Saturday, April 10, 2010

Kings of Pastry

This past Thursday night here in Durham, North Carolina, the 2010 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival hosted the North American premier of Kings of Pastry.  And I had tickets!!  The BFF, her husband, Daddy-O, and the Un-Ex were my dates.  I was so excited that I am sure I bored the heck out of my friends, colleagues and students in the days leading up to it. 
The film was to start at 7:00 pm.  I hate to be late to anything, so we got there around 6:00 pm, parked the car and found the proper line--
We were blue liners because we weren't green liners, the people with priority passes.   (But thank goodness we were not in the line of people just hoping to get a ticket...)  People-watching is one of my favorite past times and we got in 45 minutes of checking everyone out before we were allowed in.
The weather was nice, if a bit windy.  Through the upstairs window of the Carolina Theatre where the festival is held, we could see our buddies from the Wine Authorities pouring champagne for the VIP reception.  None for us, though.  We aren't VIPs.  But we were happy anyway!

We were sixth in a line that stretched for about a city block.  The un-ex had no idea so many people would line up for this movie.  I tried to warn him...  When he came to France to visit me during my sabbatical, I took him to Le Florimond, a restaurant in the 7e arrondissment I discovered when in Paris with the Arles 6 (merci, Alex!).  I photographed our food, bien sûr, and here's his dessert...
He fell in love with French pastry on the spot, needless to say.
We got very good seats, only two rows back from the filmmakers and the star of the film and his wife.  I had a great view of the backs of their heads!  I brought my trusty French cahier or notebook (being held by my equally trusty assistant above) and a pen to take notes.  My next newspaper article will be about my impressions of the film, so I won't go into detail here except to say that I LOVED every second of the movie.
The subject is the MOF (Meilleurs Ouvriers de France) competition for pastry chefs that takes place every four years in Lyon.  The film features Jacquy Pfeiffer, a French pastry chef who lives in Chicago, as he prepares for the competition and then competes in the three day event.  As half of one of his "practice" cakes went into the trashcan after being tasted by his coaches, I wanted to jump right in after it.  And film maker D A Pennebaker backed me up on that one during the question and answer session following the film.  A combination of pastry, chocolate, French and France for 84 minutes.  What's not to love?
(Filmmakers Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus and Chef Jacquy on stage after the film)

And, alas, I was not invited to the opening night party (not a VIP, remember?) and did not get to gawk at or drool over the 70 pound chocolate creation Chef Jacquy made for the occasion.  (One of my 7th grade students did see it, though, and has promised a photo...)
Check out the film's website and watch a clip of the movie to whet your appetite--
I won't divulge details and spoil it for you.  It is a must-see for anyone who loves food and has ever baked a cake.  I will own a copy of it as soon as possible!

Bon appétit, Kings of Pastry!


Imgladimnotme said...

Thanks for your posting, the Durham audience was spectaculqr. I hope the film lived up to your expectations. To see the chocolate sculpture that Jacquy created for the opneing go to photos at the film's facebook page (become a fan) at

If this comment appears twice it's because the first time it didn't seem to be published.
Frazer Pennebaker

The Sabbatical Chef said...

Dear Frazer--
I am trying not to hyperventilate over the fact that you read the blog entry... I am working on my monthly column for the Durham Herald-Sun and am writing about the movie. I am not a film critic, just a lover of all things French and food. I am a facebook fan of the movie already, I just haven't had time to look at it in a few days. I will definitely check it out! I would love for you to read the column when it comes out in a couple of weeks. How can I get it to you? Facebook?

Imgladimnotme said...

Yes, you can send me the link on facebook as a message or comment.

You don't have to be a film critic per se to be able to write about films. You enjoyed the film because it was about a subject you know and love.
That's enough for me.

The Sabbatical Chef said...

How could I get a photo of Jacquy for the article? I've almost finished it, but have no photos to include. The one I took there is not good. I should have been bold and stormed the stage at the end to take his photo! Next time... I also usually include a recipe or two. Any suggestions?