn’t receive The Collar?” At one point, a listener speculated about whether or not the French owner of the local (and acclaimed) bakery is a MOF. “I don’t think so,” the curly-haired lady said, “I don’t think he wears the collar.” “Are you sure? But maybe he tried for it? After all, he was the head pastry chef at the Waldorf Astoria,” someone else added and the group murmured along. “I’ll ask the next time I stop in” was the general consensus.
Once the snack table had been fully pillaged, everyone began to trickle out the door and into the street. As I was zipping up my coat, I heard someone to my side say, “Oh, excuse me.” I turned and there was the calamari wrestler. “Excuse me,” she said, “but where I can I watch that movie?”
After the film, visit PBS online and learn more about the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France through interactive features such as this one!
magazine, the nation’s leading publication of the pastry, ice cream and chocolate industries, named the top toques of tuile, cocoa and sugar at a ceremony on Monday, June 6 at The Institute for Culinary Education in New York, and Jacquy Pfeiffer was this year’s Hall Of Fame honoree.
“Kings of Pastry” is available on DVD! Get yours now!
For our upcoming DVD release of “Kings of Pastry,” we’re including an outtake of a fashion show held for the French Pastry School’s annual charity event “For the Love of Chocolate.”
This year’s fundraiser is on Saturday, February 5th. For more information, go to: http://www.fortheloveofchocolatefoundation.org/events.html
Auntie Loo’s Treats is teaming up with the Mayfair to present Kings of Pastry on January 31st & February 2nd at 7 pm, and they will be bringing lots of baked goods for sampling and for sale to the January 31st screening. Come check it out!
Culturevulture contributor Emily Mendel lists her picks for the ten best films of the year…
“Who would have guessed that the most heartbreaking TV moment of the year would involve a grown man attempting to place a hilariously frou-frou sugar sculpture on a cake? The cherry on the top of a bizarre, involving and unmissable film.” – Phil Harrison, Time Out London
In case you missed us the first time around, we have another screening coming up in Chicago at the Beverly Arts Center on December 15th, 2010.
Symphony Space in New York will also be screening our film on December 19th and 26th, 2010 and January 2nd, 2011. Hope you can make it!
San Francisco chocolatier Michael Recchiuti will be granting a post-screening Q&A session for Kings of Pastry on Saturday, December 11 at 7:10 p.m. at the Balboa Theatre. Recchiuti is expected to bring plenty of chocolate samples!